Rise in consumer complaints 'a concern'

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

There was a 12 per cent increase in consumer complaints to the Financial Services Ombudsman last year as compared with 2011, a development which the office has said is of great concern.

The office received 8,135 complaints in 2012, the highest number of complaints since the office commenced operations in April 2005.

During the year the office issued 2,990 findings, and compensation totalling approximately €1.73 million was issued.

The ombudsman, William Prasifka, in his 2012 report published today, said some financial institutions need to do more to engage with customers before complaints arise.

The report shows that complaints to do with payment protection insurance were up by 216 per cent on 2011 and last year accounted for 32 per cent of all insurance complaints.

Banking complaints increased by 15 per cent, with mortgage complaints accounting for almost 40 per cent of all such complaints.

The report shows that investment complaints to the office are continuing to decrease. This reflects a trend that has been noticeable for the past number of years.

Trends

Over the past six months there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of complaints settled by financial institutions before full investigation, when compared to the first half of 2012.

Mr Prasifka said the complaint trends in 2012 were of great concern. While more complaints were being settled on referral, it was not in the interest of consumers or financial institutions to see a continued increase in complaints.