We publish complaints data on financial products and services every quarter and updates on business complaints data every six months. Our quarterly updates on financial products and services include the number of enquiries and new cases we received, the number of complaints passed to an ombudsman for a final decision, and the proportion of complaints resolved in favour of customers. From Q1 2020/21 we have been using a new product taxonomy: find out about the changes we’ve made.
Overview of the complaints received between October and December (Q3) 2020
Between October and December 2020, we continued to see the wide-ranging impact of Covid-19 on people’s lives and their finances, with individuals and small business customers getting in touch to complain about problems they couldn’t resolve with the business involved.
We continued to see an increase in complaints from people who borrowed money and who then felt the debt was unaffordable. At the same time, complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI) continued a downward trend, following the FCA’s complaints deadline in August 2019. For the first time since mis-selling complaints began to be referred to us in mass volumes a decade ago, PPI isn’t the most complained-about product in our quarterly financial product data.
Consumer enquiries: 112,845
5% fewer than in Q2 2020/21 (119,214) and 42% fewer than Q3 2019/20 (195,851)
New complaints: 72,498
5% higher than Q2 2020/21 (68,735) and 13% fewer than Q3 2019/20 (83,754)
Referrals to an ombudsman: 9,245
0.4% higher than Q2 2020/21 (9,204) and 1% more than Q3 2019/20 (9,160)
Uphold rate excluding PPI: 39%
two percentage points lower than in Q2 2020/21 (41%) and 5 percentage points lower than Q3 2019/20 (44%)
Uphold rate including PPI: 28%
four percentage points lower than Q2 2020/21 (32%) and 6 percentage points lower than Q3 2019/20 (34%)
Highest uphold rate: Home credit – 84%
Most complained-about product: Guarantor loans – 10,321
New complaints from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): 304
25% fewer than Q2 2020/21 (391) and 23% higher than Q3 2019/20 (247)
Our Q3 2020/21 trends in more detail
- Complaints across most credit products continued to rise in Q3. The most complained about issue was about consumers who told us they could no longer afford borrowing they’d previously taken out, and in some cases that the borrowing had never been affordable for them in the first place. This is particularly the case for high-cost short-term credit.
- We’ve continued to see high uphold rates across credit products where we see the most complaints about unaffordable lending. These high levels of detriment may be a factor in the level of claims management company (CMC) activity in the complaints about credit products brought to our service. CMCs are involved in more than half of the complaints (54%) about credit products we see, compared with an average of just over a third of complaints (35%) in our casework as a whole.
- The rules and guidance around lending and supporting people in financial difficulty are well-established – and we are actively engaging with lenders to ensure that they’re responding effectively and fairly to their customers’ concerns. We provide a range of resources to help lenders do this, including information about our approach to resolving cases and a database of ombudsmen’s decisions.
- Complaints about business protection insurance decreased by just over a third (33%) in Q3 compared to Q2 as insurers and businesses waited for the result of the FCA’s test case. In January, the Supreme Court handed down a judgment which provided clarity on policy wordings relevant to some business protection insurance complaints and since then we are starting to see an increase in cases.
- To help consumers and businesses resolve and prevent complaints relating to Covid-19, we’ve published a range of resources on our website for both consumers and businesses.
In each release of quarterly data (about both financial products and relating to complaints about claims management companies), we publish the number of new enquiries and new complaints received in the period, together with the number of ombudsman referrals and the percentage of cases upheld in favour of the customer.
From the Q1 2020/21 releases, we changed the threshold for our reporting on the number of new complaints received. In previous releases, we published data where our service had received at least 30 new complaints about a product or service in the relevant reporting period. From Q1 2020/21, we reduced this threshold to the receipt of at least 10 new complaints, to increase the granularity of insight we’re able to offer stakeholders about complaints trends. Products and services where we have received at least one, but fewer than 10 new complaints, will be denoted as “<10”.
We have also taken the opportunity to update our criteria for publishing uphold rates. Previously, we published the percentage of cases upheld in favour of the customer where we had both received 30 new complaints and resolved 30 complaints (excluding those we dismissed or decided were outside our jurisdiction) about a product or service in the relevant period. From Q1 2020/21, we will publish the uphold rate where we have resolved 30 or more complaints about the relevant product or service in the period – we will no longer apply a threshold relating to the receipt of new complaints when giving uphold rate data.