Mortgage complaints rocket by 35%

Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service about mortgages increased by 35% in the last year.

In its annual review this morning, FOS reveals that it received 9,537 complaints relating to mortgages in the year ending March 31 2012, compared with 7,067 in the previous 12 months.

Only 16% of the complaints were against mortgage intermediaries, compared with 18% in the previous 12 months.

The FOS says administrative errors remained the largest area of complaint.

Complaints about the handling of mortgage arrears by lenders continued to form a significant part of its work.

This included complaints about arrears charges and the inflexibility of lenders in arriving at a plan to manage the arrears in a way that fitted the consumer’s circumstances.

A number of cases during the year involved claims management companies referring complaints to it on behalf of consumers about the sale of past mortgages.

In some of these complaints, the sale in question had taken place before October 2004 – when the regulatory framework changed for mortgage brokers, who came under the Financial Services Authority for the first time from that date.

In each case, FOS says it looked at the dispute in light of the rules that were in place at the time of the events complained about.

It also saw complaints during the year from consumers who either wanted or needed to let their property and were unhappy with the increased interest rate or administrative charges their lender applied as a condition of agreeing to the letting.

Some complaints were from consumers who had previously been allowed by their lender to let their properties without much formality and with no additional charge and were unhappy that their lender had moved to a more formal approach.