Walter Merricks leads the Financial Ombudsman Service
Money Box Investigates: Fighting for Fairness was broadcast on Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, at 2002 BST.
The programme was repeated on Sunday, 18 April, 2004, at 1702 BST.
In the first of two special investigations, Chris A'Court examined the growing disquiet over the way disputes between the public and financial firms are settled in the UK.
It is the role of the Financial Ombudsman Service to provide a free, efficient and fair service to people who are unable to resolve complaints themselves, or feel they are not being awarded appropriate compensation.
The UK has what is regarded as the world's most powerful and all-embracing Financial Ombudsman Service.
It is vital for everyone who uses the service to have full trust in its ability to fight for fairness and to settle disputes correctly.
But there are currently huge stresses on the system.
The programme explored whether a vastly increased workload - caused mainly by complaints over failing endowments - is having a major effect on the Financial Ombudsman Service when it comes to how it judges what is fair and what is not.
Chris A'Court met members of the public who claim they have been let down by the way their disputes have been handled and investigated how and why they might have been treated unfairly.
He interviewed Chief Financial Ombudsman Walter Merricks and top executives in the financial sector who argue that it is not consumers but the industry which now deserves a greater say in how disputes are resolved.
Presenter: Chris A'Court
Editor: Stephen Chilcott