James Moore: Next time, get rid of these pestilent middlemen

Barclays said that half the complaints came from people with whom it had no relationship

Outlook Can the banking industry's public image get any worse? To add fuel to the Libor fire is the news of a huge rise in the complaints levied by ordinary consumers.

According to data published by the Financial Services Authority yesterday, banks have been swamped with 3.6 million in just six months, a rise of 60 per cent. That amounts to 20,000 people expressing dissatisfaction daily.

The explosion in numbers is almost entirely down to payment protection insurance mis-selling. And a significant minority of PPI complaints will be found to be entirely invalid.

That is because an awful lot of them arrive under the auspices of the claims management "industry", a business which has achieved something that had seemed almost impossible: it's making the banks look almost like responsible corporate citizens.

Email accounts, mobile phones, letterboxes, almost any method of contacting potential customers (marks) are being bombarded by people with ethics straight out of the sewer. "Our records show you are owed £2,700," and so on. Text STOP if you don't wish to receive further communications. And then we'll consider that you mean don't (stop) and send you two texts a day.

You almost wonder if some of those people who were winning mis-seller of the month prizes from banks and insurers moved into claims management when the regulators turned up the heat.

Barclays once complained that literally half the PPI complaints it was receiving came from people with whom it had no relationship. Nearly all of them were forwarded by claims management conmen.

Don't feel too much sympathy for the banks, though. They fought tooth and nail to wriggle out of doing anything about PPI, taking it all the way to the High Court. Where they lost.

Then the FSA had to force them to conduct a review of past business back in May. Claims managers simply filled the vacuum that existed before that.

It is banks' grubby conduct that has facilitated the activities of a grubby group of people.

If this sort of thing happens again (and it will), it would be better for all concerned if these pestilent and unnecessary middlemen were removed from the process. When the dust has settled, the new Financial Conduct Authority and the banking industry might like to sit down together to address the issue.

An attempt to show willing on this front by the banks might show that they have finally started to grow up a bit.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments