Worst banks for complaints revealed
Just five banking groups accounted for more than half of the complaints made against financial firms in the first six months of the year, new data today reveals.
Lloyds Banking Group racked up the largest number of new complaints, closely followed by Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Abbey and HSBC.
This is the first time complaints data relating to individual firms has been published.
The Financial Ombudsman Service received a total of 69,841 new complaints from consumers between 1 January and 30 June,, of which 87% related to 142 firms. More than 38,000 cases related to just five banking groups.
The Ombudsman, which acts as an independent adjudicator between consumers and financial firms, says it will now write to the firms that generate the most complaints. It will want to know why these firms reject so many complaints in the first instance. Earlier this year, the Ombudsman accused firms of fobbing off customers who complain about poor service rather than deal with their gripes properly.
“The complaints data we are publishing for the first time will help people to see how the financial businesses that are responsible for nine tenths of the Ombudsman's workload deal with customer complaints,” says Walter Merricks, the outgoing chief ombudsman. “The data shows that some businesses are much better, and some much worse, at complaints handling.”
An average of 59% of complaints were upheld by the Ombudsman in favour of consumers, with some firms having 95% of complaints made against them upheld. Black Horse, which is part of Lloyds, received 1,009 complaints of which 95% were upheld.
Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, says the new data is a "victory for consumers".
“Over half of the complaints to the Ombudsman are upheld in favour of the consumer; they should have been dealt with by providers' internal procedures before reaching that point,” he adds.
|Firm||Number of complaints*||% upheld**|
|Lloyds Banking Group||15,233||51%|
|Royal Bank of Scotland||5,883||56.4%|
Source: The Financial Ombudsman Service, 15 September 2009
Worst firms for rejecting valid complaints:
|Firm||Group||Number of complaints||% upheld|
|Black Horse||Lloyds Banking Group||1,009||95%|
|Lloyds Banking Group||255||92%|
|Capital One Bank||Capital One||1,744||91%|
|Firstplus Financial Group||Barclays||452||85%|
|Source: The Financial Ombudsman Service, 15 September 2009
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If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.