Financial complaints - new name and shame dealOmbudsman to name and shame financial failures

27 September 2008

Consumers may soon be able see which financial companies generate the most complaints from customers. 

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has announced plans to publish complaint numbers for 150 financial businesses that produce the most cases, as well as the percentage of upheld complaints.

The FOS is proposing to publish the information twice a year. 

It is now calling for opinions on practical issues such as how best to show data for businesses that operate under various trading names, verify data on the outcome of complaints and what period it should cover.

The move follows recommendations in the Hunt Review that called for greater transparency in complaints-handling, including publishing publicly available information about how individual financial businesses deal with complaints.

Name and shame scheme falls short

While welcoming the idea in general and looking forward to a period of consultation, Which? has some reservations about the proposed plans. We have reiterated that the complaints information needs to be presented 'in a way that consumers can best understand it.'

Vera Cottrell, principle policy adviser at Which?, commented: 'We welcome the whole idea of more transparency in principle, but the proposals fall short of what we asked for. 

'Our main concerns are that there won't be any differentiation between brands belonging to the same license holder and there will also not be any product specific data.'

It may be that a provider is very poor on one area, currents accounts say, but offers a good service on savings, and Which? would be concerned if the consultation resulted in a service that failed to provide complaints data that drills down to this level to be of use to the consumer.