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annual review 2013/2014

1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014

the complaints we received

our consumer helpline

During the year consumers continued to contact our consumer helpline in record numbers - with questions, concerns and complaints about their dealings with financial services.

We handled 2,357,374 enquiries during the year - a 9% increase on the previous year. This means that each working day, we replied to an average of almost 8,000 phone calls, letters and emails from consumers.

initial enquiries and complaints from consumers

year ended
31 March
phone enquiries written enquiries
(including by email)
total enquiries
2014 1,150,002 1,207,372 2,357,374
2013 1,067,607 1,093,832 2,161,439
2012 673,999 594,799 1,268,798
2011 461,613 550,758 1,012,371
2010 448,140 476,955 925,095
2009 399,918 389,959 789,877
2008 425,942 368,706 794,648

Our consumer helpline is the first port of call for everyone who phones the ombudsman service. This year 95% of the 46,000 people we asked said it had been easy to find out how to contact us.

We offer three different phone numbers for consumers to use to call our helpline. Under many phone tariffs, one or more of our numbers will be free for a consumer to call.

the numbers that people used to contact our helpline

  • 62% used 0800 023 4567 the most
  • 29% used 0300 123 9 123 the most
  • 9% used 0845 080 1800 the most

The proportion of people phoning our 0800 number rose by 17% during the year. Although this number is usually free to call from a landline, most mobile phone users have to pay for these calls.

Our 0300 number is less expensive for mobile phone users, and free on some tariffs. So we were surprised to find calls to this number fell by 15% over the year. This may reflect the fact that some people aren’t yet familiar with the 0300 format - and might not be quite sure how much it costs to call numbers with this prefix.

The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has committed to overhauling and simplifying call charges from July 2015 - including making 0800 calls free from mobiles. So we may see the proportions of people using our different numbers change in the future.

When we launched our original 0845 number, there weren’t many cheaper alternatives available for organisations to offer their customers. However, since we launched our freephone 0800 number - more than five years ago - we haven’t promoted our 0845 number.

This is reflected in another fall in the number of calls to our 0845 number - from 13% of our total calls last year to 9% this year. We continue to remind those organisations who are still giving out our 0845 number that we have cheaper options - and that they should update their records.

the time of day consumers phoned us

  • 11.5% between 8am and 10am
  • 24% between 10am and midday
  • 22.5% between midday and 2pm
  • 23% between 2pm and 4pm
  • 15% between 4pm and 6pm
  • 4% between 6pm and 8pm

Consumers can contact us from 8am to 8pm on weekdays as well as on Saturday mornings. This helps us meet our commitment to be accessible to everyone, whatever their family situation, work commitments and lifestyle.

We generally receive the most calls on Mondays between 10am and 12 noon. This year we received up to 700 phone calls an hour at this time.

We use call-centre planning tools to manage the volatility in the number of incoming calls. We often experience sudden sharp increases in calls when we feature on the radio or television - as people realise they could have a problem and want to talk about it straight away. Having the flexibility to handle fluctuations in call volumes involves making sure as many of our staff as possible are dealing with phone calls - rather than written enquiries - at the busiest times.

The busiest day for our consumer helpline was Monday 13 May 2013 - when we received 6,165 phone calls about all kinds of problems. 63% of these calls were about payment protection insurance (PPI).

Another spike happened on Tuesday 11 June 2013 when we received 3,845 phone calls just about PPI. This followed a widely reported media story about poor standards of PPI complaints handling by a major bank.

The quietest day for our consumer helpline was Christmas Eve 2013. Friday afternoons in July and August were also quieter times on our phones.

how people phoned our consumer helpline

  • 76% from a landline phone
  • 18% from a mobile phone
  • 4% from an overseas or untraceable phone
  • 2% calls made over the internet

The proportion of calls to our consumer helpline from mobiles increased again during the year. However, we know that certain groups of consumers - particularly older people - prefer to use a landline to phone us.

3,224 people called us from payphones - a similar number to last year. We always tell people we’re happy to phone them back if they’re worried about the cost of calling us.

23,215 people phoned us over the internet using services such as Skype - more than three times as many as in the previous year. This includes a small number of consumers who talked to us using online messaging.

We aim to answer 80% of phone calls to our consumer helpline within 20 seconds. This is a widely-accepted standard for organisations receiving the volume of calls that we do. During the year we answered 82% of calls about everything other than PPI within 20 seconds.

