We collect complaints data from firms to enable us to monitor the number of complaints that firms receive, how this changes over time, and what products or services people have complained about the most. We use the data to help assess how well they are treating their customers and how firms’ performance changes over time.
We publish complaints data every six months and this publication includes data for the second half (H2) of 2015 (1 July to 31 December 2015). We collect and publish data at both an aggregate (market level) and firm level, although we only publish firm specific data for firms reporting 500 or more complaints. Firms with 500 or more complaints in a half-year period are also required to publish complaints data on their website.
This publication analyses the aggregate complaints data and will specifically cover the following topics:
Full aggregated complaints data for the latest six-month period and the previous six-month periods are available using the following links:
The total number of complaints received by firms reduced by 1.4% to 2.11 million in the second half (H2) of 2015, compared with the first half (H1) of 2015. This is a decrease of more than a third (38%) since the peak in 2012.
Figure 1 shows the total number of complaints opened from 2006 to 2015 H2. The red line represents the total number of complaints opened, while the blue line represents the average number of complaints opened per firm. Until recently, the average number of complaints per firm tracked the overall number of complaints opened. However, it begins to flatten out from 2014 H1 onwards, while the total number of complaints continues to fall. In the latest three periods, the average number of complaints per firm has risen, but the number of firms reporting complaints has decreased. The average number of complaints per firm is currently 753.
Payment protection insurance (PPI) remains the most complained about product, with 932,298 complaints reported between July and December 2015, accounting for 44% of all complaints. This is more than double the next most complained about product, current accounts, with 454,276 complaints over the same period. Current accounts have seen one of the largest reductions in complaints numbers between the first and second halves of 2015.
We classify complaints into five product categories. Figure 2 shows the proportion of complaints in each category and the top products complained about.
The number of banking and credit card product group complaints opened is generally reducing since 2010, except for a slight increase in 2015 H1. The total number of complaints opened in 2015 H2 was 685,942, 7% less than what was reported 2015 H1.
The number of home finance product group complaints opened is increasing over time, with a peak in 2014 H1 of 93,379. This has reduced by 0.2% between 2015 H1 and 2015 H2 to 76,047.
The number of complaints related to decumulation, life and pension products has been variable over time. But there have been some specific movements in the product sub-categories:
Until 2012 H2, there had been a significant rise in the number of complaints related to general insurance and pure protection, peaking at almost 2.5 million. Since then there has been a reduction in complaints and the current total stands at 1.25 million - a reduction of 50%.
Generally, there has been an upward trend in the number of investment related complaints between 2010 H1 and 2015 H1, but this has reduced by almost 20% (9,107) in 2015 H2 to 36,963:
Banks and building societies accounted for the majority of complaints from consumers in 2015 H2, with 64% of total complaints opened.
Advising, selling and arranging issues are the main cause of complaints, accounting for 59% of the total complaints received between July and December 2015. This is mainly due to the general insurance and pure protection product group, which includes PPI.
When consumers make complaints against firms we expect those complaints to be handled properly and resolved fairly and effectively. There have been instances where we have identified significant failings in the way certain financial products have been sold. This has led us to work with firms to ensure complaints are handled appropriately and consumers are appropriately redressed. In recent years this includes failings in the sales of PPI and interest rate hedging products (IRHPs).
Figure 5 shows the number of complaints closed within eight weeks split by product category. There is a downward trend across most product categories since 2013, except for general insurance and pure protection.
The average uphold rate for all financial products between July and December 2015 is 54%, which is a small reduction from the 55% of complaints that were upheld in the first half of 2015.
The amount of redress paid to consumers who have been mis-sold financial products was £1.97 billion between July and December 2015, which is slightly lower than the redress paid to consumers in the first half of 2015. That equates to an average of £1.4 million per firm between July and December 2015.
A firm is not required to submit complaints data for complaints that are resolved by the end of the next business day from when it was received. Please see our complaints handbook rule DISP 1.5.
We recently published new rules on improving complaints handling, including improvements to the reporting and publication of complaints. As a result of these changes, from March 2017 the FCA’s biannual complaints publication will change. This new, fuller data set will not be comparable to historic data published by the FCA. However, we believe that the new biannual complaints data publication will be more informative for consumers and industry (including figures to put the number of complaints into context in relation to the size of each business), and will provide better intelligence to the FCA.
This data does not include complaints against firms authorised only to carry out consumer credit-related activities. We will not be publishing data for these firms until all firms carrying out these activities are authorised and are reporting their complaints data to us after March 2016. Please see the consumer credit pages on our website for more information.
Figures reported for the previous two periods (2014 H2 and 2015 H1) have been restated since the previous publication due in part to resubmissions by firms and a recalculation of the data.
H1 means first half of the year (1 January to 30 June), H2 means second half of the year (1 July to 31 December)
'Decumulation' means the conversion of pension assets accumulated during working life into pension income to be spent during retirement.
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