If you need a hand making a complaint to a business, the Financial Ombudsman can help for free.
How do I make a complaint
Let the business know you're not happy with the situation, in writing if possible. If you need help contacting the company, or making sure your complaint is taken seriously, have a look at the Financial Ombudsman Website.
Allow the business eight weeks to investigate.
If you're not happy with the response, or you haven't had a response, let the Ombudsman know and they will look into it for you.
What businesses do they cover?
- Credit cards and store cards
- Loans, including payday loans
- Credit and debt collection
- Savings and investments
- Hire purchase and pawnbroking
- Money transfers
- Financial advice
- Stocks, shares, unit trusts and bonds
Is there a deadline for asking for help?
Yes. You need to contact them within six months of the date of the business' response to your complaint.
They might not be able to help you if;
- What you're complaining about happened more than six years ago
- You complain more than three years after you realise (or should have realised) that there's a problem
How can I contact the Ombudsman?
There's more help available for Vulnerable People, Domestic Abuse Victims, and people looking for private renting.
If you need help regarding housing within the borough, we have dedicated teams who can help;
Private Sector Housing Team
If you're a homeowner or privately rent and need help repairing your home due to hazards, visit the Help for Homeowners and Private Tenants pages.
If you're having trouble with your landlord and the state of your property, have a look at our Housing Conditions pages.
If you need help with social housing, have a look at our Housing Register pages. Once you are on the register, you can get help with looking for a property on the Kent Homechoice website.
The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide help with tenancy agreements.
For help finding cheaper energy bills, the Big Maidstone Switch may be able to help. You'll need your most recent bill so you can enter the correct amount.
Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. They can arrive by post, phone call, text message or email or from someone coming to your home.
There's some dedicated websites that detail how to report a scam, and where possible how to get your money back.
There is information on the Citizens Advice Website.
Think Jessica is focused on scams and how to report them.
Maidstone Community Wardens can provide training to front line staff on how to recognise scams, and can further this support when you are faced with a client who has been a victim of this. You can contact them directly for help.
The Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS) is provided by Kent County Council.
They are there to support you if you are having difficulties managing your income, or if you are facing pressure because of an emergency. They offer help for a short time, only if you have no other means of support.
They can only take your application if you are currently living in, or planning to move to Kent. If you pay Council Tax to Medway Council, you will need to call them on 0800 772 0525.
For the application form and further details, please visit the KSAS website.
Domestic Abuse can be violence or the threat of violence, or verbal, physical or psychological abuse.
For details on who to contact for help and our sanctuary scheme, please have a look at our Domestic Violence page.
We have a Domestic Violence Directory Leaflet, which can be given to the public.
The North Kent Women's Aid organise a One-Stop-Shop for Domestic Violence in Maidstone. To find out more details, please visit the support services for Kent and Medway website.
If you need to open a new bank account, please have a look at our Money Management pages.
There are a lot of ways to help people get control of their finances. Here's a few organisations that can help;
- Christians Against Poverty
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- JBW Group
- Kent Savers Credit Union
- Money Advice Service
- StepChange Debt Charity
- Turn 2 Us
Have a look at the Hold Your Hand information on our Money Management pages for guidance through processes.
If you have difficulty paying your Southern Water bill, visit the Southern Water website for information on how their four help schemes may be able to help.
Power Of Attorney
Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you (the 'donor') appoint people (the 'attorney') to make decisions on your behalf.
It can be used if you become unable to make your own decisions.
There are two types of Power of Attorney;
Health and Welfare
This can only be used when you're unable to make your own decisions.
Property and Financial Affairs
This can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission.
You can choose to have either or both types of Power of Attorney. There is more information on the GOV.UK website.
Report a concern
If you have any concerns about an attorney, deputy or decision they've made for someone, you should contact the Office of the Public Guardian.
They can help if there is a registered Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney or a court order.
If one of these isn't in place, you may need to contact;
- The Department for Work and Pensions for concerns about benefits
- Local adult social services for concerns about care of safeguarding
- Local police if you think someone is not in immediate danger, but the attorney has committed a criminal offence.
Mental Capacity Act
The code of practice gives guidance to people who;
- Work with people who can't make decision for themselves
- Care for people who can't make decisions for themselves
It says what you must do when you make decisions for someone who can't make them for themselves.
Get money from the Courts when you recover mental capacity
You'll be able to access the money in your court funds account if the Court of Protection decide that you've fully recovered your mental capacity and can manage your finances.
Kent County Council has information and assessment forms on the Kent County Council website.