PPI complaints continue to rise
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) remains the most complained about financial product, with complaints rising by 6% between July and December 2015, according to new data.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says financial services providers received 932,298 complaints about PPI during the second half of last year.
See our guide on How to reclaim PPI premiums.
However, the overall number of complaints financial services companies received over the same period fell by 1.4% to 2.11 million.
The FCA says this was mainly driven by a 10% drop in complaints about current accounts and a 15% drop in complaints about savings accounts. Despite this, current accounts were the second most complained about financial product in the period.
See our Current account best buys to get interest of up to 5% and switching bonuses of up to £150.
The five most complained about firms in order were Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, NatWest and HSBC.
The total redress paid to consumers between July and December 2015 fell to £1.97 billion, which is slightly lower than the £1.98 billion paid between January and June 2015.
How to complain
If you’ve got a gripe with a financial services provider, you first need to complain to the company involved.
If you don’t get a response within eight weeks, or you’re unhappy with the response you do get, you can take your complaint to the free, independent Financial Ombudsman Service to look into.
Tell us about poor or exceptional service you’ve received by voting in our 2016 Customer Service Awards by 31 March 2016.
There’s a £1,000 cash prize up for grabs as well as five Amazon shopping vouchers of £100 each.
‘Firms still need to do all that they can’
Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the FCA, says: “It is positive to see that the longer term reduction in the volume of complaints has continued into the latest period. Firms seem to have taken on board our previous feedback on levels of complaints and we are slowly seeing firms address these issues.
“However, firms still need to do all they can to reduce complaints and ensure that they are working in the best interests of consumers.”
Payment protection insurance is designed to cover you should you fall ill, have an accident or lose your job and can’t make repayments on loans or credit cards. However, research by consumer watchdogs found the cover to be overpriced, filled with exclusions (policies exclude self-employment, contract employees and pre-existing medical conditions) and were often mis-sold because the exclusions were never fully explained. In May 2011, the High Court ruled banks had knowingly mis-sold PPI and ordered them to compensate around two million consumers.
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.
An account opened with a clearing bank (few building societies offer current accounts) that provides the ability to draw cash (usually via a debit card) or cheques from the account. Some pay fairly minimal rates of interest if the account is in credit. Most current accounts insist your monthly income (salary or pension) is paid directly in each month and they offer a number of optional services – such as overdrafts and charge cards – which are negotiable but will incur fees.