What is Financial Mis-selling?
The legal definition of a financial mis-sale, is a financial wrongdoing by a bank or lender to its customers. We have seen this in the form of the latest PPI mis-sale scandals which recently came to an end in August 2019, with pension mis-sales and various other bank complaints where customers have lost out financially. In some cases, the financial mis-sale can be so great, it has had knock-on effects for the customer(s) and it can, in some circumstances, cause them to lose their homes and/or businesses.
Scottish Widows has seen its fair share of financial mis-sale complaints against it. In particular, in relation to the previous PPI scandals and with bank complaints of various natures.
What is bad Financial Advice?
Bad financial advice is any advice you received that leads to you suffering some form of financial/monetary loss or expected financial loss either due to that poor advice or insufficient options.
For example, you would expect a good financial adviser to shop around the whole of the market for the right financial products for you. This is vital to be able to provide you with the best possible option for your particular individual circumstances, including any dependents/loved-one’s you may also be providing for.
You cannot claim compensation, just because a financial investment performed badly unless of course you were sold it saying there was no risk or that it would never perform badly.
How do I know if I had bad Financial Advice?
As a general rule, any financial advice you received should be by an adviser who is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It would also be prudent to ask the financial adviser about their qualifications and their statement of professional standing (SPS).
This will ensure that they have the right practice standards and you will get better protection if the advice is incorrect or you are not happy with their advice/service, as you will be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for a review and potentially receive compensation from them.
In the event you received advice from a financial adviser who was not registered with the FCA, it is still possible to refer your matter to the FCA to review or in case of mis-sale the Financial Ombudsman.
When receiving advice from a financial adviser, you would expect them to provide you with advice that: –
- Takes into account your particular financial needs, together with that of any dependent you provide for;
- Recommends products (i.e. savings, pensions, investments etc) that are affordable to you;
- Takes into account your short or long-term commitments and/or requirements;
- The advice is suitable and you are happy with the level of risk, for example, with an investment risk;
- Takes into account whether you pay tax and/or advises you as to the potential tax liability to you and to any of your dependents.
If the adviser does not take into account the above when advising you, or they only offer you a restricted product, i.e. only a product or investment that they themselves sell, then you are likely to have received poor/bad financial advice.
For you to make a claim for financial mis-sale from Scottish Widows, you do not necessarily have to have lost money. It may simply be that the product sold to you was not the right product, such as a riskier investment.
What Should I do if I am Unhappy with the Advice I had from Scottish Widows?
If you feel that did not: –
- Provide full advice or options to you about the product;
- The product did not suit your needs;
- You were not advised about any potential commissions the adviser would receive from other lenders for the product;
- You incurred financial fees/penalties due to the advice that you received;
- Halifax did not provide you with the option to look elsewhere at other similar financial products;
- You felt pressured into buying the product;
- You were not told of any risks/exclusions to the financial product that you took;
- Nobody explained the terms and conditions fully to you;
- You were not asked if you had other similar products already in place;
Then you are likely to have received bad advice from the firm and you should get that advice checked.
Have you Experienced any Mis-selling or bad Financial Advice by Scottish Widows?
You cannot complain to Scottish Widows if an investment does not make as much money as you wanted or hoped for, but you can if you were unhappy with its sale or if you believe you were mislead.
However, if you lost money due to the bad advice, or the advice you received was misleading, confusing or just wrong, then you should, in the first place, complain to them and request a review of the advice/product that you received.
Can I claim Compensation if I was Mis-sold a Financial Product?
If you believe the firm has mis-sold a financial product to you then you should firstly complain to Scottish Widows and it is advisable to do this in writing. This way you have a record of correspondence and you should retain that correspondence for future reference.
If they believe their advice or product was unsuitable for you, they may offer some form of compensation to you, where possible.
If they are unable to or do not want to address the mis-sale, you may refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman to adjudicate further on whether there was a mis-sale and what financial compensation is owing to you.
What Happens if Scottish Widows says they Didn’t Mis-sell?
If they says they didn’t mis-sell the financial product to you, then you may refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman to review the advice further on your behalf. In the event the Financial Ombudsman finds that the advice you received from Scottish Widows was not as it should have been, you may receive financial compensation for loss or anticipated loss of regarding that product.
Can I use the Financial Ombudsman if I am Unhappy with the firms Decision?
The Financial Ombudsman is a free, independent service available to customers who believe they have received incorrect financial advice and if you believe that they did not give you good advice regarding your financial products, then a referral to the Financial Ombudsman may.
The firm will have a set time, usually around eight weeks, to respond to you about your particular complaint. If you are not happy with the response you received, or you have not received a response within eight weeks, you may simply refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.
You are able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman free yourself should you choose to and they provide a website and further advice and information to assist you with that process, should you need it.
It is vital that you contact the Financial Ombudsman within six months of receiving your final response from Scottish Widows, or six months from the eight weeks that you didn’t hear from the firm. This is because the Financial Ombudsman may not be able to deal with your potential claim after that time frame.
I’m not Confident Taking on Scottish Widows. What are my Options?
If you do not feel confident making a complaint to the firm direct or seeing through a complaint against them, then you may contact a claims management company (CMC) to assist you. The claims management company should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and follow their rules of conduct and regulations.
Each claims company that is registered with the FCA will have a unique reference/code which can be used by you to check that they are certified and regulated. Ours is contained at the bottom of our website.
Should you wish to make a financial complaint against Scottish Widows, we would be delighted to assist you and guide you through the process. We undertake all our work on a no win, no fee basis. In the event we are successful in obtaining a refund/compensation on your behalf, our fees are 24% including VAT (or 20% plus VAT) of any compensation received and there are no hidden charges!