Banks generate thousands of new complaintsFinancial Ombudsman reveals latest figures

25 February 2010

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It's free to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you've reached deadlock with your bank

The number of new cases reviewed by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) rose by 18% in a six-month period. 

Banks dominate complaints table

Banks continue to generate a high number of cases. In the six-month period from July to December 2009, 9,952 new complaints were received against Lloyds TSB, 9,836 against Barclays and 7,349 against Bank of Scotland. Similar numbers were reported by FOS for the first half of the year. 

Breaking down new complaints against the banks by category, FOS revealed that a high percentage related to general insurance. This includes payment protection insurance (PPI). For Black Horse, a subsidiary of Lloyds, 82% of new complaints fell into this category, for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) it was 66% and for Lloyds TSB 49%. The proportion of insurance complaints was 26% for Barclays.   

Insurance claims upheld

Reporting the number of consumer complaints it upheld in the last six months of 2009, FOS revealed some astonishingly high figures for insurance claims against banks. For National Westminster the rate was 77%, HSBC and RBS 79%, Lloyds TSB 89%, Northern Rock 92%, Black Horse 94%, Barclays and The Co-operative Bank 96%. For MBNA it was 99%.

Commenting on the new figures, David Thomas, interim chief ombudsman, said: 'The data we have released today clearly shows that some businesses still need to do more to ensure that they deal with their customers’ complaints effectively and fairly – so that consumers do not then need to escalate their dissatisfaction to the ombudsman.'

PPI problems continue

From the high number of new cases, and high rates for complaints upheld, it is clear that consumers are still struggling to obtain redress for payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling. Banks and other providers seem reluctant to settle disputes with their customers are continue to escalate cases to the FOS. 

Reflecting on this practice, Lucy Widenka, Personal Finance Campaigner at Which? says: 'It is astounding that complaints to banks are still not being handled appropriately. These figures should give any consumers who feel they have been mis-sold PPI the impetus to take their complaint to their bank, and pursue it through FOS if they are still unhappy with the response they get. Consumers have managed to get thousands of pounds back using our free on-line PPI complaints tool, so I would urge anyone who feels they have been mis-sold to take a look at our website and get the compensation they are entitled to.'

Which? advice    

Anyone who thinks they might have been mis-sold PPI and wants to make a claim against their lender can find advice guides and our on-line complaints tool on the Which? website. We have campaigned on this issue for many years and have a wealth of experience in helping consumers fight their corner.

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