Financial Lives 2022 survey – people’s stories and the Consumer Duty

Read selected stories about the financial situation and experiences of respondents to the Financial Lives 2022 survey. These stories have been selected from the report because they are relevant to the outcomes we want to see under the Consumer Duty.

The Duty sets a higher standard of consumer protection in financial services. Consumers should expect:

  • good customer service
  • information they can understand that helps them make good decisions
  • products and services that meet their needs and provide fair value
  • firms to consider if they are in a vulnerable situation when dealing with them

We would have expected these consumers to have received better outcomes had the Consumer Duty been in place at the time.

Billy’s story 

Man with mental health problems is recognised as a vulnerable customer by his bank, but still isn’t getting the appropriate service from his mortgage provider 

Billy is 52. He recently separated from his wife and is now living in the family home with his teenage children. The break-up took a heavy toll on his mental health. During this time, he felt completely unable to deal with his finances, and fell into arrears with his mortgage. 

Billy is in the process of speaking to his lender to see if he can move to an interest-only mortgage. He thinks this will work well for him as he is expecting to take a large lump sum from his pension when he turns 55. He will use this to pay off the outstanding capital. However, he has faced a number of challenges communicating with his lender and feels they are not listening to him, nor taking into account his ‘unique situation’.  

Billy does not feel comfortable communicating by phone: he doesn’t trust that any promises made over the phone will be honoured and believes that telephone advisers will try to ‘trip him up’. He initially got in touch with his lender via letter, but after sending a number of letters to explain his situation, he was told that he had to speak with an adviser. Upon speaking to the telephone team, he again asked if he could communicate by letter from then on, but was told that this was not possible.  

'The other frustration was that we were having conversations initially and then I’d ring up again and I’d speak to someone else and they would say there’s no record of that, or we didn’t say that, all those kinds of things. And so, I would then ask to communicate by letter and they said, no, we can’t do it by letter. It has to be on the phone. And you’re kind of then stuck in a loop. Well, I don’t want speak to you on the phone because I don’t know if I can trust what you say.' 


During the process of speaking with the telephone team, his lender issued Billy with a repossession order in error. This placed him under enormous pressure and affected his mental health (the repossession order was subsequently cancelled, and his lender paid him compensation). In a subsequent conversation, Billy told his lender about his struggles with depression. His lender promised to refer him to a specialist department for vulnerable customers, but he had heard no more since the referral was mentioned some months ago. He feels very disappointed. 

'I feel really, really let down. A complete lack of support. A complete lack of empathy, and unprofessional… It’s incredibly frustrating.' 


Cameron’s story 

ADHD, learning difficulties and trouble dealing with financial services 

Cameron is 20 and lives alone in a council flat. He works in catering, but the work is sporadic and he is currently out of work. He has dyslexia and ADHD. He suffers with anxiety and depression every day.  

Cameron doesn’t like to deal with financial services providers on the phone because he has problems communicating. He finds it difficult to make himself understood, often can’t understand what firms are saying, and doesn’t always remember what he’s been told. He feels that call centre staff don’t understand him, which makes him feel anxious and upset.  

He uses online banking so that he does not have to talk to anyone. He tends to ignore letters and has a pile of unopened post in his hallway. 

'I usually feel lost on a day-to-day basis anyway, but it infuriates me talking to them [financial services call centres]. Sometimes it just sounds like they don’t understand what I'm trying to explain. I know that might be how I'm trying to explain it. It infuriates me, and then it gets me upset.'

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