Ombudsman reveals increase in complaints

Nia Williams

March 14, 2013

The figure is more than was predicted for the total year with three more months to go until the Financial Ombudsman’s year end.

The Ombudsman Service revealed the figures at the latest ASTL quarterly meeting and added that it has had to take on 1,000 new staff.

The service also revealed that it is looking to recruit another 1,000 members of staff just to deal with the number of PPI complaints.

Peter Bristow, outreach manager from the Financial Ombudsman Service, said that socio-demographics were changing in terms of whom complaints were received from with an increasing number of complaints coming from people in the C2DE category that are traditionally less likely to be aware of where to turn if they have money-related problems.

A more welcome revelation was that the number of complaint cases which could be submitted to the Ombudsman without a charge to the companies being complained about is to increase from three to 25.

This means that most financial businesses will never have to pay a case fee as the main banking groups that make up the bulk of the Ombudsman’s workload pay the majority of its costs.

Peter Bristow also described what the Financial Ombudsman Service does. He said, “The Ombudsman was set up to provide consumers and businesses with an alternative to the courts. We work with both parties to help resolve often complex or entrenched disputes – and unlike the courts, we’re able to make decisions on what is fair and reasonable to both sides in each individual case.”

Benson Hersch, chief executive of the ASTL, commented, “We would like to thank Peter for coming to present to the members; it was a very revealing talk both in terms of the way the Financial Ombudsman Service works and with regards to the number of complaints that are handled.

“I know many financial services companies will welcome a greater number of free cases before they are charged, especially with the claims management company culture that we have at the moment.”

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