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Established 1992




Business Banking Dispute cases need to be 'constructed' properly and how they are constructed can be a deciding factor in success or failure for a business banking complaint through the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).


see very poor FOS: Trust Pilot Reviews for Financial Ombudsman Service


The Bank’s Final letter for your business banking dispute complaint & business complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

It is a fact that all banks spend considerable time and effort 'drafting' their Final response letter to the customer on complaints because they know that their Final Response letter is designed to persuade the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to their position. By that time the bank’s customer services/complaints department will have already extracted all your information from you for their benefit by questioning you and then they will have dismissed your complaint/s.

Bank Final response letters are drafted and written by legally trained bank staff who are communicating with the FOS daily and are therefore completely aware of FOS decision making.

The Financial Ombudsman Service staff are aware that bank Final response letters are prepared by legally trained bank staff and the bank’s Final response letter will influence the FOS ‘investigator’.

Bank customers may believe their business banking dispute complaint/s will get a fair hearing by the FOS and from reading the FOS website may also be misled into believing that it is ‘easy’ to make a business banking complaint through the FOS.

However, banks possess very distinct advantages, which include legal knowledge, long experience of ‘complaint casework’ and know what is effective (for the bank). Banks also know how the FOS 'thinks' as they communicate regularly with the FOS by telephone.

The Financial Ombudsman Service do not calculate bank accounts to provide an independent calculation where they are required. The Financial Ombudsman Service will rely on bank methodology and bank calculations when dealing with a business banking account dispute.

The bank's Final letter allows you 6 months to make a complaint to the FOS.

What will the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) provide you for your business banking dispute complaint which the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will not?

IBAS will carry out fully independent investigations of business bank accounts based on the customers complaint and will provide fully independent calculations with a report which can then be relied upon to evidence incorrect charging, bank errors and overcharging.

Historical banking account errors/bank charging mistakes and bank overcharging claims evidenced by IBAS account investigations and calculations enable effective business banking account complaint progression. IBAS has been calculating business bank account and overcharging complaints since the mid 1990's

IBAS account investigations enhance the customer's complaint with substance to evidence bank charging errors to the customers advantage.

IBAS will investigate business banking disputes which IBAS 'take on' and progress for the customer.

IBAS reports can then be relied upon for any business banking dispute which IBAS has accepted.

IBAS investigate Director’s Bank Personal Guarantee dispute complaints and assess all other security documents held by the bank for lending purposes to establish the facts and historical positions. Specific advice on business banking account/s disputes and further actions required are provided by IBAS once our investigations conclude.

Information from those we have assisted since 1992 show that other ‘advisors’, solicitors & also the FOS carried out very limited or basic ‘checks’ on business banking complaints. Basic ‘checks’ cannot identify customer defences, allow debt reduction or eliminate a debt being claimed.

It’s clear that ‘other advisors’ provide advice and ‘outcomes’ without necessary facts. That disadvantages or destroys the customer’s ‘case’. IBAS has a long established standard practice for investigating bank customer’s business banking account disputes in depthother ‘advisors’ do not do so.

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IBAS experience is that FOS business banking complaints need to be properly 'constructed' and they require careful research covering the whole period of the banking complaint, including the initial complaint to the bank (which is often verbally made - but will be noted by the bank and produced later) onwards - plus a very good knowledge of how the FOS actually works.

Thatʼs because your bank knows precisely how the FOS works and they will use the material they have in their files (which will include telephone conversations with you) to construct the bankʼs ʻFinal Responseʼ letter to enable them to dilute, refute or deny business banking dispute claims and complaints. Banks also know how the FOS can be persuaded to the bank's view.


IBAS knowledge and experience of the Financial Ombudsman Service complaints handling and of the bank strategy for producing their ʻFinal Lettersʼ in answer to complaints allows IBAS to focus on the correct business banking complaints and IBAS draft banking complaints for our members with much more precision, whilst also preparing a better ʻdefenceʼ for that business banking dispute debt claim should it be required.

IBAS aim is always to resolve a Business Banking Debt Claims without litigation.

In most business banking dispute cases that is possible as IBAS investigations usually produce worthwhile negotiating information.

