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ombudsman service publishes annual review of personal finance disputes

4 July 2006

The Financial Ombudsman Service - the impartial organisation that settles disputes between businesses providing financial services and their customers - today publishes its annual review for 2005/06. The review shows that during the year the service:

  • Resolved 119,432 financial disputes - a 31% annual increase (following an 18% rise in the previous year).
  • Saw banking complaints go up by a third, insurance complaints go up by a quarter, and complaints about investments (other than mortgage endowments) fall by 18%.
  • Handled 69,149 complaints about mortgage endowments (over 250 each working day – 61% of all new cases, a similar level to the previous year).
  • ... At the other end of the scale, dealt with 76 complaints about caravan insurance and 36 about spread-betting.
  • Received complaints about 1 in 5 of all businesses covered by the ombudsman – with half of the disputes relating to 12 of the largest financial services groups.

Commenting on these figures, chief ombudsman Walter Merricks said:

Among the many trends, developments and statistics in the review, there are two events of particular significance. First, we appear at last to be seeing some signs of a levelling-off of the exceptionally high volumes of mortgage endowment complaints that have dominated our workload in recent years. Second, we succeeded during the year in settling a record number of disputes – a third more than in the previous year and more than double the number resolved three years ago. In part, this achievement reflects our investment in resources, processes and planning. But more particularly it reflects the continued hard work and commitment of our staff that – together with our stakeholders’ goodwill and support – underpins the public service we provide.

notes for editors

The Financial Ombudsman Service was set up by law to help consumers settle unresolved disputes with insurance and investment firms, financial advisers, banks and building societies. Complaints covered by the ombudsman service range from travel insurance and pension plans to mortgages and savings accounts. The Financial Ombudsman Service can step in to help resolve disputes where the consumer has already complained to the financial services business and remains dissatisfied. Consumers with an unresolved complaint can get in touch with the ombudsman service on 0845 080 1800.

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