Issues to the Ombudsman have increased in part due to a significant increase in banking and credit-related issues.
Building and auto insurance complaints, which recently reached a five-year high, were also noted by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), which issued complaints data for the first half of 2023. It stated that insurers’ tardiness in settling claims contributed to this in part.
In comparison to the last part of 2022, complaints about mortgages and home financing also somewhat increased in the first half of this year.
When a customer and a financial firm are unable to come to an agreement, the customer may take their complaint to the ombudsman service.
Between January 1 and June 30, 2023, the FOS received 93,114 complaints in total, up from 79,921 complaints in the final six months of 2022.
According to the service, there has been a significant increase in banking and credit complaints, with fraud and scam instances accounting for about half of this growth.
In the first half of 2023, the FOS received 56,690 new complaints on banking and credit, compared to 50,346 in the second half of 2022.
In the banking and credit industry, current accounts, credit cards, personal loans, and business current accounts were the most often complained-about goods that the Ombudsman saw.
While fraud and scams were the subject of several banking and credit complaints, other concerns included issues with administration, customer service, and reckless or expensive lending.
Additionally, compared to 19,346 in the second half of 2022, the FOS received 24,496 new general insurance/pure protection complaints in the first half of this year.
Additionally, there were 4,189 new decumulation life and pension complaints in the first half of 2023, up from 3,842 in the second half of 2022, and 5,002 new mortgages and home financing complaints in the first half of 2023, compared with 4,160 in the second half of 2022.
Additionally, in the first half of this year, the FOS received 2,593 new complaints regarding investments, as opposed to 2,227 in the second half of 2022.
Financial complaints have increased once more, with the banking and insurance industries seeing a disproportionate number of instances, according to Abby Thomas, chief executive and chief ombudsman at the FOS.
People’s sense of protection is more crucial than ever in light of the financial difficulties they are currently experiencing. Customers should anticipate just and reasonable treatment from their provider, regardless of the nature of their complaint.
“The financial services industry is committed to providing quality customer service and working to ensure customers are supported during the ongoing challenges of cost of living,” stated a spokesman for trade organization UK Finance.
“And when things do go wrong, businesses are steadfastly dedicated to making things right as soon as possible, and the majority of problems are settled directly with the client. If clients are dissatisfied, they can file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service, which will conduct an impartial investigation and render a judgment.
“It is very concerning to see the ombudsman dealing with such a significant increase in complaints – especially at a time when consumers are battling the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades,” stated Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which?
“A marked increase in fraud complaints is concerning, and this process can exacerbate the already traumatic experience of being scammed for victims,” the speaker continued.