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. The way we categorised complaints changed in Q1 2020/21, when we updated our taxonomy.
For information on the complaints we received about claims management companies (CMCs), please see our CMC quarterly data.
In the first three months of 2021/22 the total number of complaints we received dropped by just over a third compared to the last three months of 2020/21, in line with the forecasts we made at the start of the year.
Between April and June 2021, the product we received the most complaints about was current accounts, followed by credit cards. Complaints about these products have levelled off slightly, having increased steadily over 2020/21. Previously, we saw larger numbers of complaints relating to consumers’ claims for refunds under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and the chargeback process, as well as businesses’ administration and customer service.
A substantial proportion of the complaints we received about current accounts came from victims of fraud and scams. We have also begun to see fraud and scams complaints involving investments in fake cryptocurrencies, which are often advertised on social media.
Following heightened levels of complaints about historic unaffordable lending in 2020/21, we have taken on fewer new cases relating to this issue between April and June.
In view of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on individual consumers and small businesses, we are reminding financial providers to ensure they are responding effectively and fairly to their customers’ complaints.
New enquiries: 77,208
New complaints: 50,906
Referrals to an ombudsman: 7,614
Uphold rate excluding PPI: 38%
Uphold rate including PPI: 35%
Highest uphold rate: Logbook loans – 71%
Most complained-about product: Current accounts – 6,911
New complaints from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): 391 (included in totals above)
Our Q1 2021/22 trends in more detail
- Over half the complaints about current accounts, the most complained-about product this quarter, relate to fraud and scams. This year we received 5,025 cases compared with 3,028 in the same period during the previous year. Find out more about our approach to complaints involving fraud and scams, including case studies which outline our approach.
- We have continued to see complaints arising from consumers’ unhappiness with financial businesses’ decisions not to refund money they have lost as part of a scam, even where the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) Code applies. In Q1 we received around 2,500 complaints about authorised fraud – and we upheld three quarters in the consumers’ favour. The uphold rate for total fraud and scam complaints in Q1 was 60%, compared with 50% the previous years.
- Although most activities relating to cryptocurrencies are not in our jurisdiction, we have started to see them feature in complaints involving fraud and scams, with many linked to scam investments. As Action Fraud has commented, the rise in online fraud and scams may not be surprising in the context of the increasing amount of everyday life that has been spent online over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
- In 2020/21 we saw a substantial increase in complaints linked to borrowing and high-cost credit, with the vast majority about guarantor loans and home credit. These complaints are typically linked to historic lending, with consumers concerned they were lent money they never could have afforded to repay.
- In the first three months of this financial year, complaints about affordable lending fell from the significant volumes we saw last financial year – and those about guarantor loans and home credit have declined following announcements from two of the biggest firms that they were applying for schemes of arrangement. Even so, in Q1 we still received just over five thousand new complaints about historic affordable lending, showing this remains an important issue across the wider industry.
- We work closely with the FCA to ensure a coordinated approach to addressing consumer detriment in this area and 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.
- We’ve continued to see high uphold rates across credit products where we see the most complaints about unaffordable lending. Reflecting this in Q1 2021/22 complaints about logbook loans had the highest uphold rate at 71%. Whilst we see relatively low numbers, the majority of complaints about logbook loans relate to affordable lending. You can find information for consumers and for financial businesses about our approach to complaints about logbook loans.
- We have seen a decline in complaints about products directly relating to the pandemic: for example, business interruption insurance (BII) complaints continue to decrease following the Supreme Court judgment in January 2021 providing clarity on policy wordings relevant to some complaints. Similarly, complaints about the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) have fallen, as many of the complaints we received previously related to lending decisions from banks in the early stages of the pandemic.
- The number of new complaints about travel insurance fell by 59% between Q4 2020/21 and Q1 2021/22. Despite the quarter-on-quarter fall, the particular vulnerability of travel to future waves of the pandemic means it is possible we may see complaints in this area increase again in the future.
- It’s likely that we will continue to see complaints arising from the impact of Covid-19 on people’s financial lives, including those linked to changes in Covid-19-related support for consumers, and firms’ treatment of customers in financial difficulties. This includes complaints from SME customers relating to business lending and the recoveries that have started to happen. To help consumers and businesses resolve and prevent complaints relating to Covid-19, we’ll continue to update and publish 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.