Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Financial complaints in the British Isles

The British Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) published an annual report documenting its work in settling disputes between consumers and financial businesses (with issues ranging from mortgages and payday loans to mobile phone insurance or pet insurance). FOS is a free service for consumers and it's an independent organisation from the financial world. It is interesting to see that compared to the previous year an increase of 92% was noted in tackled cases. This data could suggest that consumers are more aware of their rights and more willing to complain or/and their trust in financial institutions decreased (this could be claimed due to spikes in complaints after financial scandals). On average, one in four initial inquiries went on to become a formal dispute (previous year: one in five) and in nearly half of these formal cases compensation was paid. The most of cases (74%) concerned complaints about the payment protection insurance (PPI) and four of the UK's largest banking groups accounted for 62% of all complaints. This data could point out continued failure of banks and other financial institutions to help consumers get the compensation they are entitled to. (Financial gripes reach 7,000 a day, says ombudsman)

"As levels of confidence in financial services have eroded, it is disappointing that we still haven’t seen any significant improvement in complaints handling. Too many financial businesses still seem unable to sort out problems themselves, without the ombudsman having to get involved." said Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman (Stronger consumer voice sees half a million people bring disputes)

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