The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has published its latest six-monthly complaints data relating to banks, insurers and other financial businesses. The figures show that the ombudsman took on a total of around 170,000 new cases in the first six months of this year.

This represents a 13% increase in complaint figures when compared to the last six months of 2016 – and reflects rises in almost every product sector including PPI and banking.

  • Almost two thirds of the complaints we received in the first six months of this year come from just 10 businesses.
  • PPI continues to be the most complained about product with almost 90,000 complaints – making up over half of all complaints to our service.
  • Complaints about banking and credit have increased by 12% to around 47,000 – within this consumer credit complaints are up by almost a fifth to nearly 15,000.

245 businesses feature in the complaints data for the January to June period [13 for the first time]. Most of the businesses named in the complaints data for the first time operate in the consumer credit sector. The average uphold rate (where the ombudsman found in the consumer’s favour) for all businesses over the six-month period was 36% – and ranges from 3% to 79% across the individual businesses.

Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service, said “We’ve seen more complaints about most types of financial products in the first half of 2017. The FCA has just launched its communications campaign, which highlights that consumers have until August 2019 to make a complaint about mis-sold PPI. While we still don’t know what impact this will have on our workload, today’s data shows that PPI complaints are already increasing.”

 77% of complaints about WDFC UK (Wonga) and 77% of complaints about Casheuronet UK (QuickQuid and Pounds to Pocket) were awarded in favour of the complainant rather than the business.

DSG Retail (CurrysPCWorld and Carphone Warehouse) had the highest percentage of complaints upheld against it at 79%, although it only received 60 complaints over the period.

See the table below for the 10 companies with the worst complaint uphold record.

Financial providers with the worst complaint uphold rates

Provider Uphold rate Number of complaints
DSG Retail Limited 79% 60
WDFC UK Limited 77% 1,434
Casheuronet UK LLC 77% 1,212
Express Finance (Bromley) Limited 77% 325
MEM Consumer Finance Limited 76% 565
Shop Direct Finance Company Limited 74% 1,498
Freemans Plc 74% 49
HFC Bank Limited 73% 753
Aviva Insurance Limited 72% 2,300
Advanced Payment Solutions Limited 72% 42

Source: Financial Ombudsman Service, for the period 1 January to 30 June 2017.

In terms of the 10 providers with the most complaints, credit card providers Capital One and MBNA had the worst uphold record, at 51% and 50% respectively.

This highlights how simply measuring performance based on the number of complaints isn’t always fair, as you could expect the firms with the most customers to get more complaints than companies with fewer users.

Financial providers with the most complaints – ordered by uphold rate

Provider Uphold rate Number of complaints
Capital One 51% 7,402
MBNA 50% 4,368
Financial Insurance Company Limited 45% 12,044
HSBC 40% 9,044
Barclays 39% 15,405
Lloyds Bank 37% 18,068
NatWest 27% 5,929
Santander 25% 6,271
Bank of Scotland 22% 20,541
Nationwide 16% 4,777

Santander topped the most complained-about mortgage firm. The lender with the second-highest level of new complaints in the period was Lloyds, with 602, followed by Barclays (482), RBS (347) and Nationwide (299). Across the mortgage market the FOS upheld an average of 24 per cent of claims.

The complaints table can viewed here.