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FOS to shame companies that attract multiple complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service plans to name and shame companies that receive a high number of complaints between now and September.

It says it will publish information on financial businesses that feature in at least 30 new cases and 30 closed cases during the six-month period.

This data will include the number of new cases brought against companies and the percentage of closed cases involving them in which there has been a change of outcome in favour of consumers.

The FOS will provide data on firms involved in banking, home finance including mortgages, general insurance, pure protection, pensions and investments.

The ombudsman says some individuals and institutions have expressed concern about it publishing the data, worried that it could undermine consumer confidence in the financial services industry and further widen the savings and protection gaps.

But the FOS says it believes that publishing the information will allow consumer disputes to be resolved more speedily and with minimal formality.

Sara-Ann Burgess, owner of Burgesses and a leading campaigner on the subject of payment protection insurance, would also like to see the Financial Services Authority name and shame lenders that fail to investigate complaints properly.

Burgess said: “At least 90% of PPI complaints – and in the case of one lender, 100% of complaints – are upheld.

“Rather than try and put things right for their customers many lenders are happy to resort to delaying tactics, knowing that if they issue complaint rejection letters more than half of the recipients will accept the findings at face value and not bother to pursue the matter further.

“Those customers who take complaints further invariably find they were right to do so.”

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