You hear the stat 9,000 per day and what do you think? Number of children skipping school, number of people offered jobs or even the number of Which? Convo comments. Sadly, the answer is bank complaints.
Figures released today show the number of complaints received by banks and building societies increased by 29% in the second half of 2011.
In total, 1,660,578 complaints were received during this period. That’s 9,000 per day or six per minute!
Data released by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) show that one of the main drivers for the increase has been a rise in the volume of complaints about (surprise, surprise) payment protection insurance (PPI). The number of PPI complaints rose by 85% to a whopping 977,510.
Our old enemy PPI
This is not a revelation to us as every week nearly 500 people use our free online payment protection insurance tool to issue a complaint to their PPI provider.
With the FSA publishing these stats every six months, most banks now want to avoid being the company splashed across the headlines the next day as individual banks are branded the worst for complaints. Sadly, that’s likely to be Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander featuring on tomorrow’s headlines.
The desire of bank bosses to avoid such headlines should hopefully lead to those people who deal with your complaints to do so properly and avoid your case becoming another statistic.
Banks hit the headline
The regulator should be using this information to highlight good practice and expose those in the industry that are performing badly – cue the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The FCA’s head, Martin Wheatley, recently provided a guest post on the site and Frugal Ways challenged him on the issue of complaints:
‘Will you take notice of individual complaints or will, as we do now, have to see thousands of identical complaints before you will even look at the issue?’
Martin said the FCA ‘cannot afford to wait for issues to affect a large number of consumers before we act’.
We want the FCA to be a watchdog consumers can count on, and by shining a light on what people are complaining about, they are giving firms a nudge in the right direction to improve their act.
Have you ever complained to your bank? How did you find the process? Do you think the release of data like this makes them take complaints more seriously?