There are time limits affecting whether we can or can’t help with a complaint.
How long you have to complain to a claims management company
You usually need to complain to a claims management company (CMC) or to us within six years of the problem you’re complaining about.
If you haven’t done this, we can’t usually investigate the complaint unless you make your complaint within three years of becoming aware (or when you should reasonably have become aware) that you had cause to complain.
Time limits for a CMC to reply
A CMC has eight weeks to consider a complaint. Before this time limit has passed, they should send you their final response.
What the final response should say
The final response should mention that you have the right to refer your complaint to us in the next six months.
If the final response doesn't mention the six-month time limit, then the response isn't valid and you can still complain to us after that.
The final response also needs to state whether the CMC agrees to us looking into the complaint if it’s referred to us after the six-month time limit runs out. If a CMC says they agree, they can't change their mind later on.
How long you have to complain to us after receiving the final response
You have six months from the date of the CMC's final response to refer your complaint to us.
If you complain later than this, we usually won’t be able to help unless:
- the delay is due to exceptional circumstances – for example, you were seriously ill during the time you had to refer the complaint
- the CMC didn’t send a valid final response
- the CMC agrees to us being involved after the six-month time limit
If a CMC doesn’t agree to us investigating a late complaint, we'll look into what's happened and decide if we agree the complaint is out of time.
How to calculate when the six-month time limit ends
This six-month deadline starts from the date the CMC sends the final response. We then use calendar months to work out the end date.
So if a CMC sent a final response on 7 May, you have until 7 November to refer the complaint to us.
If a CMC sent a final response on 30 August then you have until 28 February to complain to us – since it’s not possible to have an end date of 30 February.