FOS data shows need for greater transparency

Nia Williams

September 14, 2010

The response comes as the Financial Ombudsman Service publishes the third set of six-monthly complaints data relating to banks, insurance companies and investment firms.

The data shows that 61% of complaints were about banks, 4% were about mortgage intermediaries, 2% were about IFAs and 2% were about building societies. As far as complaints about mortgages were concerned, 64% related to banks, 18% related to mortgage intermediaries, 9% related to building societies whilst 9% related to ‘other (including IFAs)’.

Mike O’Connor, CBE, chief executive of Consumer Focus, said: “Consumers want companies to take complaints seriously and put problems right first time. These results suggest that too many companies are not taking complaints seriously and are content to leave them to pursue problems with the Ombudsman instead.

“If we want to really empower consumers we need the Financial Services Ombudsman to help them identify companies that are committed to decent levels of customer services and complaint handling.

“Information is the life-blood of competitive markets. Consumers can and will discipline poorly performing companies if they know which ones treat customers well and which ones don’t.

“Greater transparency is not only in the consumer interest, it is in the interest of better performing and more competitive financial services markets.

“The Financial Services Ombudsman should use the next set of figures to shift the balance of power to consumers by disclosing more information about which firms treat consumers well and which treat them with disdain.

“Consumers will then reward the good guys and punish the bad ones.”

Sign up to our daily email