Looking only at calls about PPI, we answered 76% of these within 20 seconds - up from 72% in the previous year. Although this is still fewer than our target, it reflects the much larger volumes of calls about PPI than were forecast at the start of the year.

92% of consumers we surveyed over the year said they felt we answered their calls promptly.

the length of calls to our consumer helpline

  • under 3 minutes: 27%
  • between 3 and 5 minutes: 16%
  • between 5 and 10 minutes: 22.5%
  • between 10 and 15 minutes: 18.5%
  • between 15 and 20 minutes: 7%
  • over 20 minutes: 6%

Consumers who phone us hear a welcome message - recorded by our principal ombudsman - asking them to choose one of four options depending on what their call is about.

This way, we can make sure their call reaches someone on our consumer helpline with the right knowledge to give them an answer. As ever more types of financial service come under our remit, filtering calls this way is increasingly important to answering people’s questions efficiently.

During the year, the proportions of phone calls taking less than three minutes or more than eleven minutes declined - while those lasting between three and ten minutes increased by 15%.

Longer phone conversations still often involve consumers who are phoning us to ask for help and guidance about making a PPI complaint - rather than paying a claims manager to do it for them.

online contact

Instead of calling us, many people would rather find out the information they need from our website.

Over the last year, an average of 17,100 people visited our website each day. Though the busiest period remains between 12 noon and 1pm on weekdays, many people take advantage of being able to email us or find an answer online at any time. There were almost 150,000 hits on our website on Christmas Day 2013 - when over a thousand people downloaded complaint forms.

On our website’s busiest day last year - 29 May 2013 - over 22,000 people visited to download our newly-published annual review.

In total 651,682 complaint forms and 1,632,563 PPI questionnaires were downloaded from our website during the year.

Our PPI questionnaire is the standard form used by businesses, consumer bodies and claims managers. It helps ensure the information we and these organisations collect from consumers is consistent - and all in one place - so complaints can be dealt with as efficiently as possible, whether they reach us or not.

The other most-visited pages on our website last year were:

  • Our news page - with 227 news updates added during the year.
  • New or updated guidance notes in our “online technical resource”, which sets out our approach to complaints involving a wide range of products and issues - from pet insurance to portfolio management, motor valuations to storm damage.
  • Case studies from the online version of our newsletter, ombudsman news - which during the year covered 14 different subjects including payday lending, “packaged” bank accounts and complaints involving older consumers.

the words most searched for on our website

| complaint | claim | PPI | car insurance | compensation | debt | banker | mortgage | mis sold | help

This year 1,000 organisations linked from their website to ours - from savvywoman.co.uk to shelter.org.uk, bbc.co.uk to thestudentroom.co.uk. There is more information about the people who visited our website in the chapter called “who complained to us”.

We carefully monitor the words that people use in their searches on our website. If we see that a lot of people are searching using a particular word, we see whether we can make the relevant information easier to find.

It’s interesting that such a significant proportion of searches involve simply the word “complaint” - on a website that is almost exclusively about complaints. This reminds us how unfamiliar the language of financial complaints can be for many people - and how much help they might need to articulate their problem.

engaging with people through various channels

During the year we introduced a webchat facility for people to talk to us online. We also got more involved in conversations on social media sites. There is more information about how we use social media in the chapter called “who complained to us”.

Although these channels may not lend themselves to the complexity and sensitivity that some complaints involve, many people tell us they like the control that online contact gives them - which they might not feel if they’re on the phone talking to a stranger about something difficult or unfamiliar.

how we handle initial enquiries and complaints

Our consumer helpline deals with all the initial enquiries we receive. We aim to sort out problems and queries at the earliest possible stage - without the more formal involvement of an adjudicator or ombudsman. Getting things sorted out early can involve:

  • Explaining businesses’ complaint procedures - and how we can step in after eight weeks.
  • Confirming the details of who consumers need to complain to at a business.
  • Reassuring consumers who feel intimidated by the formal process of complaining - and forwarding their complaint to the business if they want us to.
  • Clarifying the role of the ombudsman - and the difference between us and the regulator.
  • Providing the consumer with the facts they need to resolve their problem themselves - including directing them to our website or other online information.
  • Giving our view on the likely outcome of a complaint - based on our experience - which can involve explaining why we think a matter isn’t worth taking further.
  • Offering practical suggestions to both sides on how to sort things out informally - without our formal involvement.
  • Providing impartial guidance on any compensation already on offer.
  • Explaining the rules we have to follow - for example, on time limits for complaining to us.
  • Where we can’t help, suggesting other bodies or ombudsman schemes who might be able to.

