FOS receives over 5,600 false PPI complaints

Over 5,600 complaints about missold payment protection insurance were referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service last year where no policy had ever been sold, figures from the FOS reveal.

The FOS has published its annual review this morning, which sets out complaints trends for the 2011/12 financial year.

Its figures show that out of the 222,333 complaints resolved during the year, 5,667 cases – 2.5% of the total – were classed as “frivolous and vexatious”, compared to 0.9%in the previous year.

99% of frivolous and vexatious complaints were about missold PPI where no policy was in place.

The FOS received 157,716 complaints about PPI, up 51% compared to the 104,597 PPI cases as at the end of March 2011. PPI now accounts for 60% of the FOS’ workload.

Claims management companies brought 46.5% of cases to the FOS on behalf of consumers, compared to 42.5% of complaints made by consumers themselves.

The FOS says: “During the year we have again seen some claims management companies taking a disappointingly lax approach to completing the questionnaire on behalf of consumers.

“Where a form is completed inaccurately, or not at all, we may not be able to progress the complaint. We have made our position on this very clear to the claims management companies in question, And we have required a number of them to withdraw their complaints and to re-complete the questionnaires again in full.”

The FOS says it is both “frustrating and time-consuming” where the facts of the case are only established after it is referred to the service.

It adds: “We have also continued to see a significant number of cases where, after investigation, it emerged that no PPI policy had ever been in place.

“It is essential that businesses and claims management companies make every effort to check this before the matter is referred to the ombudsman service.”