Ombudsman awards theft victim £190K

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The organisation, which resolves complaints regarding financial services firms, has released its annual report which outlines a 10% drop in the number of complaints made in 2019 compared to the previous year.

It also details some of the cases it was called on to resolve during the year.

The case involving the largest sum relates to a woman who had a claim for two stolen rings refused by her insurers.

The report states that she bought the rings, valued at a total of £191,250, in 2011. In 2015 she wanted to sell the items and handed them to a dealer to find a buyer.

No buyer was found and the rings were returned, but they appeared different and after getting an expert opinion she found out they were fakes.

She contacted the jeweller for an explanation, and he said a co-director, who had left the firm, was responsible for the theft.

The police were called in and a claim was made, but it was rejected by the insurance company because loss through deception was not covered.

The ombudsman stepped in and determined that the complainant trusted the original dealer and that this trust extended to his jeweller contact.

The ombudsman felt that the woman’s transfer of the items for the purpose of sale was neither careless nor irresponsible and the jewellery store’s security arrangements were suitable.

The body determined that the insurer should pay £150,000 to the woman, as that was the maximum compensation limit set by law. The ombudsman made a non-binding recommendation that the balance of the amount lost, £41,250, should also be paid.

The insurers later paid the full amount.

Elsewhere in the report it says that 72% of cases were successfully resolved through mediation rather than a binding decision.

Chief executive Douglas Melville said: ‘Most complaints are single one-off
issues arising from a customer’s interaction with their financial services provider.

‘Some are multiple complaints from different customers arising from a particular issue seen across the industry.

‘The vast majority of complaints are brought to CIFO by individual retail customers. Only a very small proportion (less than 4%) of complaints are from microenterprises, trusts, or charities.’

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