Financial ombudsman reports ‘significant increase’ in PPI complaints

Caroline Wayman the chief financial ombudsman
Caroline Wayman the chief financial ombudsman
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THE Financial Ombudsman expects to receive around 180,000 new complaints about Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) over the current financial year.

Caroline Wayman, the chief ombudsman, said there had been a “significant increase” in the numbers of people contacting the ombudsman about PPI over the last quarter.

Many people who took out a loan, credit card or mortgage over the last decade were sold a payment protection insurance policy (PPI). The regulators have been forced to act because some lenders mis-sold PPI to consumers.

Some consumers, for example were told they would only get the loan, mortgage or credit card if they also took out PPI. In other cases, PPI was added automatically without the customer being told that it was optional.

In the last financial year (2016/17), the Financial Ombudsman service received around 13,452 new PPI complaints from people living in Yorkshire and the Humber and it upheld around half of them.

In the previous financial year (2015/16), it received around 14,792 new PPI complaints from people living in Yorkshire and the Humber and it upheld around 63 per cent .

Nationwide, PPI accounted for 60 per cent of complaints to the ombudsman service between July and August this year, the report said.

In her latest report, Ms Wayman, said: “We’re already two months into the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) PPI awareness campaign, which has kicked off a two-year deadline for making a PPI complaint.

“The FCA has estimated that 64 million PPI policies were sold in the UK between 1990 and 2010. And while not all of these would have been mis-sold, clearly there are still many people who haven’t decided whether to take action.

“Text messages and phone calls from claims management companies have been a feature of the PPI mis-selling scandal.

“But it certainly isn’t the case that everyone who complains about PPI pays a company to do it for them. Our figures show that in about a third of the 1.5 million PPI complaints we’ve resolved so far, the people involved did it themselves.

“Not only that, but they were no less likely to have their complaints upheld. And of course, they didn’t lose out on any of their compensation through having to pay claims managers’ fees.

“In our plans and budget for 2017/2018, we estimated we’d get 180,000 new complaints about PPI , accounting for 55 per cent of our workload over the course of the financial year. “

Ms Wayman added: “Our latest complaints snapshot suggests this was pretty accurate – and shows a significant increase in people contacting us about PPI over the last quarter.

“Our own future workload will depend too on how fairly businesses handle complaints in the first place and how thoroughly claims management companies weigh up the merits of a case before referring it to us.

“What’s clear is that, even though we can’t say for certain how exactly things will develop, we’ll be busy with PPI for the foreseeable future.”

Ms Wayman said the financial ombudsman has got a strong track record of working with stakeholders to resolve “mass” claims efficiently, as well as fairly.

She added: “So I’m confident that, as the deadline approaches, everyone who decides to raise concerns about PPI will get the answer they need.”

Ms Wayman, who is a barrister by training, became the chief ombudsman in 2014.

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