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Just 4% of packaged bank account complaints upheld

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Packaged bank account complaints continue to rise but their uphold rate is just 4%.

If you have a packaged or ‘added value’ account, you pay a monthly fee in exchange for a bundle of benefits such as mobile phone, travel insurance, or preferential rates on overdrafts and loans.

Latest statistics from the Financial Ombudsman Service revealed they are one of the most complained about financial products. It received 1,477 complaints about these types of current account between October and December 2021.

However, it ruled in favour of the customer in just 4% of cases – the lowest uphold rate of all products it adjudicated on. The Financial Ombudsman said this is a “continuing trend”, with 9% recorded in 2020/21.

It said over 90% of complaints about packaged bank accounts are from customers who believe they’ve been mis-sold.

Many complained because they said they didn’t make use of the benefits, such as travel or mobile phone insurance or breakdown cover. But not using the benefits is “unlikely to be a sufficient reason” for the Ombudsman to conclude it was mis-sold.

In cases where customers can’t use the benefits then it may rule in their favour, requiring the bank to refund fees.

The Ombudsman added that it typically looks at the circumstance at the time the account was sold in order to determine whether it was mis-sold. Further, not all benefits of a packaged bank account need to be right for a customer to get value from the package as a whole, it added.

Kevin Wright, ombudsman leader at the Financial Ombudsman Service, said: “We continue to receive thousands of complaints about packaged back accounts, yet our uphold rate is low.

“People should consider the reasons why they are unhappy with their packaged bank account. Not using the benefits of the account means it’s unlikely we will conclude that it was mis-sold.

“However, if people feel that they have been mis-sold the account as they cannot use most of the benefits then we are here to help consumers with their complaints.”

The Ombudsman received 64,407 new enquiries in total over the period with 35,324 complaints.

The five most complained about products in the quarter included current accounts (5,522), credit cards (3,263), car or motorcycle insurance (2,178), personal loans (1,824) and packaged bank accounts. Short-term lending had the highest uphold rate at 80% with complaints around affordability.

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