PPI sparks new surge in Ombudsman complaints

The number of complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service rose by 39% between July and September this year to 143,177, boosted once again by complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI).

Over four fifths of the new complaints were about PPI (115,2467 complaints), while current accounts were the second most complained about product, attracting 3,705 complaints.

The Ombudsman has now received over one million PPI complaints, and is currently taking on between 8,000 and 10,000 new PPI cases each week. In the first six months of this financial year (Apr-Sep) it received 247,399 new PPI complaints − a 149% increase on the same period last year.

So far this year it has awarded compensation to consumers in seven out of 10 (70%) of cases it resolves. Between January 2011 and Aug 2013 - £12 billion has been paid out in compensation to consumers from the banks, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Ombudsman also highlighted the fact it has attracted over 5,000 complaints about credit cards so far this year. It is currently finding in favour of the consumer in about a third of these cases.

In a statement, the Ombudsman said: "For many consumers, credit cards can be a useful way of managing their money. But things do go wrong with credit card accounts - and we often find that people come to us with familiar issues like disputed transactions, fees and charges, and problems with promotional offers."

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It said it has seen more cases "over the last few years" involving consumers who have been struggling to make the minimum monthly payment on their credit cards.

The Ombudsman also said it has seen a slight rise in travel insurance complaints, as a result of more people taking holidays between July and September.

"A significant proportion of the complaints we see come from consumers who bought travel insurance online," the Ombudsman stated. "Often, we find that problems are caused by the details of the cover not being made clear to consumers before they took out the policy. However, in some cases we find that consumers bought their insurance without reading through the information about the policy."