We aim to treat our customers fairly at all times. We take any complaint very seriously.

At SME we define a complaint as “Any expression of dissatisfaction, whether oral or written, and  whether justified or not, from or on behalf of an eligible complainant about the firm’s provision of, or  failure to provide, a financial service”.  Our customer services manager is  responsible for ensuring that we thoroughly investigate any complaints.

As soon as a complaint is received:

All written complaints will be acknowledged by our customer services team in writing within five  business days of receipt. All verbal complaints will also be acknowledged by us in writing within five  business days of receipt. This acknowledgement letter will also contain our understanding of the  complaint.

If the complaint can be resolved within five business days, our acknowledgement letter will also  outline the result of our investigation. If our investigation is not resolved within five business days,  our acknowledgement letter will confirm that we will:

  • Investigate the complaint and aim to respond within four weeks of receiving the  complaint.
  • Explain that, if we cannot complete the investigation within four weeks of receiving the  complaint, we will write again giving the reason for the delay.
  • Explain that on completion of our investigation we will inform the complainant of the  outcome and the options available to him/her.

If the complaint is about another party, such as an insurer with whom we have placed business,  we will refer details of the complaint to the third party and confirm this course of action to the  complainant in writing.

After we have investigated the complaint:

Immediately on completion of our investigation our customer services team will write to the  complainant notifying him/her of the outcome of our investigation, and the nature and terms of any  settlement (if applicable).  Any compensation we offer will be fair and the basis of the calculation  will be explained.

Our letter will also advise that if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome he/she may refer  the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if eligible. Our letter will include the name,  address and telephone number of the Ombudsman and a leaflet which explains the Ombudsman  arrangements.

If we cannot resolve the complaint within four weeks:

If, for any reason, our investigation is not concluded within four weeks, our customer services  manager will write to the complainant again informing him/her that our  investigation is continuing, giving the reasons for the delay and a date by which our complaints  officer expects to be able to contact the complainant again.

If we cannot resolve the complaint within eight weeks:

While we would always aim to complete an investigation within eight weeks, if, for any reason, our  investigation is not concluded within this period, our complaints officer will write to the  complainant again.  We will inform him/her of the reasons for the further delay and advise that if  he/she is not satisfied with our progress he/she may refer the complaint to the FOS. Our letter will include the name, address and telephone number of the  Ombudsman and a leaflet which explains the Ombudsman arrangements. For further details please  see www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

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