Complaints and Enforcement of Debts

Q. Isn't spread betting gambling per UK law and thereby debts not legally enforceable?

I would presume that in such a case there is a good chance you could lose any gains in an extreme event if the firm or its systems fail in any way?

A: False. Spread betting is a financial service regulated by the Financial Services Authority - it has been specifically removed from gambling laws per the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Spread betting is as enforceable as any contract.

If the firm fails, you will have standing as a creditor in bankruptcy should you have funds with the firm (as well as having your funds protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as discussed above). See my other questions on the advantages of ensuring you are a segregated funds client in anticipation of exactly this circumstance.

If the systems fail, you will probably have your trade reinstated (although you may need to file a complaint). Filing a complaint must be done via the appropriate channels. The first step is to complain directly with the company itself. If you are not happy with their final response, you can then refer the complaint to the FOS. If you look at your broker's website, they should outline their initial complaints procedure clearly.

Q. What if I have a complaint?

This afternoon I opened a deal ticket on line and clicked buy at 1787. The guaranteed stop loss premium on this spread bet is quoted at about 12 point, so this should have been filled at 1799. After the 'hanging message of death' appeared for about 30 seconds a message came up saying 'this price is no longer available'. I was also prompted with two choices in the dealing screen either 'back' or 'close'. I pressed back, and low and behold rather than giving me a new quote the order was filled at 1828! At £5 a point this made me instantly £145 in loss.

A: I suggest if you are not happy with your spread betting firm, you should submit a complaint. The spread betting company is COMPELLED to take anything marked as a complaint seriously and they have prescribed processes for handling them. First print/screen save everything to do with the! Once you have all your papers in front of you, I would make a list of the afternoon events in order and then sit on the phone until you get to speak to someone who can 'really' deal with your complaint, not with customer support - so ask to speak to the head of Client Service or accept a supervisor. Calmly explain to them what happened and ask for an explanation of their pricing and how it resulted in your loss. They will explain and then you can take a view on whether they have a case to answer.

Under FSA statute spread betting providers must maintain a complaints file that details how they dealt with individual complaints and so forth (these complaints are taken seriously by the spread betting companies because it's an easy thing for the FSA to look at this record.

You might want to write a complaint to whomever their terms and conditions tell you to complain to. If no one is listed under the terms and conditions address your complaint to the compliance officer. The letter should clearly state the facts and asking for the loss to be compensated (if this is the nature of your complaint). You should state that should they turn down your request, then, they accept you are in dispute and would like them to forward their dispute resolution process.

Something like, "Dear City Index (supposing it was City Index, not that it was City Index!), I wish to file a formal complaint concerning a trade on your silver..." and then state the key bit above (without typos). Conclude by noting to them that their system created a contract where it should not have and that you wish to have the trade reversed or you will escalate the matter as provided by their terms and conditions and applicable FSA regulation, including the Treating Customers Fairly initiative.

All other facts like the status of your account, history, sorts of products they offer are immaterial and do not need to be mentioned. If they have any sense then they will treat the threat of a complaint more seriously than your threat to take your business elsewhere.

 ...Continues here - Spread Betting White-Label Clones

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