Aggregate complaints data: 2018 H2

This page focuses on complaints that financial services firms reported during the second half (H2) of 2018, between 1 July and 31 December 2018. This includes the latest trends and analysis by product group.

We use the complaints data to help assess how well firms are treating their customers and how their performance changes over time. We also use these data to guide our work in supervising firms and markets, and to highlight potential concerns with specific financial products.

Key findings

  • Firms received over 3.91m complaints during the second half of 2018. This was a decrease of 5% when compared to the first half (H1) of 2018 when 4.13m complaints were received.
  • The number of complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI) decreased by 8% between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2. However, PPI complaints continue to account for 4 in 10 (40%) of all complaints.
  • Excluding PPI complaints, the most complained about products remain current accounts (15% of reported complaints), credit cards (10%) and motor and transport insurance (7%).
  • The number of complaints about credit cards increased by 10% and the number of motor and transport insurance complaints increased by 13%, compared to 2018 H1.
  • Firms paid £1.99bn in redress for PPI complaints in 2018 H2. This was less than in 2018 H1 (£2.31bn) and marginally less than the same period in 2017 (£2.05bn).
  • The proportion of complaints which firms closed within 3 business days rose to 37% in 2018 H2, compared to 35% in 2018 H1.
  • Between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2, the largest increase in average redress paid per upheld complaint was for complaints related to decumulation and pension products, with average redress increasing from £594 to £876.

Complaints trends

Chart tips: hover over data series to view the data values and filter the data categories by clicking on the legend.

Complaints received

Chart

Data table

3,181 firms reported receiving one or more complaints during 2018 H2. 228 of these firms reported 500 or more complaints, accounting for almost 98% of all complaints reported.

Figure 1 shows that firms received 3.91m complaints in 2018 H2. This was a decrease of 220,972 since 2018 H1. This includes an 8% decrease (-137,410) in the number of PPI complaints between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2. This is the first time the total volume of complaints has decreased since new rules came into effect regarding complaints submissions in 2016 H2.

Excluding PPI, the number of complaints decreased from 2.41m to 2.33m between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2. This is due to a decrease of 86,501 complaints about current accounts and a decrease of 50,802 about packaged accounts between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2.  The previous high number of complaints about current account services was related to the disruption caused by TSB’s move to a new IT platform in 2018 H1 (accounting for half of the increase in banking and credit card complaints between 2017 H2 and 2018 H1).

Complaints closed 

Firms have 8 weeks after receiving a complaint to provide a written response. Find out more about closed complaints

Table 1 – Complaints closed in the period

 

All complaints

PPI

All other complaints

 

2018 H1

2018 H2

2018 H1

2018 H2

2018 H1

2018 H2

Total closed complaints in period

   4.34m

4.01m

1.99m

1.65m

2.35m

2.36m

of which:

closed within 3 days (%)

35%

37%

7%

7%

58%

57%

closed within 8 weeks (%)

92%

95%

89%

97%

95%

94%

closed after 8 weeks (%)

8%

5%

11%

3%

5%

6%

Table 1 shows that firms closed 4.01m complaints in 2018 H2, compared to 4.34m in 2018 H1 (a decrease of 8%). This is mostly due to the decrease in the number of closed PPI complaints in the period (from 1.99m to 1.65m). Excluding PPI, the number of closed complaints increased slightly from 2.35m to 2.36m between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2.

Of the complaints closed, there was an increase in those closed within 3 days and those closed within 8 weeks. The percentage of complaints closed within 8 weeks increased from 92% to 95%. This is due to an increase in the proportion of PPI complaints firms closed within 8 weeks (from 89% to 97%). This shows that firms dealt with PPI complaints more quickly on average than in 2018 H1. 

Table 2 – Complaints upheld and redress paid


  All complaints PPI All other complaints
  2018 H1 2018 H2 2018 H1 2018 H2 2018 H1 2018 H2
Total closed complaints in period 4.34m 4.01m 1.99m 1.65m 2.35m 2.36m
of which:            
Upheld 2.59m 2.41m 1.27m 1.04m 1.32m 1.36m
% Upheld 60% 60% 64% 63% 56% 58%
Total redress paid £2.57bn £2.26bn £2.31bn £1.99bn £259m £267m
Redress for upheld complaints £2.47bn £2.21bn £2.24bn £1.97bn £231m £237m
Redress for complaints not upheld £104m £51.2m £76.1m £21.2m £27.9m £30.1m
Average redress per complaint upheld £955 £917 £1,764 £1,886 £176 £174

Table 2 shows a decrease in the total redress paid by firms across all products, from £2.57bn in 2018 H1 to £2.26bn in 2018 H2. This is partly due to a decrease in the number of complaints received and closed, and partly due to the decrease in redress for complaints not upheld. The amount paid in redress for complaints not upheld decreased by over 50% between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2, from £104m to £51.2m. This is due to less redress being paid for PPI complaints not upheld, which reduced from £76.1m to £21.2m between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2.

