The Financial Ombudsman Service received over 270,000 new complaints about financial businesses in the 2019/20 financial year, new figures published today show.

PPI remained the most complained about product, with over 122,000 complaints about PPI received by the service, including a spike in complaints following the FCA’s August deadline for consumers to complain to businesses about PPI.

There were year-on-year increases in the number of complaints about instalment loans (10,880 complaints received in 2019/20), guarantor loans (1,043 complaints received in 2019/20) and point of sale loans (4,667 complaints received in 2019/20).

Overall in 2019/20 the Financial Ombudsman Service received fewer complaints than in the 2018/19 financial year. This was mainly due to a reduction in the number of complaints about PPI and short-term lending.

The headline figures from the 2019/20 annual data, published today (3 June), are as follows:

  • 271,468 new complaints received (388,392 in 2018/19)
  • 122,153 PPI complaints received (180,507 in 2018/19)
  • 295,596 complaints resolved (376,352 resolved in 2018/19)
  • 32% of complaints were upheld in favour of the consumer (28% in 2018/19)

The Financial Ombudsman Service has today also published its future strategy, ‘Contributing to a fairer financial world’. The strategy, which will run to 2025, sets out three strategic priorities for the service:

  • Enhancing the service.
  • Preventing complaints and unfairness arising.
  • Building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future.

The strategy document details a series of success measures against which progress will be judged.

Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service, said:

“This year the Financial Ombudsman Service resolved well over a quarter of a million complaints. Each one of those involved a question of fairness, and someone whose life had been disrupted because of a financial dispute.

“The fundamentals of good customer service, and good complaint handling, are constant, and the majority of financial businesses know this. However, some businesses still need to put fairness first in how they handle customer complaints. A key part of our work in the future will be to proactively prevent complaints, to stop unfairness arising in the first place.

The unprecedented Covid-19 situation has already given rise to many new and complex questions of fairness when things go wrong in financial arrangements. If customers are unhappy with how a financial business has treated them, they can come to the Financial Ombudsman Service for free, and we will see if we can help.”

The annual complaints data analysis is available here.

‘Contributing to a fairer financial world’ is available here.

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