Articles - Ombudsman releases complaints data on financial businesses


Ombudsman releases latest complaints data on individual financial businesses

 The Financial Ombudsman Service today releases its latest set of six-monthly complaints data relating to individual financial businesses - including banks, insurance companies and investment firms.

 The data published today on the ombudsman's website covers consumer complaints handled by the ombudsman service between 1 January and 30 June 2011. The data includes both the number of complaints received about individual businesses and the percentage of complaints the ombudsman service upheld in favour of consumers.

 During this six-month period, the ombudsman service received a total of 149,925 new complaints - an increase of 54% on the 97,237 cases received in the second half of 2010. Of the data published, 98,632 cases related to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). 93% of the total number of cases involved 157 financial businesses (out of more than 100,000 businesses covered by the ombudsman).

 The number of new complaints about each of these individual businesses ranged from 30 to 19,569. Five financial businesses each had more than 10,000 complaints referred to the ombudsman service, which together accounted for 72,026 cases - just under half of all the new complaints the ombudsman received during this six-month period.

 The data published today shows that in the first half of 2011 the ombudsman service upheld an average of 47% of complaints in favour of consumers, compared to 53% in the second half of 2010. The decrease in the uphold rate reflects the impact of the legal challenge brought on behalf of some high street banks against the ombudsman service and the FSA earlier in the year. Across the 157 individual businesses included in the complaints data, the uphold rates varied substantially between 2% and 98% upheld in favour of consumers.

 Natalie Ceeney, chief executive and chief ombudsman, said:

 These latest figures show a significant increase in the number of new PPI complaints referred to the ombudsman during the first half of 2011. This period coincided with the time when most of the high street banks and some other financial businesses had put PPI complaints on hold, because of their legal challenge against the ombudsman service and FSA.

 As a result, complaints in this period about PPI were harder fought, and harder to resolve - particularly if we found in favour of a consumer. This data therefore gives only a partial view on the cases which we were working to resolve over this period.

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