UPDATE BELOW: 02/11/2018
A new fascinating question has been posed to FOS on the “What do they know” website. It seems that many FOS decisions to have been based in some part on the Ombudsman considering a financial institution’s commercial judgement/decision when that is not appropriate.
The question asked is quite lengthy and comprehensive and you can read it in full by following this link but this quote should give you a taste of it:
[Nonetheless], many (700+) published Ombudsman decisions after 1 January 2017 dismissing the complaint indicate that weight, in many cases very significant weight, is given to a commercial decision/judgment of the respondent. For instance, decisions using wording such as the adjudicator/ombudsman “cannot interfere with the way a financial institution exercises it commercial judgement” or that the adjudicator/ombudsman is “reluctant to interfere with a commercial decision” of the financial institution.
The questioner has attempted to prevent FOS declining to reply on the grounds that it would be too expensive to do so, by asking for FOS’s assistance to narrow the question so that it falls under the limit.
FOS have replied to this public FOI question with a PGP Universal Secured Message (which is an encrypted message). However the questioner has revealed the contents, which is simply that FOS has actually received the FOI question, he has also asked FOS to use un-encrypted messages in future.
I can only guess at the reason for secrecy, there must be a reason !
Well whatever the reason for the secrecy…FOS have agreed that future letters will not be encrypted !
Questioner takes issue again with FOS Information Rights Officer. Suggests that FOS thinks their ombudsmen are always right !
FOS has now replied and has actually given some reasonable sounding examples illustrating when a firm’s commercial judgement could be taken into account. Pity this was not done in the first place. But the questioner has responded with further points. We shall see.