The payment protection insurance (PPI) furore is far from over, as new data from the financial ombudsman shoes almost half of the PPI complaints brought to it appeared in the past three months.
In total, the ombudsman received 180,679 new complaints between October and December 2012, 145,546 of which were new PPI complaints.
The total number of PPI complaints for the financial year to 244,873. This equates to 8,000-10,000 new PPI complaints each week. The ombudsmand estimates it will receive more than 350,000 PPI complaints this year
"So far this financial year we have found in the consumers favour in 62% of PPI complaints, at the start of the year it was seven out of 10 complaints," said an ombudsman spokesman.
The British Bankers Association risked rousing the public's ire last week by appealing to the Financial Services Authority to introduce a time limit for customers who were mis-sold PPI.
Barclays - the most complained about bank on PPI claims - has set aside £2 billion for PPI payments, and the Royal Bank of Scotland has put aside £1.7bn, while the Lloyds banking group's bill has reached £5bn.
Separately, the ombudsman also saw a spike in the number of complaints about catalogue sales - possibly due to the Christmas period and consumers looking to spread their payments.
In total, 661 new catalogue shopping complaints were received in the final three months of 2012, compared with 512 complaints in the same period of 2011).
This puts the ombudsman on course to receive 25% more complaints about catalogue shopping than it did in the last financial year.
The main complaint themes about catalogue shopping are:
- Problems where people say they've made a payment only to find it hasn't been credited to their account − resulting in a charge. This can be a result of delays in processing or the credit not being applied at all;
- Complaints where the goods or services are 'faulty' or not as described in the catalogue;
- Situations where adverse information has been recorded on a consumer's credit file;
- It also sees some complaints from consumers who have missed a payment and gone into arrears, as they didn't realise their payment date changed each month.
The ombudsman warned the public to be aware of two problem areas:
Payment dates: a number of catalogues use a 28-day payment cycle – rather than debiting funds on a set date each month. When considering these complaints, the ombudsman looks at how clear the business made this and how much notification the business gives the consumer each month before the payment is due.
Returning items: catalogues usually provide clear guidance on how goods are supposed to be returned – and in what timeframe. Not following these instructions can result in problems if items go missing or are returned late.