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Ombudsman publishes latest complaints data

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The Financial Ombudsman Service today released data detailing all complaints submitted to the body in the final two quarters of last year.

The figures reveal that of all the complaints lodged by consumers over the last six months of the past year, grievances over PPI mis-selling still account for the highest proportion of complaints (105,000 individual claims – two-thirds of the overall total). This means that total PPI complaints last year totalled over 238,000.

Other data indicates that complaints about banking services increased by 8 per cent and investment cases by 4 per cent, and the average ‘uphold rate’ during this period – the percentage of complaints where the Ombudsman found in the complainant’s favour – was 52 per cent. Rates for individual businesses, however, varied wildly; for instance, only 4 per cent of complaints levelled at Coventry Building Society were upheld, while only 2 per cent of complaints about credit broker Secret Eye were not.

In terms of financial firms, Lloyds Banking Group came top of the complaint rankings in respect of complaint volumes, with 46,000 across its various operations (although, this represented a fall of 25 per cent on the first half of the year). Barclays came second, with 21,500 cases; Royal Bank of Scotland third, with 13,400.

Lloyds Bank also topped the table of most complained-about brands in relation to PPI, with 20,000 cases during the period 1 July to 31 December, and an uphold rate of 82 per cent. Again, Barclays was in second place, with 15,700 cases.

“PPI complaints still make up the bulk of the ombudsman’s workload…although, it’s good news that complaint numbers are starting to level off,” said Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman. “Outside PPI, we continue to see many entrenched disputes that could have been avoided. Problems could often have been cleared up much earlier, if there had been better communication.”

“It will take time to rebuild people’s trust and confidence in the financial sector. And a first step towards this is for all businesses to show they’ve dealt with their customers’ complaints thoughtfully and with care.”

Some commentators expressed dismay that complaints about banks were rising in number. While acknowledging it was a “relief” to see PPI mis-selling complaints “finally levelling off”, David Mann, head of banking at uSwitch, believed the increase was “worrying”.

“It’s clear there is still a long way to go to fully restore trust in banks,” he continued. “With increasing competition from challengers, banks will need to work harder to put customers at the heart of their business and make sure they’re delivering a truly world-class service.”

For more information on how you can claim mis-sold PPI, please visit the Your Money guide.

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