FOS upholds 67% of GEMHL complaints

Figures released today from the Financial Ombudsman Service show GE Money Home Lending had 67% of complaints against it upheld in favour of the consumer.

GEMHL had 56 complaints between July 1 and December 31 2009, but 67% of these were upheld – the highest percentage of any lender.

Barclays Bank received the second highest number of complaints at 486, with 56% of these being upheld.

Overall, Bank of Scotland received the most complaints relating to mortgages and home finance – receiving 560 in the six month period, however only 34% of these were upheld.

Clydesdale Bank received 50 complaints and had 53% upheld, while Kensington Mortgages received 48 complaints with 52% being upheld.

The FOS data includes both the number of complaints received about individual businesses and the percentage of complaints upheld by the ombudsman service in favour of consumers.

During this six-month period, the ombudsman service received a total of 82,136 new complaints – an increase of 18% on the 69,841 cases received in the first half of 2009. Of these new cases, 88% related to 155 financial businesses (out of more than 100,000 businesses covered by the ombudsman).

The number of new complaints about each of these individual businesses ranged from 31 to 9,952.

The data published today shows that in the second half of 2009 the ombudsman service upheld an average of 53% of complaints in favour of consumers, compared to 59% in the first half of the year. Across the 155 individual businesses included in the complaints data, this uphold rate varied substantially between 10% and 100% upheld in favour of consumers.

David Thomas – interim chief ombudsman, says: “While the number of cases referred by consumers to the ombudsman has continued to increase substantially, it’s encouraging to see that some businesses are committed to handling complaints better.

“However, there is evidently still room for significant improvement in the way other financial businesses handle complaints – judged by the proportion of cases where we overturn the decision that the businesses have themselves come to in their own earlier investigation of their customer complaints.

“The data we have released today clearly shows that some businesses still need to do more to ensure that they deal with their customers’ complaints effectively and fairly – so that consumers do not then need to escalate their dissatisfaction to the ombudsman.

“We hope that businesses will continue to use this data to focus their attention on addressing these key complaints-handling issues over the coming months and years.”