Belfast Telegraph

PPI complaints more than double anticipated amount

By Vicky Shaw

Payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints are on course to more than double the record number already predicted for this year, the ombudsman service has predicted.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has already received nearly 100,000 PPI complaints in the first six months of this financial year and warned that consumers would only face longer waits for justice if banks failed to clear up complaints quickly and fairly.

The flood of complaints to the ombudsman has also shown a dramatic increase, with 66,882 new complaints made about PPI between July and September, more than double the 32,445 complaints received in the first quarter of this year.

An FOSZ spokesman said that with 1,500 new complaints a day and well over 3,000 new telephone inquiries a day, it looked "likely" that the ombudsman would see more than double the 165,000 cases it had originally anticipated.

The service said it had built enough flexibility in its budget to sort out far more cases than the original estimate, but even so, this left the watchdog tackling much higher complaint volumes.

Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman, said: "The mis-sale of PPI is by far the biggest mis-selling scandal we've ever seen.

"As the banks face up to record levels of complaints, the ombudsman has geared up to deal with the ever-increasing fallout that consumers are facing.

"But with the ombudsman receiving 100,000 PPI complaints in the last six months alone, it's clear that unless the banks sort out their complaints quickly and fairly, consumers will only face longer waits for justice."

Around £10bn has been set aside by the banks to cover claims being made by people who were sold insurance they did not want or need, but some consumer groups have raised concerns that even this could not be enough to cover the scale of the problem.

The FOS previously criticised banks and insurers for subjecting customers to "delays and inconvenience".

Some 68% of complaints were upheld by the ombudsman service in consumers' favour in the latest quarter, a similar level to the 69% upheld between April and June.

The average compensation payout is £2,750, although the figure can vary considerably.