what people phoned our consumer helpline about

  %
payment protection insurance (PPI) 33
loans and credit 9
car and motorbike insurance 6
current accounts 6
other insurance - including travel insurance, mobile phone cover, warranties and home emergency cover 4
credit cards 3
household insurance 3
mortgages 3
other banking services 3
mortgage endowments 1
other financial products 5
other problems and concerns that people don’t know where else to take (for example, debt-related worries or confusion about what steps to take if something has gone wrong) 24

During the year we continued to receive a large number of enquiries on our consumer helpline about PPI. However, compared with the previous year these made up a lower proportion of all the enquiries we received. The relative proportions of calls about all other financial products remained broadly similar to those we have seen in previous years.

Interestingly, the one significant growth area in the kinds of calls we were taking on our helpline was “other”. The majority of these calls were from people who were not even close to making a formal complaint, but who were getting in touch with us just to talk through things they were confused or frustrated about in their dealings with financial services.

We see this as an increasingly important part of our work. By getting involved long before things become complaints, we are able to help businesses do more to show their commitment to listening to their customers’ concerns, and to help consumers become more confident and savvy customers.

making it easy to contact us

Both our day-to-day experience and our wider research suggest that certain groups of consumers find complaining more daunting than others.

So although the people who contact our helpline broadly reflect the population as a whole, some consumers are less likely than others to take their complaint further - either with the business involved or by referring it to us.

In particular, younger consumers and people from lower socio-economic groups are generally less likely to make a formal complaint after they contact us initially. We continue to try to deepen our understanding of why this might be - looking, for example, at the financial products involved, and at the different attitudes that people have towards financial matters - and towards complaining in general.

We are committed to removing any barriers that might prevent people from using us. To help make our service as accessible as possible, we have a team of specially-trained casework advisers who can help consumers who might otherwise struggle with the procedures involved in making a complaint. Some of the ways we supported consumers last year are described below.

lonely at Christmas

Shortly before Christmas a man in his eighties called us to say he was having trouble getting a replacement chequebook from his bank. He told our helpline adviser how lovely it was to talk to someone - because it was the first time he’d done so in weeks.

As the conversation went on, we realised that since the death of his wife two years ago, he was struggling with living on his own. He didn’t have any family or a circle of close friends he could turn to for help - and in his own words, he had got himself “into a bit of a pickle”. He only used cheques or cash and hadn’t been able to get to the bank, so he had no money and no food in the house.

The first thing we did was talk to his local bank about his situation. They hadn’t realised just how much he relied on using his chequebook - but as soon as we told them, they sent a temporary chequebook round to his home. With the consumer’s permission, we spoke to his local branch of Age UK - and they took over from there. The next time we spoke to him, Age UK had paid him a visit and were supporting him thorough applying for the home help he was entitled to. He’d also been to number of lunch clubs.

when words aren't enough

A consumer wrote to tell us she had a problem with her insurance company. Her letter didn’t give us much information - and we could tell from the way it was written that it had taken considerable effort to put the situation into words.

In fact, part of the problem seemed to be that the insurance company was telling her she needed to put her claim in writing. The consumer was deaf - and because written English wasn't her first language, she was finding it hard to get across how her car had been damaged.

We sent the consumer a quick message through Text Relay to ask how she'd like to talk to us. Text Relay provides a text-to-voice and voice-to-text translation service. The consumer came back to us straight away and said she’d like to use British Sign Language - and within 15 minutes we were talking to her through a sign language interpreter using a live video link. For the first time, she was able to explain everything that had happened to her.

As soon as the conversation finished, we contacted the insurer to explain the background to the claim - and the difficulty the consumer had experienced in describing the problem. The insurer then contacted the consumer using a similar video link interpreting service and sorted out her simple claim three working days later.

at breaking point

A caller to our helpline told us that he was in the process of putting a payment plan in place with several businesses he owed money to. However, one of the lenders had gone into his account and removed a lump sum of money - which hadn’t left enough for other agreed payments to be made to other lenders.

He'd received a number of calls from these other businesses - who had said they would be “taking action” against him. As the conversation went on, the consumer became increasingly tearful and distressed - and started to talk about not wanting to “be around” any more.

