Saturday, 24 May 2014

Record numbers of disputes – as people look for honest answers

Sent: 20 May 2014 19:53
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: record numbers of disputes – as people look for honest answers

Dear Mr Jones,

The Financial Ombudsman Service – the independent organisation that settles disputes between consumers and financial businesses – today published its annual review of 2013/2014.

I thought you might be interested in some of the key facts and figures, which I've pulled out below or if you'd rather watch the video, you can find it here.

During the year:

· We handled over 2.3 million initial enquiries and complaints from consumers – 40,000 every week. This is a 9% increase on the enquiries we received last year. Almost a quarter of the enquiries we received were about general financial problems and concerns – and weren't product-specific.

· Around one in five initial enquiries turned into a formal dispute – a record 512,167 new complaints. We settled a record 518,778 disputes – which is more than double the amount of disputes settled last year. In 58% of the cases we resolved we found in the consumer's favour.

· Four of the UK's largest banking groups accounted for 63% of all complaints we received.

· Payment protection insurance (PPI) made up 78% of all cases, with the number of PPI complaints rising 6% to 399,939. Other than PPI, we resolved seven out of ten (71%) complaints within six months.

· People from Widnes were the most likely to phone us and consumers from the North East more likely to complain about PPI.

· We handled 601 parliamentary enquiries – and answered over 30 ministerial questions. We hosted 45 training days across the UK for community advice workers and for businesses who we received few (if any) complaints about.

· 77% of people surveyed said they were aware of the ombudsman service and 70% said they trusted the organisation.

You can find the full review online.

There are early indications that some businesses seem to have begun to make a positive change to the way they treat consumers with a problem. However, trust in financial services continues to be very low. But by providing upfront and honest answers, to what are often difficult questions, we have helped people make sense of things and feel that their concerns have been listened too.

If you have any questions about information in the annual review – or about the ombudsman service more generally – please get in touch.

Many thanks Emma