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stronger consumer voice sees half a million people bring disputes

ombudsman service publishes annual review of personal finance disputes

29 May 2013

The Financial Ombudsman Service - the independent organisation that settles disputes between consumers and financial businesses - today published its annual review of 2012/2013.

During the year:

  • The ombudsman received over 2 million enquiries and complaints from consumers - over 7,000 each working day.
  • Tackled a record 508,881 new cases - an increase of 92% compared to last year.
  • Payment protection insurance (PPI) made up 74% of all cases, with the number of PPI cases rising to 378,699 - more than double the previous year.
  • A quarter of people who use our service are now over 65 - double the proportion four years ago.

Looking at the trends and themes behind these figures, Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman, reflected:

We have seen a much stronger consumer voice in the last year - with people becoming more aware of their rights and less willing to put up with poor customer service.
As levels of confidence in financial services have eroded, it is disappointing that we still haven't seen any significant improvement in complaints handling. Too many financial businesses still seem unable to sort out problems themselves, without the ombudsman having to get involved.
With complaint numbers doubling, this has been another challenging year for the ombudsman. And if customer dissatisfaction remains at these record levels, the challenges we face are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Statistics from the ombudsman's annual review show:

  • 16% of people across the UK said they'd had a problem with a financial product or service.
  • Four of the UK's largest banking groups accounted for 62% of all complaints we received, up from 52% last year.
  • One in four of the initial enquiries we received went on to become a formal dispute - compared to one in five in the previous two years.
  • The ombudsman's involvement resulted in compensation for consumers in 49% of cases.
  • More consumers are realising they don't need to pay someone to make a complaint on their behalf - with a 12% reduction in the number of PPI complaints brought to us by claims managers.
  • People from Bristol were the most likely to phone us and consumers from the North East the most likely to complain about PPI.
  • A fifth of people who brought a complaint to the ombudsman said they had a disability.
  • 73% of people surveyed said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service, and 71% said they trusted the organisation.

our annual review

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