What is the Pensions Ombudsman?

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The Pensions Ombudsman is an independent organisation that deals with pension disputes between individuals and companies. It works to resolve issues with legally-binding solutions – so if you are found in favour, the Pensions Ombudsman will help relieve unnecessary stress from your retirement journey.

What issues does it cover?

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If the MMT, a previous workplace pension scheme, or personal pension provider is taking an unreasonable and unexplainable amount of time to do something, you have grounds to contact the Pensions Ombudsman. Your provider could also have provided you with incorrect information or mislead you.

The Pensions Ombudsman will not help you with complaints about the State Pension: this is a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions, which you can contact directly.

The service also can’t be used to trace lost pensions or complain about pensions marketing. The Pensions Ombudsman is unable to challenge cases already settled by a court of law or similar ombudsman service.

To check whether the Pensions Ombudsman can help you with your complaint, follow this online checker on the Pensions Ombudsman website. Just click 'see if we can help', and follow the instructions. 

How does it work?

The first port of call is with the party involved. Whether it’s IMI, your pension provider or administrator: it’s crucial that you try to resolve the issue yourself first, so that they have a chance to rectify the problem without external help. The Pensions Ombudsman can only get involved if your attempts to find a solution prove fruitless, or you’re not satisfied with the outcome.

Once you contact the Pensions Ombudsman, you’ll need to make a complaint. This can be done online or by downloading a form and sending it in to the Pensions Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman will then review your situation to decide whether to proceed. This decision will be based on whether they believe you have a case, and if you have provided enough information. They might ask you for further details.

The Ombudsman will then investigate your case, before making a decision to rectify the problem, which is enforceable in a court of law.

Click here for more detailed information about the Ombudsman Service, or the process and timeframes you can expect.

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It is important that any complain you make is brought to the Ombudsman service within 3 years of the problem occurring. Excluding cases where particular extenuating circumstances mean that you could not have known about the issue within this timeframe, your complaint will be considered outdated if you miss this 3 year window.