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record numbers of disputes – as people look for honest answers

ombudsman service publishes annual review

20 May 2014

The Financial Ombudsman Service – the independent service that settles disputes between consumers and financial businesses – today publishes its annual review for 2013/2014. During the year:

  • The ombudsman answered 2.3 million enquiries from consumers – 40,000 every week.
  • The ombudsman settled a record 518,778 disputes – more than double the number last year.
  • Payment protection insurance (PPI) made up 78% of all cases, with the number of PPI complaints rising 6% to 399,939.

Reflecting on the year, Tony Boorman, chief ombudsman, said:

It’s been an unprecedented twelve months for the ombudsman by anyone’s standards. Complaints continued at record levels – and we resolved over half a million cases during the year.

But our work – and complaints handling in general – is about much more than closing cases and reporting big numbers.

Each case we see tells a story about the lives and livelihoods of the individuals involved. In our experience, people are simply looking for honest, straightforward answers that show someone has listened and helped make sense of things.

So whether it’s dealing with a complex pension complaint or problems with a mobile banking app, the financial services sector continues to face the challenge of putting the customer at the centre of their business.

Statistics from the ombudsman’s annual review show:

  • In 58% of the cases we resolved we found in the consumer’s favour.
  • Almost a quarter of the enquiries we received were about general financial problems and concerns – and weren’t product-specific.
  • 1 in 6 people across the UK said they'd had a problem with a financial product or service.
  • Around one in five initial enquiries turned into a formal dispute – a record 512,167 new complaints.
  • Four of the UK’s largest banking groups accounted for 63% of all complaints we received.
  • Other than PPI, we resolved seven out of ten (71%) complaints within six months.
  • People from Widnes were the most likely to phone us and consumers from the North East more likely to complain about PPI.
  • A fifth of people who brought a complaint to the ombudsman said they had a disability.
  • 77% of people surveyed said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service, and 70% said they trusted the organisation.

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