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Revealed: your chances of making a successful financial complaint

See how many complaints to your bank have gone in customers' favour by using our free tool

Complaints

Saga, Nationwide and Tesco are the best financial brands for dealing with complaints, according to Which? research. We delve behind the data to determine your chances of making a successful complaint.

Our research has previously suggested that you’re much more likely to recommend a brand that was excellent at handling a complaint than one you’ve never had a problem with.

But when you complain to a bank or insurer, what’s the chance you’ll get the outcome you want? Fortunately for consumers, now almost two-thirds (61%) of complaints to financial companies are successful.

However, we’ve found big variations from company to company, with success rates ranging from 2% to 94% depending on who you complain to.

In this article, we look at:

  • The best and worst brands for complaints
  • Your chances of a successful outcome
  • How to make a complaint

Which banks were best and worst for complaints?

Last week, we revealed the best and worst financial brands. We combined data from our own customer satisfaction scores with data on complaints from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for the second half of 2016. Our ranking shows which companies have the best track record on responding to consumer complaints.

While Nationwide was named our best financial brand of 2017 overall, Saga topped our complaints ranking with 85%, followed by Nationwide and Tesco Bank on 84% and 80%.

However, our results made unpleasant reading for many of the big high street banks: Barclays, RBS, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and HSBC were all in the bottom half for complaints scores, while Lloyds (57%) was tied at the bottom with Danske Bank.

We’ve included the results of our analysis in the table below. For each category, a high score equals a good complaints record – so if a brand received a high volume of complaints, we’ve given it a low score.

You can use the search bar to see how your bank or insurer did, or sort by the columns to find the best and worst companies for complaints:

You can see the full results, including customer satisfaction scores, in last week’s story or by looking at the larger table here.

  • Check out our guide on taking a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

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What’s my chance of filing a successful complaint?

As well as ranking providers according to their complaints handling, we looked at how your chance of a successful complaint changes between companies.

On average, if you make a complaint to your bank or insurer, there’s a 61% chance of it going in your favour.

However, complain to Danske Bank, and there’s only an 18% chance your complaint will be successful – while with Lloyds, that figure is 77%.

Similar variations can be found when looking at complaints that have been escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

While 36% of all FOS complaints result in a decision in favour of the consumer, 72% of Aviva cases went in favour of the consumer – compared with just 4% of complaints to Coventry Building Society.

To see your chances of making a successful complaint – and find out what other customers are complaining about – enter your bank or insurer in our tool below.

Due to the way the FCA published its most recent data, we’ve been unable to provide complaints rates per 1,000 customers for some companies.

  • Change banks in seven days: read our guide on the current account switching service

How to make a financial complaint

If you’ve experienced poor service or you bank has made a mistake, don’t be afraid to complain. Across all brands, FOS complaints were resolved in favour of the consumer in more than a third of cases.

  1. Firstly, complain directly to your financial services provider, explaining the problem and what action you want it to take. You should give eight weeks for a response.
  2. If you don’t receive a response or the resolution you want within this time, ask for a ‘final response letter’ to show you’ve done all you can to resolve it.
  3. Within six months of receiving this letter, contact the FOS either over the phone on 0800 023 4567 or through the online complaints form.
  4. The FOS will look at all evidence provided. Once it’s made its decision, it will write to you and the company.
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