The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published the complaints figures for regulated firms for the first half of 2018.

Complaints continued to increase for the fourth successive half year, reaching a new record level of 4.13 million complaints made to 3,161 firms. This was a 10% increase compared with the previous 6-month period. 98% of the complaints were made to 235 firms.

PPI continued to be the most complained about product, accounting for 42% of all complaints. The next most complained about products are current accounts (15%), credit cards (8%) and motor and transport insurance (6%).Excluding PPI, complaints increased by 9% (193,360) from the previous 6-months. There have been several high-profile cases of disruption to retail banking services in the first half of the year which have contributed to the increase in complaints to certain firms. The proportion of non-PPI complaints closed by firms within 3 business days has decreased, with 58% of all complaints being resolved by firms in the first half of 2018 being done so within 3 business days in comparison to 59% in the last 6 months.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition said “Firms need to be doing all that they can to reduce complaints. It is clear that firms need to look at the cause of the rise in complaints and address these issues to prevent further increases. It should be a priority for firms to ensure good consumer outcomes are achieved and they should be making sure that they are taking the right steps to treat customers fairly.

“We are encouraged to see that figures are showing that more consumers are making a decision on whether to complain about PPI.”

Matthew Drage, Head of Regulatory Development, Huntswood said “As complaints reach new record levels, with the FCA’s data pointing to technical issues and PPI as the primary drivers, firms must do more to assess their complaints handling performance, consider how things might have been done better, and how they could be better going forward. The fact that PPI continues to be one of the most complained about products is no surprise – an 11% increase in PPI complaints is likely due people acting ahead of the fast approaching deadline. With further volatility expected ahead of the August 2019 date, dealing with complaint spikes will only be possible if firms focus on how their capacity planning can allow for flexible resourcing.”

The complaints data report can be viewed here.