Ombudsman workload bodes ill for customers


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The Independent Online

Outlook The Financial Ombudsman Service is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the news that it has handled 2.8 million disputes between the industry and its customers since 2001.

Its caseload is rising, even if one strips out the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal from the figures. What should disturb us about them is the fact that they are just the tip of the complaints iceberg. The Ombudsman gets involved only when a firm’s internal complaints process has been exhausted.

You’d think all the clever, talented people the industry bangs on about needing to pay millions to hire would have realised by now that there is money to be saved in doing things better.

But despite their claims to be taking the issue seriously, the figures suggest that they are failing to do so.

The British Bankers’ Association, and its fellow travellers, would like us to be nice to financial services, because it’s a terribly important industry. Perhaps they would find it easier to make that point if the financial services industry was nicer to us as customers.