Ombudsman to tackle backlog of complaints despite budget cuts

Ombudsman to tackle backlog of complaints despite budget cuts
Date of Publication: Friday, 10 January 2014 11:33

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) aims to reduce the backlog of unresolved complaints this year whilst also tackling the huge volume that continues to pile through the door.


The FOS estimates that it will handle 1.8 billion customer enquiries in the financial year beginning April 2014, as complaint numbers continue to rise.


It also has to make inroads into a backlog of more than 400,000 unresolved cases related to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI).


PPI was designed to help people continue payments on credit cards or loans if they lost income through illness, injury or redundancy.


However, it eventually emerged that these policies were being sold to individuals, sometimes surreptitiously, when they neither wanted nor needed it.


The Financial Ombudsman Service acts as an arbitrator between financial services firms and their customers.


If customers decide that a firm has not handled their complaint satisfactorily, they can refer their case to the Ombudsman for a decision.


The FOS has gained prominence in recent years owing to the haphazard handling of PPI complaints by major banks.


Last summer, one of Lloyds' complaints handling centres was caught instructing its staff to be dismissive of PPI cases, as it believed most customers would give up once they were discouraged from making a claim.


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Lloyds Insurance


The FOS says it will have to resolve twice as many PPI-related complaints as last year, and tackle the wave of new complaints – but with a budget reduction of around 20%.


Tony Boorman, the interim chief executive and chief ombudsman, said that that the previous year's investments would allow the service to resolve twice as many PPI cases as it receives in the coming financial year.


"We're not out of the PPI woods yet," he said.


"Our plans take this into account [while] suggesting a lot more work is required to restore consumer trust in financial services."


Keith McDonald

Which4U Editor

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Friday, 10 January 2014 11:33
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