Complaints against firms fall by 500,000 – FCA

Data published last week by the regulator revealed a fall in total complaints from 3.4m to 2.9m, with 51 per cent of complaints in the first half of 2013 upheld, resulting in £2.55bn of redress paid to customers.

Some 92 per cent of reported complaints were closed within eight weeks, the highest percentage of resolutions since complaints data was first published in 2006.

Overall, Barclays Bank registered the largest amount of cases with 370,733. However, that figure was 11 per cent lower than the number of complaints made against it during the second half of 2012.

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Santander registered the highest amount of banking specific complaints at 120,914, closing 97 per cent of cases within eight weeks, and upholding 36 per cent.

The beleaguered Co-operative Bank received a total of 24,055 complaints (9,543 of which were banking related), and closed 99 per cent of them within eight weeks, upholding 46 per cent during the first half of the year.

Of the largest advisory firms, Sesame received the most complaints with 1,646 cases, with 84 per cent closed within eight weeks, and upheld complaints standing at 19 per cent.

Advisory network Openwork received 566 complaints and upheld 20 per cent of those.

FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley, said: “We expect firms to put their customers at the heart of their business. An important part of this is the way they handle customer complaints.”

The five most complained about firms represented almost 45 per cent of the total number of complaints. Payment protection insurance continued to dominate complaints, accounting for 61 per cent of new cases.

Top five (source: FCA)

Firm NameTotal number of complaints openedPercentage of complaints closed within 8 weeksPercentage of complaints upheld by firm
Barclays 370,73390%62%
Lloyds TSB 253,73590%62%
Bank of Scotland 222,24997%45%
Santander 198,73683%43%

Adviser View

Neil Liversidge, managing director of Yorkshire-based West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, said: “I’m not shocked by these figures, which will have been skewed by PPI claims. The fact that Barclays is top, while the likes of Sesame and Openwork are also on the list, is a function of being large, and it would be unfair to glean any negative connotations from it.”