FOS complaints on the rise

A record number of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in the 2017/2018 financial year included hefty increases in disputes over investments, financial advice, payments, deposits, and life insurance.

FOS received about 44,000 disputes, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year.

Breakdown of disputes:

  • 11,295 credit disputes, mostly regarding credit cards and home loans (43 per cent, up 3 per cent)

  • Out of these credit disputes, 89 per cent were for consumer credit, 9 per cent for business finance, and 2 per cent guarantees

  • The most common credit dispute was around financial difficulty, with 2,700 disputes - about the same as the previous year

  • General insurance disputes made up 8,603 disputes (32 per cent overall, falling 2 per cent), with car, home building, and travel insurance the main issues, with denial of claim and claim amount disputed most often

  • Disputes over payments increased 24 per cent across the year (6 per cent total)

  • Deposit-taking disputes was up 18 per cent, with transactions being the main focus - cancellations of direct debits, completing transactions, etc.

  • Disputes over investments and advice were up 18 per cent, typically surrounding managed investments, then superannuation and derivatives, and inappropriate advice

  • Life insurance disputes were up 10 per cent

  • Banks were involved in 43 per cent of disputes, general insurers 28 per cent, and credit providers 9 per cent

  • Most FOS members had no disputes, but of the members with disputes lodged against them, 41 per cent had just the one dispute, while 50 members had more than 100 disputes lodged against them

  • Sixty per cent of disputes were resolved by mutual agreement, 17 per cent resolved by a FOS decision, and 24 per cent were abandoned or discarded for some reason

  • Cryptocurrencies and elder financial abuse were growing areas of concern