First, our helpline adviser offered to call the consumer back to save him money - as he was using a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. We then encouraged him to describe his situation in a bit more detail. We established that he had tried to set up the payment plan on his own, but was struggling to deal with the increasing demands from the various businesses involved.

We phoned the lender who had taken the large amount of money from the consumer’s account. We explained the impact their actions had had on the consumer and his efforts to pay back all his creditors in a fair way. The business agreed to refund the money - and to contact the consumer the same day to put an interim, lower payment arrangement in place until he'd got himself sorted out.

We called the consumer back to let him know what was going to happen. We offered to put him in touch with one of the charities we work closely with - who could support him through his financial difficulties and debt issues from now on. The consumer called us a couple of weeks later to say: “It may sound corny, but it's thanks to you I've reached a more positive phase in my life".

Our outreach work across the UK with frontline community and advice workers continues to show that some consumers are reluctant to phone us directly. Instead they prefer the support of someone from their community who they know and trust - who can help them through the call.

This is why we work with a wide range of charities and advice agencies, taking part in three-way phone conversations between them, the consumer and us.

There is more information about our access and inclusion work in the chapter called “who complained to us”.

We were set up as an informal alternative to the courts. Part of working informally involves making it easier and more comfortable for people to tell us their side of the story - without feeling confused or intimidated. This doesn’t make us a consumer champion. We are equally concerned about making businesses’ dealings with us as straightforward as possible - by removing unnecessary processes and paperwork as far as we can.

We are always upfront with consumers about our impartiality - and what we can and can’t do. We often explain that we’re not the regulator - and that although we can put things right if a consumer has been treated unfairly, it isn’t our role to “punish” the business.

how people who contacted our consumer helpline first heard about us

  • from a financial business: 23%
  • on the internet: 23%
  • from a friend, relative or colleague: 22%
  • in the media (press and broadcast): 17%
  • from a consumer advice agency (eg Trading Standards or Citizens Advice): 10%
  • from a claims-management company: 3%
  • other and "don't know": 2%

We ask people who contact our helpline how they first heard about us. During the last year we found that consumers were:

  • Slightly more likely than in the previous year to have heard about us in the media.
  • Slightly less likely than in the previous year to have heard about us from a consumer advice agency.

We also find that people we ask at this early stage give different answers to people who have made a formal complaint to us. For example, consumers who contacted our helpline early on were:

  • Over a third less likely to have first heard about the ombudsman from a financial business than consumers who pursue a formal complaint with us ("how consumers with complaints knew about the ombudsman").
  • Almost a fifth more likely to have first heard about us through word of mouth from a friend, relative or colleague.
  • More than twice as likely to have heard about us from a consumer advice agency.

the value of our early involvement

It’s important that if a consumer has a problem, they should feel listened to and know where they stand. Our research shows that during the year:

  • 92% of people who contacted our helpline said we’d clearly explained what would happen next with their complaint.
  • 91% said we showed an interest in their enquiry.
  • 85% felt that the person they spoke to knew enough to answer their questions.

In 2013/2014 - as a result of our focus on sorting things out as early as possible - only around one in five potential complaints raised with our consumer helpline went on to need our formal involvement.

However, we know the story doesn’t end when we don’t hear back from someone. So we continue to try to find out more about what happened next to those consumers who didn’t go on to make a formal complaint to us - after they’d been in touch with our consumer helpline.

Our latest research shows that 45% of these consumers were able to resolve their problem themselves - without needing further help from us. And 98% of these consumers felt our early involvement had helped them do this.

Of the 55% of consumers who hadn’t sorted out their problem, 62% said they were still talking to the business - and might ask us to step in if this didn’t work.

However, 38% of consumers said they had let the issue drop - up from 28% last year. Most of these people said it was because they didn’t think they would achieve anything.

There is more information on what we’ve found out about people’s attitudes to complaining - and the reasons why they sometimes choose not to complain - in the chapter called “who complained to us”.

meeting different needs

We’re a service for everyone - so we will always do our best to meet any particular needs people have. We provide:

  • An instant over-the-phone interpreting service to handle calls in languages other than English.
  • Information on our website in 25 languages.
  • Online video and audio content for people who prefer these formats rather than text.
  • Text Relay services and British Sign Language videos.
  • Information in alternative formats such as large print, Braille and on CD/DVD.