Putting complaints into context

As well as looking at overall complaints volumes, we look at the number of complaints as a proportion of the total number of products to which they relate. This shows the number of complaints given the size of each market or firm. We record complaints per 1,000 accounts or policies in force. This improves our comparison and benchmarking of complaints across different firms. This is shown in our firm specific data. Find out more about the contextualised complaints data submitted by firms

Table 3 – Contextualised complaints by product group

 

2018 H1

2018 H2

% of complaint volumes in 2018 H2

Decumulation and pensions per 1,000 policies

1.3

1.4

1%

Insurance and pure protection per 1,000 policies

9.5

9.6

61%

Banking and credit cards per 1,000 accounts

5.0

4.6

33%

Investments per 1,000 client accounts

2.2

2.1

2%

Home finance per 1,000 balances outstanding

9.8

9.6

3%

Table 3 shows the number of complaints per 1,000 accounts or policies in force, for each type of product. Across all product groups, insurance and pure protection and home finance receive the highest number of complaints as a proportion of the total number of products (9.6 complaints per 1,000 products). Insurance and pure protection make up 61% of all complaints in 2018 H2, mainly due to the high volume of PPI complaints.

Most complained about products

Table 4 – 5 most complained about products in 2018 H2

Product

2018 H1

2018 H2

 

% change

% closed within 3 days in 2018 H2

Payment protection insurance

1,719,259

1,581,849

 

-8%

7%

Current accounts

691,395

604,894

 

-13%

70%

Credit cards

349,501

386,195

 

+10%

62%

Motor and transport insurance

252,044

283,664

 

+13%

53%

Other general insurance

224,403

223,883

 

0%

53%

Table 4 shows the top 5 most complained about products. PPI remained the most complained about product, despite a decrease of 8% in the number of complaints between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2. Current accounts and credit cards remained the second and third most complained about products. The volume of complaints about current accounts decreased by 13% from 2018 H1 and the volume of complaints about credit cards increased by 10%. 

The volume of motor and transport insurance complaints increased by 13% between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2, and other general insurance product complaints remained unchanged. Complaints about these two products take longer to resolve on average than other products, such as credit cards and current accounts.  

Outcomes for consumers

This section looks at the outcomes of complaints, redress paid and complaints upheld, in 2018 H2 across the different product groups, compared to previous periods. 

Redress paid by product group

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Data table

Figure 2 shows the redress paid by product group over 2017 H2, 2018 H1 and 2018 H2. Redress paid for PPI complaints decreased from £2.32bn to £1.99bn between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2. This period also saw a decrease in redress paid for complaints about banking and credit cards, from £141m to £133m.  This is due to a decrease of £28.5m redress paid for complaints about packaged accounts between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2.

Average redress per upheld complaint

Chart

Data table

Despite the decrease in overall redress paid for PPI complaints, figure 3 shows an increase in average redress per upheld complaint in 2018 H2, from £1,764 to £1,886.

There was also an increase in average redress paid for complaints about decumulation and pension products, from £594 to £876 between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2.

Percentage of complaints upheld by product group

Chart

Data table

Figure 4 shows that excluding PPI, the proportion of insurance and pure protection product complaints upheld decreased from 62% to 60%. Complaints upheld about banking and credit card products increased from 53% to 56%.

Of all the product groups, investment products continued to have the lowest uphold rate, increasing from 51% to 55% between 2018 H1 and 2018 H2.

About the data

We collect complaints data from firms to enable us to monitor:

  • the number of complaints that firms receive
  • how this changes over time
  • which products or services people have complained about the most

We use the data to help assess how well firms are treating their customers and how their performance changes over time. We also use the data to guide our work in supervising firms and markets, and to highlight potential concerns with products.

This publication includes data on reported complaints received by firms during the second half of 2018. We publish complaints every six months.

Each firm reports their data to us in line with their own reporting cycle on a six-monthly basis, or annually for smaller consumer credit firms, so reporting periods can vary between firms. These include data with an end date that falls within the second half 2018. Each firm’s reporting period can be viewed on the firm-specific pages for those that are required to publish their data.

We collect and publish data at both an aggregate (market level) and firm level. We only publish firm-specific data for firms reporting:

  • 500 or more complaints in a half-year period 
  • 1,000 or more complaints for consumer credit firms, if these firms report to us annually

Firms exceeding these thresholds are also required to publish complaints data on their websites.

We have produced interactive sortable tables for the aggregate number of complaints received by product, in terms of reported volumes and in the context of accounts or policies in force.

What we mean by closed complaints

Firms have 8 weeks after receiving a complaint to provide a written response to the complaint. This must either be a final response or an explanation of why the firm is not able to provide a final response, and an indication of when it expects to do so. Where the firm makes a final decision to accept, reject or offer redress without accepting the complaint, it records the complaint as closed.

If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the response then they can refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Contextualised complaints data

Firms are required to submit either:

  • a ‘provision’ measure (the total number of accounts or insurance policies a firm maintains for customers at the end of the reporting period)
  • or an intermediation measure (the number of products they sell, advise or arrange for customers within the half-year reporting period)

This will depend on the type of business a firm undertakes or the type of complaints they receive. Some firms may submit both types of measures if they are undertaking both types of business.

Notes

In November 2018, the FCA published a modification which allowed firms that notify us to exclude from their complaints return PPI complaints where, upon investigation, it was established that the complainant had not purchased a PPI policy from the firm.

Some previous data referring to complaints about credit cards and current accounts have been changed since the last publication due to resubmissions by firms.

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