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ombudsman news


featuring questions raised recently with our free, expert helpline for businesses and advice workers

I’ve seen your online video about a Viking. What’s that got to do with financial services?

According to our research, one in five people can name us - unprompted - as the people they can come to if they’ve got a problem with a financial business. And around half say they recognise our name when they’re told it.

That means there are people who’ve heard the word “ombudsman” - but aren’t sure what it means. And there are some people who haven’t heard it at all. It’s important we try to change this - so that everyone knows that, if something goes wrong, there’s an independent, unbiased organisation that can help. Not just for problems with money, but with other products and services too.

One way we raise awareness of ombudsmen is using Hakon, our Viking, to explain the meaning of the old Norse word ombudsman - and how we and other “alternative dispute resolution” providers can help people sort out complaints and concerns. More than 150,000 people have watched the video so far.

Will you publish a decision even if someone asks you not to?

We’ve always shared our approach to complaints - through ombudsman news, our outreach work, and our online technical resource. But from April 2013, we’ve been required by law to publish all our final decisions. Since then, we’ve published more than 50,000 ombudsmen decisions on our website.

We let people know when they first complain to us that if their complaint is escalated all the way to an ombudsman, the decision will be published. The only time we may decide not to publish a particular decision is if it could be easily identified - or if for some reason it would be inappropriate to do so. We’re very rarely asked not to publish a decision - but we’ll always look into any concerns a business or consumer might have.

I haven’t received quite as many calls about PPI recently. Does that mean it’s all over?

We’re definitely seeing fewer complaints about PPI. We’re now receiving around 4,000 each week - compared with a peak of 12,000.

By March next year, we think we’ll have around 180,000 PPI cases outstanding. Despite the strong headway we continue to make into resolving these cases, that’s still a lot of complaints. So the fallout from PPI mis-selling is far from over - and we expect to be sorting it out for a few years yet.

We know many things have an impact on the number and type of complaints that reach us - from claims manager activity and media coverage, to changes in the rules and how businesses handle complaints in-house. So we have to factor in a lot of uncertainty when we’re forecasting what we’ll be seeing in the future.

We’ve recently set out our plans for the year ahead in our plans and budget consultation - which you can find on our website, along with details of how to give your views.

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ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.