Noticeable increases in new complaints were seen in several key sectors including motor and transport, pensions, investments, credit cards, insurance and pure protection, and savings. Indeed, the only sector to see a notable decrease is the home finance product group including mortgages. While the cost-of-living crisis is likely to have played a role in consumers being more vocal when things go wrong, the FCA will be hoping that as firms continue to fully implement the Consumer Duty, such widespread increases will be reversed.
Of concern to financial firms will also be the continuation of uphold rates increasing, which they have done steadily since H2 2019. While the increase is relatively small, up to 61% from 60%, that is still well over half of all complaints where the consumer had a valid concern about the products and services they were sold or the customer service they received. Given the renewed focus on positive consumer outcomes set out in the Consumer Duty, the FCA will be expecting this figure to decrease in the coming years.
Equally, redress payments are also on the rise again, by 4% at a total of £235m, following the reduction in previous periods due to the drop in PPI claims. However, with new court cases on the horizon concerning PPI and “secret” commissions, we could well see this number creeping up again in the future.
The swift and accurate handling of complaints remains vital not just for regulatory satisfaction but also for customer satisfaction and business reputation. In addition, the insight provided by thorough root cause analysis can provide valuable guidance on where to concentrate business efforts for improvement.
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