PPI still most complained about product with 500 new gripes a day

Tom Wilson
23 February 2016

Payment protection insurance (PPI) is still the most complained about financial product, according to the latest figures from complaints arbitrator, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The FOS, which takes on gripes after consumer have no luck with the provider in question, received 500 complaints a day about PPI in the second half of 2015 – although this was a 1.5% decrease compared to the previous six months.

The average uphold rate – the percentage of complaints ruled in the consumer’s favour – for PPI gripes was 69%.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman says: “Complaints about PPI still continue to make up over half of our workload. During 2015, PPI complaints finally began to approach stable levels – but we’re still seeing the volume of cases at a much higher level than many people expected.”

In total across all financial products, the FOS received more than 900 complaints per day - a decrease of about 6% compared to the first half of 2015.

Of all resolved cases in the last six months of 2015, the FOS upheld 53% of customer complaints.

Ms Wayman explains: “The financial services sector has been through a challenging and volatile period in the eight years since the ombudsman first began to publish data about individual financial businesses.

“Though it still makes sense to plan for uncertainty and change ahead, the signs are that complaints are now broadly levelling off as we move onto a more even keel in the coming year.”

Read How to get your financial complaints heard and How to reclaim your PPI premiums

High street banks among the worst offenders

High street banks dominate the complaints tables, with Bank of Scotland (which includes Halifax), Lloyds Bank, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest receiving more complaints than the rest of the named companies combined.

Bank of Scotland and Halifax combined received the most individual complaints at 22,089, closely followed by their sister bank Lloyds with 21,304 complaints.

However, the number of complaints a company receives isn’t necessarily a reflection of its behaviour; rising complaints could be a reflection of turbulent markets, more consumers being aware of their rights, or even extreme weather conditions.

The number of customers a provider has may also skew the data; as the bigger the company, the more complaints you might expect it to receive.

The table below lists the most complained about providers alongside their uphold rate:

Based on the uphold rate alone, catalogue company Grattan fared worst as it was found to be at fault 97% of the time, though very few complaints were made relative to other companies. Of the 220 companies reported on, FOS upheld more than three quarters of complaints against ten companies. These companies are listed below:

What do the companies say?

Jen Tippin, customer service director at Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Lloyds, Bank of Scotland and Halifax, says: “Improving our customers’ experience, and putting things right quickly when they do go wrong, is a key priority for all colleagues in Lloyds Banking Group.

“More generally, excluding PPI, we now resolve over 70% of complaints within 48 hours of receipt as we work hard to address the root cause of customer’s dissatisfaction.”

Grattan PLC did not respond to requests for comment at the time of writing.

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