Most people initially seek advice by telephone. Many enquiries can be resolved directly, either by clarifying the situation or by explaining a complicated procedure step by step. In more complex cases, the person raising the complaint is asked to give full details. The Ombudsman will generally also need to approach the bank himself for an explanation to ensure that his final assessment is as comprehensive and objective as possible.
The Banking Ombudsman is free to take any steps he considers necessary before forming his own independent opinion, such as asking the bank for documents and information.
It should be borne in mind that the Banking Ombudsman cannot influence the banks in matters of business or fee policy. He is therefore neither empowered to question decisions regarding credit extensions, nor to challenge fee schedules.
Other cases may be so complex that they fall outside the scope of the Ombudsman process or the Ombudsman may advise the customer or his representative to apply directly to the courts on other grounds. Furthermore, the Banking Ombudsman declines competence in abstract legal and business questions and does not provide an expert opinion.
Processing Time/Date Limitation
The Ombudsman process usually takes about one to two months. Straightforward cases can often be handled faster, while complex issues take longer.
It should be noted that normal time limits (statute of limitations) are not suspended by a consultation of the Banking Ombudsman.