Our experience is that litigation is the last course of action for any Business Banking Dispute because it is extremely expensive, time consuming and because most banking litigation cases end with only Banks and lawyers being winners.



IBAS website was launched in 1998 to help UK businesses with banking disputes.


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IBAS has been featured on BBC TV, BBC TV News, ITV News, Meridian TV and Sky TV News since 1992 and also contributed banking editorials and business banking articles for the Sunday Times, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Telegraph and Daily Mirror.




Banks rarely say ʻwe are wrongʼ. If they know they are wrong, itʼs much more likely that they will maintain their innocence. That will delay the complaint being made formally. Bank tactics of denial have been very effective over a very long period of time, particularly when used in an FOS directed ʻFinal Letterʼ which a bank will construct to address a business banking complaint when made by a business customer direct to the bank.

At that time the bankʼs legal team will have identified and will focus upon their facts, your inaction and the legalities in drafting their “Final Letterʼ.

If your case has been poorly presented and not properly researched the bank will identify that quickly and the Final Letter will ʻshowʼ the bankʼs superior position so that the FOS can use or ʻadoptʼ those into their Response to you. If the bank makes any concession in their ʻFinal Letterʼ that will be ʻdownplayedʼ and may not be of any real financial value - as the intention is to obtain a swift closure to your complaint at a very low cost to the bank, regardless of the cost to you or your business.

We are aware that business customers perceive the FOS route as being a very low cost and also simple to use as an alternative to the courts and bank litigation. However, when the business customerʼs complaints are poorly presented and non factual it will immediately devalue that complaint.

Poor preparation for any FOS Business Banking complaint will obtain:

a) a very poor result for you - but ...

b) may also prevent your case from being properly negotiated later if the FOS then makes a Final Decision in favour of the bank.

Banks have been ʻgearedʼ to using the FOS procedures for the bankʼs benefit since 1985 - when the Banking Ombudsman was first introduced by government.

When the FOS replaced the banking Ombudsman in 2002 and absorbed all existing ombudsman into one entity (Financial Ombudsman Service) the banks adapted quickly to utilize the new FOS procedures.

To streamline the FOS complaints the FOS use a ʻtick boxʼ analysis. This FOS procedures allows the banks to target business banking complaints better and to block or ʻturnʼ them (for the bank advantage) into a complaint which the FOS cannot accept or which the FOS will not investigate.

For those businesses or directors who do not research their case properly the FOS 'tick box' analysis is the first obstacle at which their complaint may well fail - but there are a number of obstacles.

But, an FOS business banking dispute case generally has just one real opportunity to be 'investigated' by the FOS. If your complaint fails the FOSʼs initial ʻanalysisʼ of what the FOS consider to be a viable or worthwhile complaint it will just be turned down and not be accepted by the FOS. The bankʼs analysis of complaint letters examine every word you use. They will know from their analysis of your complaint exactly what the FOS analysis will then produce and in most cases the bank will be able to predict the FOS decision.

Often, the bank will prepare for litigation or may have already decided on your complaints legal position prior to their ʻFinal Letter and the bank will be aware how the FOS decision will then ʻplay outʼ for their benefit.

IBAS early involvement in a business banking dispute claim can prevent an 'easy route' being 'open' for the bank which they can use to eliminates the unwary business customer's FOS complaint.

IBAS early involvement in your business banking dispute claim will also enable IBAS to discuss your complaint and then prepare it for best effect and then present your complaint to the FOS under our low cost membership. We will then also progress matters on your behalf which saves you time and money.

From 1st April 2019 the FOS will have new rules for SME Banking Complaints which will include many more SMEs

FCA confirms greater access for SMEs to the Financial Ombudsman Service - The changes will mean that SMEs with an annual turnover below £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees, or an annual balance sheet below £5m will now be able to refer unresolved complaints to the ombudsman service. Under the ‘near-final’ rules published today around 210,000 additional UK SMEs will be eligible to complain to the ombudsman service. - FCA - 16th October 2018


See also: Director's Personal Guarantee through Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) complaint



Last modified: 24th January 2020