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ombudsman releases latest complaints data on individual financial businesses

28 February 2011

The Financial Ombudsman Service today releases its fourth set of six-monthly complaints data relating to individual financial businesses - including banks, insurance companies and investment firms.

The data published today on the ombudsman's website covers consumer complaints handled by the ombudsman service between 1 July and 31 December 2010. The data includes both the number of complaints received about individual businesses and the percentage of complaints upheld by the ombudsman service in favour of consumers.

During this six-month period, the ombudsman service received a total of 97,237 new complaints - an increase of 15% on the 84,212 cases received in the first half of 2010. Of these new cases, 91% related to 162 financial businesses (out of more than 100,000 businesses covered by the ombudsman).

The number of new complaints about each of these individual businesses ranged from 30 to 12,234. Five financial services groups had more than 6,000 complaints each referred to the ombudsman service, which together accounted for 54,078 cases - over half of all the new complaints received by the ombudsman during this six-month period.

The ombudsman's recently-published quarterly data shows that the number of payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints has continued to increase - and now account for over half of all new cases being referred to the ombudsman service.

The number of new complaints against each business is likely to be affected by the size of the business. However, experts consulted by the ombudsman were unable to agree how size (or market share) should be taken into account, when comparing complaints statistics across the financial services sector [independent report on "contextualising" complaints data].

The data published today shows that in the second half of 2010 the ombudsman service upheld an average of 53% of complaints in favour of consumers, compared to 44% in the first half of 2010. Across the 162 individual businesses included in the complaints data, the uphold rates varied substantially between 5% and 95% upheld in favour of consumers.

Natalie Ceeney, chief executive and chief ombudsman, said:

The latest set of complaints data continues to show that while some financial businesses are improving the way they handle their customers' complaints, some regrettably are not.

Taking the trouble to handle complaints well is an important part of a business's ongoing relationship with its customers - and it is the key to providing really excellent customer service. 

This is why the ombudsman service is committed to publishing information and sharing insights from the tens of thousands of cases we see - so that businesses, regulators and stakeholders can all learn both from where things have gone wrong, and from where problems have been put right to everyone's benefit.

Look at the complaints data now available on individual financial businesses.

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