FAQs

About the BBRS

The BBRS is a new, independent organisation set up to resolve disputes between eligible small and medium sized businesses and their banks.

The BBRS is independent of both the banks and the businesses for which it will seek to resolve disputes.

We are currently under the direction of an interim Board of Directors. We expect to announce our Chief Adjudicator and Chief Executive Officer during the next few weeks and details of our full Board in due course.

There are currently seven participating banks for which we are able to accept complaints, including:

  • Barclays
  • Clydesdale Bank (including Yorkshire Bank and Virgin Money)
  • Danske Bank
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Banking Group (including Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland)
  • RBS Group (including Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank Northern Ireland)
  • Santander UK plc

It is possible that additional banks might join as we develop our service. Any changes to the list of participating banks will be reflected on this website.

The key representative groups acting on behalf of small and medium sized businesses include:

  • APPG on Fair Business Banking
  • The CBI SME Council
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • The Independent SME Advisory Group of UK Finance
  • Small Business Commissioner
  • SME Alliance

The BBRS will not charge a fee to businesses to access our service.

Whilst the BBRS is independently operated, managed and governed, it will be funded by the participating banks.

Claims management companies are commercial businesses or individuals that handle certain types of claim, including financial services and products.

All claims management companies in England, Scotland and Wales must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate legally – find out more here.

Before you consider using a claims management company, please bear in mind that the BBRS will support all businesses in submitting a complaint application and will be transparent in the way that it communicates.

The BBRS will listen to you and will be responsive to your needs. Therefore, the services of a claims management company should not be necessary.

In March 2018, UK Finance commissioned an independent review into the complaints and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) landscape for the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises market. Simon Walker, the former Director General of the Institute of Directors, was selected as the chair of the review by an independent panel. The review particularly focused on disputes between providers of financial services and small and medium sized businesses that remain unresolved through existing customer complaints procedures and may be unsuitable for court processes. The findings of the Review were published by Simon Walker on 23 October 2018.

We have been established in response to the commitments made by the banking and finance industry following the Simon Walker Review, in which the need for an independent service was identified to resolve eligible historical and current complaints for small and medium sized businesses that have not previously had access to independent review.

We are getting started - Live Pilot

It is really important that we get this service right. A Live Pilot is necessary to help us confirm that the standards we have identified achieve the highest level of quality and consistency in delivering fair and reasonable outcomes.

To be considered for selection as part of the Live Pilot, customers must select the required option when registering their interest.

The Live Pilot will focus on a limited number of complaints, therefore please do not be disappointed if you are not selected at this stage.

Customers taking part in the Live Pilot will receive the first determinations from this new service. However, the length of time it takes to review a complaint during Live Pilot is likely to take longer than during full service operation and involve more customer contact.

During the Live Pilot we will review complaints in line with our principles and keep customers updated on progress.

We expect our full service to be available in early 2020.

If you have registered your interest, we will invite you to submit a detailed complaint application as part of our full service.

A complaint is defined as:

Any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, from or on behalf of a person or business about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service or redress determination which:

  • alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, material distress or material inconvenience; and
  • relates to an activity of a participating bank, or any other party with whom that participating bank has some connection in marketing or providing financial services or products.

Registering your interest in the BBRS

We are inviting all businesses with an unresolved complaint with one of the participating banks that believes they are eligible for our service, to register their interest now.

If you are unsure about your eligibility for inclusion, please do register your interest and we will review your eligibility when we contact you.

If you do not think you are eligible to use the BBRS, there are a number of organisations which may be able to help you deal with your complaint, including the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Your data will only be used in line with your preferences and our Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy.

We expect our full service to be available in early 2020 and we will provide more details when they are known.

We will then be able to accept complaints electronically, in writing or over the telephone and further details will be provided in due course.

Eligibility

You must first have complained to your bank within required timescales and given them the opportunity to resolve your dispute. The BBRS is only available for eligible complaints that remain unresolved with your bank.

We can only accept complaints for businesses registered in the following UK jurisdictions:

  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

If you are unsure about your eligibility for inclusion, please do register your interest and we will discuss your eligibility when we contact you as part of our full service delivery.

According to the Financial Ombudsman Service rules:

  • A micro-enterprise is a business which:
    • has a turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €2 million
    • employs fewer than 10 employees
  • A small business is an enterprise which:
    • is not a micro-enterprise
    • has an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million
    • has a balance sheet total of less than £5 million, or employs fewer than 50 employees

The BBRS has different eligibility considerations to the Financial Ombudsman Service based on turnover and assets as follows:

  • For the period from 1 April 2019 onwards:
    • Turnover up to £10m per annum; and
    • Total assets up to £7.5m; and
    • Your complaint is not eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • For the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019:
    • Maximum turnover up to £6.5m per annum; and
    • Total assets up to £5m

For more information about which service might be appropriate for you, please refer to the Financial Ombudsman Service eligibility criteria and BBRS eligibility criteria.

Please note that the Financial Ombudsman Service eligibility criteria was increased for unresolved complaints relating to acts or omissions from 1 April 2019.

We will consider complaints being raised by or on behalf of a number of corporate structures, including sole traders, limited companies, partnerships, trusts, charities, and community interest companies.

Complaints must be raised by an authorised representative, including partners or individuals named as a director of the business.

Complaints may also be raised by guarantors in respect of the guarantee they provided to the business.