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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before