There is more information about our access and inclusion work in the chapter called “who complained to us”.

other languages

UK financial services providers are increasingly international - dealing with customers all over the world. Last year, 2,564 consumers from 112 countries outside the UK brought complaints to us about businesses we cover. And demand for our interpreting and translation services rose again - by 27%.

In 4,484 cases during the year - 0.9% of all those we worked on - we talked to consumers in a language other than English or Welsh. This increased from 3,619 cases in the previous year. In total, we communicated in 50 languages.

languages we worked in other than English and Welsh %
Polish 25.5
Spanish 8
Chinese 7.5
French 6
German 5.5
Portuguese 5.5
Bengali 4.5
Urdu 4
Turkish 3.5
Punjabi 3
Russian 3
Italian 2.5
other European languages 8.5
other languages 13

The five languages we most frequently work in tend to stay the same from year to year - although levels of demand for them can shift. Once again we saw a decrease in requests for Eastern European languages and a corresponding increase in the proportion of casework in Asian languages.

For example, while the proportion of requests to communicate in Polish decreased by 10% this year, the proportion involving Chinese rose by more than a third.

new cases referred to our casework teams

Once a consumer has complained to a business - and tells us they’re not happy with the way things have turned out - we ask them to complete our complaint form. From this, we get the basic details about their complaint - and their permission for us to look into it.

If someone phones our helpline we can guide them through the complaint form there and then - and send it to them to check and return. Once we’ve received a completed complaint form, we check that the complaint is one we can deal with. If it is, we pass it to one of our casework teams to start looking into.

Under the regulator’s complaints-handling rules, businesses have up to eight weeks to send a final response to a consumer’s complaint before the consumer can refer the problem to us. After eight weeks the consumer can ask us to step in - even if the business hasn’t given their response.

In 12% of the complaints we took on formally last year, the businesses involved hadn’t issued a final response within eight weeks. Once again this is an improvement on the previous year - and suggests that businesses are making sustained progress in this area.

We continue to emphasise to financial businesses the importance of handling their customers’ complaints carefully, thoughtfully and promptly - and certainly within the timeframe set by the regulator. This is not just about “compliance”. It is about recognising that handling complaints well is central to good customer service. There is more information about the work we do to support businesses in the chapters called “who complained to us” and “other work we have done”.

% of cases where the business had not sent their customer a final response within eight weeks

year ended 31 March %
2014 12
2013 16
2012 37
2011 40
2010 31

The complaints-handling rules set by the regulator also require businesses to tell a consumer - in their final response - about the consumer’s right to refer the complaint to us if they’re unhappy with the outcome. During the year, 23% of people who contacted our consumer helpline said they heard about the ombudsman service from the business they complained to.

Businesses generally tell their customers about us by sending them our consumer leaflet, your complaint and the ombudsman. Businesses send this leaflet out with their own paperwork, so it is important that the consumer can see it is different from the business’s own documents. During the year we made our leaflet more eye-catching - as well as working on its readability and accessibility in partnership with the disability charity, Shaw Trust.

In 2013/2014 we distributed over a million copies of this leaflet. We charge businesses for bulk supplies - but they can print it for free themselves under licence from us. We provide copies free of charge to consumer advice agencies, libraries and community centres - in a wide range of languages and formats to meet the needs of different communities.

number of new cases

year ended 31 March number of new cases
2014 512,167
2013 508,881
2012 264,375
2011 206,121
2010 163,012
2009 127,471
2008 123,089
2007 94,392
2006 112,923
2005 110,963

During the year the staff on our consumer helpline referred a record 512,167 new cases to our casework teams for investigation - out of the 2,357,374 initial enquiries they received. This is the highest number of cases consumers have referred to us in any year since we were set up in 2000.

However, the unprecedented volumes of PPI complaints we have been receiving have finally started to level off. We saw an increase of just 6% in these complaints - compared with a 140% increase in the previous year (more information about what these complaints were about).

