It looks like the payment protection insurance (PPI) campaign featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger is working.
Releasing financial services complaints figures for the second half of 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed a 13% rise in overall numbers – PPI making up the bulk, with complaints about the mis-selling scandal reaching their highest level in over four years. According to FCA data, PPI complaints climbed 40% to 1.55 million for the period.
Overall, a total of 3.76 million complaints were made to financial services firms in the second half of 2017 – 427,032 more compared to the first half. If PPI were taken out of the picture, the numbers would paint a different picture. Meanwhile current accounts and credit cards were next in line in terms of number of complaints.
“Having set a deadline for PPI complaints, we are encouraging consumers to decide whether they want to claim, and, if they do, to make their complaint as soon as possible, as many already have,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA. “We are continuing to monitor and challenge all firms to ensure they maintain the expected standards and are delivering on their commitments to make it easy for people to complain about PPI.”
The financial regulator also reported that for January of this year alone, £415.8 million – the largest amount since March 2016 – had been paid out to PPI complainants. Over the last seven years, firms had compensated to the tune of £30 billion.
Commenting on the figures, SAS UK & Ireland customer intelligence head Tiffany Carpenter said: “The latest FCA complaints data not only shows that the public is finally seeking compensation en masse for PPI claims, but also that customer service in the financial sector is at woeful levels – over a third (34%) of complaints were about customer service.
“This is a wake-up call for the UK financial sector. Low interest rates, the demands of GDPR compliance, and competition from challenger banks have all chipped away at profits. That’s having a major effect on the sector’s ability to invest in the infrastructures and processes at the heart of customer engagement strategies.”
In addition, Carpenter believes competition among firms is only going to get tougher.
“If they are to reduce customer complaints, financial organisations must be able to closely analyse what they know about their customers and ensure that they’re providing a tailored, responsive service as a result,” she stressed.
FCA’s Woolard added: “Firms should be doing all they can to reduce complaints and ensure they are treating customers fairly.”