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Yes. Once you have submitted a complaint, you should set your user preferences for how you would like to be updated. You can also log in to your user profile at any time to edit these preferences and see your complaints and any responses to them.
The more knowledge we have about your situation, the better our advice about potential next steps will be. You should not, of course, include any personal information, account details or any other sensitive financial information.
Any registered user can submit a complaint, and any reader can view, search and filter this user content. As a community, we are working together to expose broker scams and violations of best practices while also offering possible solutions for members of our community.
No, AskTraders is not an investigation or mediation service and does not investigate complaints on your behalf. Instead, we connect users and brokers and use our extensive experience and knowledge of the investing world to suggest what can be done to rectify the situation.
You can submit a complaint using our handy complaints form. Please give as much detail as possible as this will enable us to assess your situation and respond with our recommended next steps.
This free service is available to all of our registered users. Simply log in to your account to voice your complaint. Any reader can view and search complaints without registering an account or logging in. It is easy to register as a user if you wish to submit a complaint.
AskTraders complaints is a free, independent resolution service. We connect traders with brokers and help them resolve the most common, and sometimes uncommon, issues they may experience and find the best outcome for both parties.
Yes. It helps the whole community if users let us know when and if a solution is reached and how satisfactory that solution was. Conversely, if things remain unresolved or negative developments arise, you can also update the complaints thread, and you may receive further advice regarding your changed circumstances.
AskTraders has many years of experience and many connections with brokers and other affiliations. We know the reputations of the various brokers, who is regulated by whom and what the best steps to take are, given the broker in question and their licencing, customer compensation cover and other policies.
Any registered user can voice a complaint about any broker via our complaints form. Complaints will be read, monitored and published along with our responses, enabling other users to make an informed decision.
It is not unusual to have bad experiences with investing. Trading stocks, CFDs and forex is not as easy as many people believe, and more private traders lose money than make it. You cannot lodge a complaint due to losses incurred through no fault of the broker. You also cannot make an external complaint about general ‘poor service’ if it has not resulted in any kind of financial loss for you.
Another area that will not be covered under broker complaints procedures is if your personal account has been compromised due to your own poor security. If you pick a weak password, do not set up secure log-in procedures or do not keep devices you use to trade on safe, it is possible your account could be compromised without any bypass of the broker’s security.
It really is very common for complaints to be settled between the broker and the customer with minimal fuss and stress. Approach your broker in a civil and open manner with a clear explanation of what is causing you a problem, and you will often not need further action.
Keep communications in writing as much as possible, even if this means confirming the key points of any phone conversations in a follow-up email. This helps both parties keep track of things and monitor what has and has not been done, and a written record is invaluable if you need to take things further.
If you do need to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, make sure you follow procedures. They deal with hundreds of complaints every day, so it’s wise to make dealing with yours as easy as possible. There are clear guidelines on their website regarding how to make your complaint and how things will proceed once your complaint has been received. Always use the online form on the website to submit your complaint.
We laid out the steps above in that order for a reason. Approach the broker first so that you’re not taking an easily solved issue to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It’s also vital to approach the FOS before taking a case to court. You can never submit a complaint about something a judge has already ruled on as the FOS does not have the authority to overrule a court decision.
You should move promptly if your broker is unwilling to resolve your issues or offers a final resolution you are unhappy with. As already mentioned, the FOS will be unable to intervene if more than six months have elapsed since the broker offered you a solution to the problem.
If you have had a problem with a broker or have been a victim of an investment scam your first thought is more than likely ‘how can I get my money back?’. The good news is if you deposited using a credit or debit card there is a possible route you can take that doesn’t involve expensive lawyers. There is a method your card issuer can use to recover your deposits called a chargeback. A chargeback is a process banks and card issuers use to cover credit and debit card deposits. You may find that some of the bank’s frontline staff don’t know what a chargeback is, but they should as a chargeback is a standard process that all card issuers deal with so if they’re not being helpful ask to speak to their supervisor or visit a branch. Please be nice to them though as they don’t have an easy job (trust me, I’ve been there!)
