The UK’s financial services complaints body, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), has today published for the first time complaints data relating to individual companies, including banks, insurance companies and investment firms.
The data includes the number of complaints received for each business, together with the percentage of complaints upheld by the ombudsman service in favour of consumers.
Naming and shaming is victory for consumers, says Which?
Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, says: ‘Naming and shaming these companies is a victory for consumers but humiliating for the industry, who have had five years to get their houses in order. We’d now like to see the financial sector going further and publishing more data, particularly on brand names and product types.
‘Over half of the complaints to FOS are upheld in favour of the consumer; they should have been dealt with by providers’ internal procedures before reaching that point.’
Nearly 70,000 complaints received in 6 months
The data published today on the ombudsman’s website covers consumer complaints handled by the ombudsman service between 1 January and 30 June 2009. During this six-month period, the ombudsman service received a total of 69,841 new complaints – of which 87% related to 142 financial businesses (out of more than 100,000 businesses covered by the ombudsman).
The data published today shows that the ombudsman service upheld an average of 59% of complaints in favour of consumers. Across the 142 individual businesses included in the complaints data, this uphold rate varied substantially between 11% and 95%.
The ombudsman service upheld 61% of banking-related complaints, 41% of mortgage complaints, 70% of general-insurance complaints and 42% of investment-related complaints.
‘No improvement by the worse-performing businesses’
Walter Merricks FOS chief ombudsman, explained: ‘The data shows that some businesses are much better, and some much worse, at complaints handling. We have already been providing comparative complaints data on a private basis to the larger financial businesses – but this has led to no improvement in the standard of complaints handling by the worse-performing businesses.
‘I believe that putting this information into the open will now give those worse-performing businesses vital encouragement to improve – which should mean fewer of their customers having to bring unresolved complaints to the ombudsman.’
More details about FOS complaints
For more details on the individual companies named as worst for complaints, read our news story ‘Financial Ombudsman names and shames‘. For more details on banking reform, visit the Which? campaigns webpages.
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