The Financial Conduct Authority has agreed to return a late fee to someone who forgot to click the submit button on their Gabriel return.
After being issued with a late returns fee, the person complained to the Complaints Commissioner.
The commissioner was unable to uphold the complaint because of the wording of the rules but he suggested that the case could be an exceptional circumstance.
Antony Townsend, the commissioner, said: “While most of the complaints about late return fees which I consider have little merit, your case is clearly distinguishable.
“The FCA’s records confirm that you contacted them by telephone trying to ensure that you could log on to Gabriel, which you did successfully on the day the returns were due, when you entered, validated and saved the data required.
“You did not press the submit button, but you had done all the work required, by the date required.”
Mr Townsend said he had previously asked the FCA to exercise more discretion in some cases.
He said: “While the FCA is right, in the interests of consistency, to be cautious about waiving fees, there might be advantages to exercising discretion in cases where those being regulated have demonstrably done their best to be compliant.”
The person was sent three reminders by the FCA to complete and submit their returns before the deadline.
They contacted the FCA by telephone before the deadline of 14 June to seek assistance as you were having trouble logging in to Gabriel, when they were again told about the impending deadline and the need to act.
After this they managed to log on, complete and save their returns, on 14 June, all of which were nil returns as they did not carry out any regulated activities in the relevant period.
They were not sent a reminder email for failure to submit their returns but were sent a late fee notification email at 11:23 on 24 June, submitting their returns 15 minutes later.