Time limits for accepting a complaint are to increase to six years from the date of act/commission, or three years from the date of knowledge. The new limit will be introduced gradually, and complaints will not be accepted where the date of act or knowledge goes beyond 6 October 2010.

Financial limits will increase from £30,000 to £50,000 and the Ombudsman can now accept complaints from prospective customers.

From April, complaints investigated will incur a £400 case fee, but those following reasonable first tier complaints processes will be eligible for a case fee waiver. The ‘two free cases’ system is to be dropped because more lawyers were found to handle first tier complaints successfully than initially projected.

Widening responsibilities for alternative business structures and claims management companies have brought about the changes. See also p 17.