The FCA has recently published its biannual complaints data for the first half of 2017. 15,538 firms were required to submit their complaints data to the FCA for analysis and of that 15,538, there were 3,160 firms who had received complaints about their services, totalling 3.32 million complaints between January and June 2017.
Where did the complaints come from?
Only one fifth (3,160 firms) had any complaints at all, and the large majority of these complaints were received by the same small number of firms, with 97% of complaints attributed to just 226 firms. This is 1.5% of the entire sample group. Each of these firms received more than 500 complaints each.
What were the complaints about?
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) got the most complaints, with 1.1 million representing a third of all the complaints. This is unsurprising, considering the recent publicity surrounding the FCA’s PPI deadline campaign and the high profile that PPI has attracted. The figures show a significant increase since last year, when PPI complaints totalled 934,965; an 18% increase.
FCA are also collecting data to measure the total number of complaints as a proportion of the total number of products they relate to. The published data now shows the number of complaints in relation to the size of each market or firm.
Some product families that receive a high number of complaints were packaged bank accounts, which received 23 complaints per 1,000 accounts sold, which compares to 6 complaints per 1,000 for current accounts.
Some categories of mortgages also show high levels of complaints, with second and subsequent charge mortgages attracting 42 complaints per 1,000 and impaired credit mortgages receiving 31 complaints per 1,000. This contrasts heavily with the standard rate of complaints for home finance as a whole, which averages 8 complaints per 1,000 balances.
How were complaints dealt with?
It’s a key focus for most firms to resolve customer complaints in a timely fashion, and the data revealed that 96% of all complaints were closed within 8 weeks, and of those, 43% were closed within just three days. This is good news for firms who value their customer service.
The figure gets even better when you take away the complaints data for PPI, which, in general, takes a lot longer to resolve. Excluding complaints data received for PPI, 60% of complaints are resolved within just three days.
There was no significant difference from last year in the amount of complaints upheld, and the large majority (59%) were upheld by firms. Firms paid out just under £2 billion to customers, £1.66 billion of which was paid out for PPI redress and £220 million was paid out for banking and credit card products.
FCA launched a new complaints return in the second half of 2016 to allow FCA to capture all the complaints reported to firms, and to understand the trends in product complaints better. This means that it is difficult to make a year on year comparison of the complaint data, which makes trend analysis difficult.
Once the new reporting process has been gathering data for a few years we will start to see more significant patterns in the complaints data, but for now, the FCA are monitoring the data to see the level of customer service being offered to customers, and how this could be changing over time.