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Time limits for bringing complaints

Time limits refer to the time period within which you must have made a complaint to your bank about the act or omission (‘incident’) complained about.

In general, we cannot consider complaints brought to a bank more than six years after the act or omission complained of, or (if later) three years from the date you became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that you had cause for complaint, unless we consider failure to meet these time limits was due to exceptional circumstances.

For the Historical Scheme:

  • If the incident occurred on or before 1 October 2017, you must have complained to your bank by the earlier of
    • 1 April 2019; and
    • the date which is either six years after the incident complained of OR (if later) three years after you became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) you had cause for complaint
  • If the incident occurred after 1 October 2017 but before 1 April 2019, you must have complained to your bank by the date 18 months after the incident

For the Contemporary Scheme:

  • The incident must have occurred on or after 1 April 2019, you must have complained to your bank before bringing your complaint to the BBRS. In addition, you must bring your complaint to the BBRS within 6 months of the bank notifying you that BBRS might be able to consider your complaint. If the bank has not notified you of this (either in or with its final response letter, or in a separate communication), no 6 month time limit applies.

You can find some examples here to help you understand these rules. We are also happy to help, so please contact us if you have any questions before you register.

Example scenarios Timelines
Example scenarios :

Company W suffered a push payment fraud on 9 December 2010. They became aware of this the following week when a supplier reported not receiving a payment. Company W believe the bank is at fault.

Timelines :

Company W must have complained to their bank before 9 December 2016, 6 years after the incident took place.

Provided they complained to their bank by that date, if they are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the bank, they can register the complaint with the BBRS.

Example scenarios :

Company X took out a long-term fixed rate loan on 17 June 2007. On 10 May 2015, when the company wanted to repay the loan early, a director discovered that break costs would immediately become due. The company believe the bank mis-sold them the loan because they were unaware break costs would be payable.

Timelines :

As Company X only became aware of the issue on 10 May 2015, more than six years after the alleged mis-selling occurred, they had until 10 May 2018 (i.e. three years from the date they became aware) to raise a complaint with their bank.

Provided they complained to their bank by that date, if they are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the bank, they can register the complaint with the BBRS.

Example scenarios :

On 14 August 2016, Company Y was informed that their loan was being converted into an overdraft, resulting in higher interest fees. Company Y feels that this was unfair and unreasonable.

Timelines :

As the incident took place before 1 October 2017, Company Y had until 1 April 2019 to raise a complaint with their bank.

Provided they complained to their bank by that date, if they are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the bank, they can register their complaint with the BBRS.

Example scenarios :

On 20 November 2018, Company Z received a notice from their bank to say that they had put a stop on their account due to late payment of overdraft fees. Company Z feels that this was unwarranted and had an adverse effect on their business.

Timelines :

As the incident took place after 1 October 2017 but before 1 April 2019, Company Z had until 20 May 2020 to complain to their bank – 18 months from the date of the incident.

Provided they complained to their bank by that date, if they are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the bank, they can register the complaint with the BBRS.

Example scenarios :

On 10 April 2019, OO Partnership paid a large cheque into its account. On 4 May 2019, the bank incorrectly returned the cheque to OO Partnership. By the time OO Partnership re-presented the cheque on 8 May 2019, the payer had entered administration and OO Partnership never received value for the cheque. OO Partnership complained to its bank on 30 June 2020, and is dissatisfied with the bank’s response.

The bank did not notify OO Partnership on 30 June 2020 (nor in writing at any time since then) that it could take its complaint to the BBRS.

Timelines :

OO Partnership complained to its bank well within 6 years from the date of incorrect return of the cheque in May 2019. It can register its complaint with the BBRS.

No 6 month time limit has been notified to OO Partnership, so no such time limit applies for bringing the complaint to the BBRS.

Example scenarios :

On 20 February 2021, MM Charity paid various cheques into its account. On 7 March 2021, MM Charity discovered from its bank statement that the total value of these cheques had not be credited to its account.

MM Charity complained to its bank on 8 March 2021. The bank responded on 31 March 2021, stating that MM Charity could take its complaint within 6 months to the BBRS. MM Charity is dissatisfied with the bank’s response.

Timelines :

MM Charity complained to its bank well within 6 years of the incident (on 20 February 2021), and can register its complaint with the BBRS until 6 months after the bank’s response on 31 March 2021 (that is, until 30 September 2021).

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