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over a million enquiries and more than 200,000 disputes ...

ombudsman service publishes annual review of personal finance disputes

18 May 2011

The Financial Ombudsman Service - the independent organisation that settles disputes between consumers and financial companies - today publishes its annual review covering the 2010/11 financial year. The review shows that during the year:

  • the ombudsman handled over a million front-line enquiries and complaints from consumers - around 4,000 each working day
  • around 1 in 5 of the initial consumer enquiries we received turned into a formal dispute requiring the involvement of our adjudicators and ombudsman - a record 206,121 new cases, up 26% on the previous year
  • 51% of the new cases were about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI) with the number more than doubling to 104,597 - the highest number ever received in a year about a single financial product

Natalie Ceeney, chief executive and chief ombudsman, said:

This year has been the busiest in our ten-year history - with over 200,000 disputes referred to us and a million front-line enquiries. This reflects the increased confidence of an ever more diverse range of consumers getting in touch about a wider range of problems and issues.

Aside from PPI cases, over the year we've seen encouraging signs of improvements in the way that some businesses are handling complaints - and it's good to see that the number of disputes about some other financial products has now started to fall.

Statistics from the ombudsman's annual review show:

  • the number of investment complaints dropped by 30% and banking complaints fell by 9%
  • the ombudsman resolved almost half of all disputes (apart from PPI) in three months and three quarters within six months
  • the ombudsman's involvement resulted in compensation for consumers in 51% of cases
  • complaints about consumer credit, travel insurance and motor insurance increased, while complaints about health insurance, current accounts and home contents insurance fell
  • half of the total number of disputes referred to the ombudsman service involved four of the UK's largest financial services groups - while 2,131 businesses had just one complaint each
  • 78% of adults said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service - with awareness of the ombudsman highest in the Wales and lowest in Northern Ireland

our annual review

media enquiries

  • press office – phone 020 7964 1234

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