Other trends during the year included:

  • An increase in the number of complaints about payday loans (up 46%) - and more than triple the number of complaints about “packaged” bank accounts.
  • Fewer complaints about credit cards (down 47%) and unsecured loans (down 19%).
  • Complaints about investments and insurance remaining at broadly similar levels to the last two years.

the most complained-about financial products since we were set up

  %
payment protection insurance (PPI) 46
mortgage endowments 13
bank and creditcard charges 2
other financial products 39

Since we were set up in 2000 consumers have referred a total of 2,458,142 cases to us - of which 61% have involved just three issues:

  • mortgage endowments
  • bank and credit card charges
  • PPI

In April 2013 we received our two millionth case. Six months later we received our millionth PPI complaint.

how PPI complaints were brought to us

  %
complaints made on behalf of consumers by commercial claims-management companies 72
complaints made by consumers themselves 24.5
complaints made on behalf of consumers by professionals (eg lawyers and accountants) 2
complaints made on behalf of consumers by friends and family 1
complaints made on behalf of consumers by free consumer advice agencies (eg Trading Standards and Citizens Advice) 0.5
complaints made by smaller businesses 0

how complaints other than PPI were brought to us

  %
complaints made by consumers themselves 76.5
complaints made on behalf of consumers by commercial claims-management companies 8.5
complaints made on behalf of consumers by friends and family 7
complaints made by smaller businesses 3.5
complaints made on behalf of consumers by free consumer advice agencies (eg Trading Standards and Citizens Advice) 3
complaints made on behalf of consumers by professionals (eg lawyers and accountants) 1.5

For complaints involving financial products other than PPI, more than three quarters of the cases were brought by the consumers themselves. In a small number of cases consumers asked someone else to represent them. These representatives were usually a friend or family member, or a representative from a wide range of consumer support organisations - including Citizens Advice and local charities.

For complaints involving PPI, however, a significant proportion of cases were brought to us by claims-management companies. There is more information about claims-management companies later in this annual review.

complaints from smaller businesses

complaints from smaller businesses %
banking complaints 71
insurance complaints (excluding PPI) 18
payment protection insurance (PPI) 7
investment complaints 4

We can look into complaints made by “micro-enterprises” - a European Union term describing smaller businesses with annual turnovers of up to two million euros and fewer than ten employees.

During the year we received slightly fewer complaints from smaller businesses - 4,469 compared with 4,526 in the previous year.

However, sole traders and small business owners don’t always register their complaint as a business dispute - perhaps feeling that the issues are personal rather than commercial. This is reflected in the fact that the proportion of people who complained to us who said they were self-employed or ran their own business - 13% of the consumers who complained to us - was once again far higher than the 1% of complaints formally registered with us as a business dispute.

We continued to see a wide range of products involved in complaints from smaller businesses. This included:

  • 274 complaints about business protection.
  • 225 disputes about business banking charges.
  • 135 complaints about interest-rate hedging products sold by banks.

As in previous years, we continued to promote smaller businesses’ understanding of how we can help with commercial disputes involving financial services. To do this, we worked with trade associations and networks (including our own smaller businesses forum), and we featured in a very wide range of specialist business-to-business publications.

types of complaint referred by claims-management companies

  %
payment protection insurance (PPI) 97
credit card complaints 1
other types of complaint (including investments, current accounts and mortgages) 2

After falling last year, it is disappointing that the proportion of complaints brought to us by claims managers increased during 2013/2014. This reflects the high volume of PPI cases we received during the year.

% of PPI cases referred by claims-management companies

year ended 31 March %
2014 72
2013 57
2012 69
2011 76
2010 66
2009 51

72% of the 399,939 new PPI cases during the year were brought by claims-management companies (57% during the previous year).

We have continued to tell consumers that they don’t need the help of a claims-management company to bring us a complaint. We look at the facts, not at how “professionally” a case is presented to us - and we prefer to hear from people in their own words.

We do everything we can to make our service as straightforward as possible to use. And once again this year, we found no evidence that complaints brought by a claims manager were any more likely to be upheld.

Ten claims-management companies accounted for 40% of the cases we handled during the year where consumers were represented by this type of company. The other 60% of cases involved around 500 other claims-management companies.

We sometimes have to explain to consumers that we can’t look into complaints about claims-management companies. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that this will become the responsibility of the Legal Ombudsman at some point during 2014.

However, we do everything we can to make sure that claims managers understand how we work - so that our dealings with them are as efficient as possible, and so that their involvement doesn’t hinder the progress of consumers’ complaints. For example, in July 2013 we hosted a conference for the largest claims-management companies to make clear our approach to PPI complaints.

We work closely with the claims-management regulator (part of the Ministry of Justice) and we pass information onto them about poor practice we are seeing in the sector.

There is more information about our work with other regulators in the chapter called “other work we have done”.