What is a chargeback?A chargeback is when a payment made with a credit or debit card is reversed and the funds are returned to the customer. You typically have 120 days from when the deposit was made to start the chargeback process. Also chargebacks can only be used to reverse the deposits you made to the broker, you can’t recover any profits this way.The typical chargeback process goes like this:
- The customer reports a dispute to the card issuer who investigates and makes sure there is a valid case
- If they agree that the reason for the chargeback is genuine the card issuer returns the funds to the customer
- The merchant (in this case the broker) is notified of the chargeback and is given a chance to respond
- The merchant can either accept the chargeback and the related costs or provide the card issuer with compelling evidence proving the transaction is genuine (the evidence they need to provide depends on the reason for the chargeback)
- If the card issuer disagrees with the evidence the chargeback will stand. If they agree with the merchant’s evidence the card issuer takes back the funds they returned to the customer.
- If the merchant disagrees with the card issuer’s decision they can start a process called arbitration where the case is sent to Visa or Mastercard (or the relevant card scheme) who make a final decision. This is expensive though and can result in a big charge for whoever loses the case.
Always try and resolve your complaint with the Broker firstIf you trade with a regulated broker the quickest way to resolve your complaint is usually by speaking to them directly rather than going straight to your bank and starting the chargeback process. You need to have a genuine case for proceeding with a chargeback - there needs to be a reason for raising the chargeback (being unhappy at losing a few trades won’t cut it I’m afraid) Always read the broker’s terms & conditions to make sure you have a case.
What are the typical reasons for raising a chargeback?Chargebacks fall into 3 broad categories:
- Fraudulent transactions that were made without the cardholders knowledge.
- Processing and authorizations errors such as payments being processed twice, payments not being cancelled when they should’ve been etc.
- Consumer disputes which include things like the goods/services you paid for were not received or were significantly not as described.
- A chargeback is a way of reversing deposits made with a credit or debit card and recovering your money
- A chargeback usually needs to be raised within 120 days of the transaction date
- There must be a valid reason for raising the chargeback
- Always try and resolve your problem with the broker first.
- Chargebacks can only be used to recover the credit or debit card deposits you made to the broker, you can’t recover any profits using chargebacks
Get your complaint resolved with us!Have you had a problem with a broker? We can help! Here at AskTraders we have a free and independent complaints resolution service. We use our extensive knowledge of the trading and investing world to connect traders with brokers to help resolve your issue and find the best outcome for both parties. Start your complaint here
This guide is here to help you follow the right procedures and do everything you possibly can to make sure your broker complaint is addressed and dealt with as quickly and cheaply as possible and with the minimum of stress. Broker complaints are not uncommon and in many cases can be addressed without the need for legal action, often without involving any third parties at all. Knowing how to approach your broker and what your rights are can be very helpful and may allow you to easily reach an agreement you and your broker are happy with. The advice in this guide applies to most types of broker complaints in the UK, such as:
- Forex complaints
- CFD complaints
- Stock broker complaints
- Indices complaints
- Commodities complaints
Broker regulation and broker scamsIt is easy to assume you are protected from broker scams if your broker is fully licenced and regulated by a respectable authority, and this is certainly something that is important to check, but it is always possible that you will have problems with a specific broker even if they are regulated. Here is what you need to know about regulation in the UK. The main UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), does not, in fact, participate in solving conflicts between brokers and customers. Instead, the regulator exists to focus on preventing scams and unfair practices from happening in the first place. This is why you have an extra layer of protection when you choose a regulated broker. The FCA monitors the brokers that are under its authority and implements a set of rules they must follow. Very importantly, in this context, the FCA mandates that all financial services providers under its authority must establish complaint submission procedures. This means all regulated companies should have a clearly established procedure for handling complaints, so in theory, the process of making a complaint and having that complaint dealt with should be streamlined and easy. Authorised brokers tend to have a complaints department, a complaints policy clearly displayed on their website and a clear set of steps in place to resolve complaints as they arise. This means that dealing with common conflicts should be quite quick and simple.
