The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today published figures revealing 2.9 million consumer complaints were made to financial services firms during the first half of 2013.
While remaining at high levels, these figures mark a decrease of around 500,000 complaints since the second half of 2012 – when a massive 3.4 million complaints were logged – the highest since the government started publishing the data in 2006.
Most complained about providers
The five most complained about firms, in order, were Barclays Bank, Lloyds TSB, MBNA, Bank of Scotland and Santander. These companies received between them almost half (1.3 million) of all reported complaints between January and June 2013.
The most complained-about products were payment protection insurance (61% of complaints), general insurance such as car, home and travel insurance (11%), current accounts (10%), credit cards (6%) and savings (3%). Firms have reported paying out £2.55 billion in compensation over the period.
Financial Ombudsman figures still increasing
While firms have reported a decrease in overall complaints between this year and the last, complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service have increased by 179% between the first quarter of this financial year (159,197 complaints) and that of 2012-13 (57,076).
Still far too high
Responding to complaints data issued by the FCA, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Although the number of complaints to banks are falling, which is welcome, the figures are still far too high and appeals to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service continue to increase.
‘We want the banks to deal with complaints swiftly and fairly and to explain what steps they are taking to stop the same problems occurring in the future. We hope the introduction of the new faster switching guarantee will force banks to compete for customers, improve their customer service and offer better products.’