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Ombudsman ready to name and shame firms guilty of mis-selling

The Financial Ombudsman Service says it is upholding 90% of cases made against firms for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, as it revealed its plans to name and shame those with the most complaints.

FOS is handling more than 800 complaints a week about PPI and says for one unnamed company it is upholding 100% of complaints made against it.

From September 2009 it will publish complaints made against firms with at least 30 new cases and 30 closed cases during the six-month period.

A closed case refers to where there has been a change of outcome in favour of the consumer.

The data will comprise the numbers of new cases and the percentage of closed cases where there has been a change of outcome in favour of the consumer.

It will cover complaints on banking and home finance including mortgages, general insur-ance, pure protection, life and pensions and investments.

Simon Burgess, managing dir-ector of British Insurance, says it is about time.

He says: “I think it shouldn’t have waited so long, it’s a very positive step from the ombudsman. Naming and shaming will make those organisations that do mis-sell think twice about doing so.”

FOS had received some concerns that its plans to publish the data could undermine consumer confid-ence in financial services.

Others were worried there could be unintended consequences such as financial businesses electing to pay out unjust-ified complaints or to pay inflated redress in order to keep cases away from the ombudsman ser-vice and thus manage their figures.

But the FOS says: “A number of public-interest arguments have been put forward in favour of pub-lishing business-specific complaint data.

“The key consideration is that, having carefully considered the position, we believe that publishing the data will facilitate the resol-ution of disputes quickly and with minimum formality.”

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