What to do if you have a broker complaintUse AskTraders complaints! You can easily log in to your AskTraders profile (or register for free) and submit details of your complaint. This service is offered free to all members of the AskTraders community and is very easy to use. We will review your complaint and make suggestions based on your specific circumstances and the broker you are dealing with. Give us as much detail as you are comfortable with in order for us to assess your situation and offer potential solutions while always, of course, keeping all sensitive and personal information private. Remember, you can also search our complaints board to see if others have had similar problems with your broker and how their complaint was resolved. You may find peace of mind in the fact that yours is a common complaint that usually gets resolved in the end, and you may benefit from seeing how others have dealt with a similar situation. Contact the broker. You may be surprised to hear that many complaints are easily (if not always quickly) resolved by simply approaching the broker direct, especially if they are a regulated broker with an established complaints procedure and dedicated resolution centre. Get in touch with the broker and clearly describe exactly what your issue is. Often, conflicts are caused by misunderstandings or genuine errors, and an amicable solution can be easily achieved through communication. If your complaint is more complex, it may take several communications with the broker before it is resolved, but if the broker seems to be accommodating and trying hard to resolve things, it is probably worth persisting as this is by far the easiest way to resolve issues, and brokers are obviously keen to preserve their reputation and retain their clients if they can. It is best to handle the communication with the broker in writing. This allows both parties to keep track of the issue and monitor what has and has not been done if you are dealing with a multi-step solution. Try and be patient, especially if your claim is a more complex one. It can take up to eight weeks to get a response from a broker. If more than eight weeks have passed, however, move on to the next step. Approach the Financial Ombudsman Service. If the broker has not addressed your claim within a reasonable amount of time or if you are unhappy with the final answer you have received, you can go ahead and contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This is a free service with one main function: to settle individual disputes between customers and businesses that provide financial services. The scope of the FOS is quite large, and forex complaints are covered as well as general stock broker complaints. If your broker has been unable to settle your complaint to your satisfaction, the FOS will step in to mediate between you and the broker with the aim of finding a solution you are both satisfied with. While you should always give your broker the chance to put things right themselves, don't wait too long to contact the FOS if you are unhappy with their solution. If it has been more than six months since you received a final response to your complaint from the broker, the FOS may not be able to help you resolve the issue. Hire a lawyer and take the issue to court. This is, of course, a last resort, but if the Financial Ombudsman Service solution is not satisfactory, it is always possible to take the case to court. Obviously, this is an expensive and tedious process, which will require you to invest a significant amount of time and money. As you are probably aware, the legal system is often slow and cumbersome, and lawyers’ fees are invariably high. You should take your lawyer’s advice on exactly how to proceed, but generally, if you are residing in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will take the claim to the county court or High Court. If you are residing in Scotland, you will probably be advised to approach the Sheriff Courts first.
Claiming funds from the Financial Services Compensation SchemeIf you are a British investor, then you may already know that in the unlikely event that your broker goes bankrupt, you are potentially protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Your broker should display details of this scheme on their website, but generally speaking, individual investors can claim compensation up to a maximum amount of £50,000 per investor if the broker is deemed to be ‘in default’ and unable to pay its own claims. It is recommended that you submit your claim with the broker first and do so as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that the FSCS will not honour a claim made with them if they ascertain that the broker has enough assets or funds to pay the claim itself. If, however, the FSCS deems that the broker is indeed ‘in default’, which means it is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against itself, then the compensation scheme will become available. You can then submit a claim via the FSCS up to the value of £50,000. Once a broker is declared bankrupt, the FSCS will try to contact all customers to provide them with a compensation application form.
Making a crypto complaintInvesting in the dynamic and largely unregulated cryptocurrency markets brings additional risks. As most crypto investors know, cryptocurrencies are highly unusual in that while it is legal to use them and trade them in most countries, they are not actually legal tender in any country. This means they are completely decentralised and not authorised or regulated by any government or backed by any national bank. Consequently, there is a significant potential for crypto scams and very little recourse for those who have a crypto complaint. If trading cryptocurrencies through a broker, examine the terms and conditions carefully. They are generally not covered by the same policies and compensation schemes as other assets. Victims of crypto-asset fraud may have access to certain civil remedies such as a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, but in practice, identifying crypto fraud is not easy and compensation is not guaranteed. If you are one of the many traders interested in cryptocurrency trading, we strongly suggest you carefully research the unique market position of these digital assets and understand the risks and issues around filing any kind of crypto complaint. You may want to check out our extensive archive of articles about cryptocurrencies.
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