Review of firms’ handling of complaints about packaged bank accounts

Findings from our review of how firms handle complaints about packaged bank accounts.

We published the findings of our thematic review of packaged bank accounts (TR16/8) on 20 October 2016. The review found weaknesses in how firms handled complaints about packaged bank accounts at the end of 2014.

When we published our findings of the thematic review we committed to reviewing more recent complaint handling standards, specifically relating to complaints where a customer claims that their packaged bank account was mis-sold.

We recognised that firms had been committed to making improvements and we wanted to understand the extent to which they had raised standards since the period covered in our thematic review.

We have now completed this follow up review, covering complaints received by firms between March and May 2016.

What we found

Customer outcomes

Our follow up review indicates firms have made progress in how they investigate complaints. For example, we found firms had improved their approaches to gathering customers’ testimony.

We also found that firms could do more to ensure consistency in how they deliver fair outcomes.

Where we identified opportunities for further improvement, these were in line with the themes we found in our thematic review (pages 21-23 of thematic review 16/8). However, firms have told us they have already recognised and addressed some of these findings since the period covered by our second review.

Final response letters

We found firms could improve the final response letters in the following ways:

  • setting out the letters in a way that is helpful and clear for customers. This includes using sub-headings or sign-posting where appropriate, and detailing the investigation in a logical way
  • using information that is specific to the customer, rather than relying on generic information and/or assumptions that are irrelevant to a customer’s individual circumstances
  • setting out clearly and accurately what the firm has understood the customer’s concerns to be
  • accurately reflecting the investigation that was actually undertaken (according to the record on the complaint file)
  • fully addressing every complaint point (or each key theme, where there are multiple complaint points that can be grouped together)

In our thematic review we focused on whether firms addressed every complaint point in the final response letter.

In our follow up review we assessed the letters in greater depth against our Dispute Resolution (DISP) rules, including the requirement for a firm to ‘explain to the complainant promptly and, in a way that is fair, clear and not misleading, its assessment of the complaint, its decision on it, and any offer of remedial action or redress’.


We found that firms could improve the audit trail in the complaint files.

Next steps

We have provided individual feedback to all the firms involved in the follow up review.

We will also be communicating with firms who were not part of our review, including inviting them to an industry-wide roundtable where we will discuss our findings.