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Getting help even if you are ineligible

Anyone concerned about the eligibility of their case for the BBRS’ service is encouraged to contact us or register for the BBRS. The BBRS will consider whether a complaint or any part of it is eligible for the service. If it is eligible, then the BBRS will be able to review it.

BBRS may, in some circumstances, also be able to look at complaints that are ineligible.

Broadly speaking there are two categories of cases where this can occur:

  1. Cases falling outside our eligibility conditions

If a case falls outside the BBRS’ eligibility criteria, the BBRS may still be able to consider it provided that we, the customer and the bank all agree. If we are asked to consider a complaint and we believe we should be able to do so (for example because the case falls just outside our eligibility criteria or there is a technical reason why it is ineligible), we will write to the bank, explain why we think we should consider it, and we will ask for their agreement.

The banks have agreed to act reasonably and in good faith when considering the BBRS’ request to deal with such a case. For additional information, please see the relevant provisions here.

An example of where the BBRS might do this includes where the business has a turnover slightly above our financial thresholds. If the bank disagrees with the BBRS’ request, it will provide an explanation both to us and the customer so we can discuss it with the customer if they wish. Remember, these provisions apply only when the case is ineligible for the service: the BBRS will always be able to review a case which meets the Scheme’s eligibility conditions.

  1. Excluded Schemes

If a complaint relates to, or was eligible for, an Excluded Scheme, it is not eligible for the BBRS’ service.

However, the BBRS may still be able to assist where:

  • the complaint meets all our other eligibility conditions apart from the fact it relates to an Excluded Scheme; and
  • either the customer believes they have new evidence which was not previously considered in the Excluded Scheme, and had it been considered, it would have made a material difference to the outcome;
  • or the customer did not have, nor could reasonably be expected to have had, notice of the Excluded Scheme.

The BBRS will direct such complaints to the relevant bank, and remains available to support customers through that process.

In such cases, the participating banks have committed to decide in good faith whether to reconsider the complaint. If the bank decides it will do so, it will either arrange for it to be reconsidered by the Excluded Scheme (if it is still open) or will otherwise reconsider the complaint reasonably and in good faith, applying the same principles that were used by the Excluded Scheme, including by reviewing any evidence the customer considers to be new.

Whether or not the bank decides to reconsider the complaint, that bank will give the BBRS and the customer a written explanation in sufficient detail to enable BBRS to explain it to that customer.

The bank has also agreed to answer any reasonable follow up questions the BBRS might ask about the bank’s decision and the outcome of any reconsideration. The BBRS can discuss the bank’s explanation with the customer to help them understand it, more information can be found here. Additionally, if we believe that we should be able to consider the case, we will ask for the bank’s agreement to do so (see ‘Cases falling outside our eligibility conditions’ above on this page for more information).

Any part of a complaint that does not relate to, or was not eligible for, an Excluded Scheme can be reviewed by the BBRS subject to the case satisfying all other BBRS eligibility conditions such as financial thresholds.

Additionally, complaints about distress and inconvenience caused by poor quality customer care whilst their matter was being dealt with by the Excluded Scheme can be brought to the BBRS, subject to the case satisfying all other BBRS eligibility conditions such as financial thresholds.

Though we will be able to review complaints about customer care in the Excluded Scheme, we are not able to review the outcome that the customer received from that Scheme unless all parties agree (see ‘Cases falling outside our eligibility conditions’ above on this page for more information).