The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority published its latest complaints figures for regulated firms for the second half of 2018, revealing how some financial services firms are receiving significantly more complaints than others.
The FCA publishes two types of data every six months: firm-specific data for individual firms and aggregate (total) figures for the industry. “Being transparent about the number of complaints that firms receive is helpful for the industry and consumers,” the FCA said. “Firms can compare their performance with their peers, and consumers have an additional source of information about the firms we regulate.”
According to the FCA’s data, Instant Cash Loans had the highest number of consumer credit complaints opened against it during the second half of 2018, with 45,396 cases, followed by retail credit provider Studio Retail, with 25,259 complaints, and Shop Direct with 25,003. Although Instant Cash Loans received the most consumer credit complaints of any financial services provider, Studio Retail had the most upheld (68 percent).
Concerning banking and credit card complaints per 1,000 accounts, Barclays Bank had the highest number (38) during the latter half of 2018. The financial firm with the second highest number of banking and credit card complaints was credit card provider Vanquis Bank, with 10.4 banking and credit card complaints per 1,000 accounts.
At a high level, the FCA data shows that during the second half of 2018, complaints fell by 5 percent to 3.91 million from 4.13 million. “This is the first time the number of complaints has fallen since firms were required to change the way they report complaints, in 2016,” the FCA said.
According to the FCA’s data, 3,181 firms reported receiving one or more complaints during the second half of 2018, with 231 of these firms reporting 500 or more. These firms accounted for almost 98 percent of all complaints reported.
PPI continued to make up the most complaints (40 percent), but this was a decrease of 8 percent, from 1.72 million in the first half of 2018 to 1.58 million in the second half of 2018. A change in reporting rules could explain this drop. “There was a change in reporting which allowed firms to exclude from their complaints return any PPI complaints where it was established that the complainant had not purchased a PPI policy from the firm,” the FCA said.
Excluding PPI, total complaints decreased from 2.41 million to 2.33 million over 2018. While accounting for the second highest number of complaints, current account complaints decreased by 13 percent over the half-year. By contrast, credit cards—resulting in the third highest number of complaints—saw an increase of 10 percent.
Additionally, the proportion of complaints closed by firms within three days rose to 37 percent compared to 35 percent in the first half of 2018. Cases closed within eight weeks rose from 92 percent to 95 percent.
The data also showed an increased proportion of PPI complaints that firms closed within eight weeks, from 89 percent to 97 percent. This shows that firms dealt with PPI complaints more quickly on average than in the first half of 2018, the FCA said.
“It is encouraging to see that complaint figures have dropped and firms are dealing with complaints more quickly,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA. “We expect firms to continue to focus on ensuring their customers are well served and that they respond quickly where consumers complain.”