The Financial Ombudsman Service’s (FOS) report showed that new complaints about financial firms in H1 2011 increased 54% on the second half of 2010, driven by soaring PPI complaints.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd condemned banks’ attitudes towards customers as “blasé” and said the FSA should require all major banking groups to review previously rejected PPI complaints.
He said: “If the next round of complaints data doesn’t show a dramatic improvement, then the FSA must take tough enforcement action against banks whose complaints handling isn’t up to scratch.”
Lloyd added: “Even if you take PPI out of the equation, these figures point to the blasé attitude banks seem to have towards their customers.
“In a properly functioning market banks wouldn’t be able to get away with treating customers like this. This is exactly why the government must take urgent action to improve competition and switching.”
However, the British Bankers Association (BBA) said that banks are committed to improving complaint handling.
Brian Capon, assistant director of media at the BBA, said: “Banks take complaints very seriously and PPI complaints that were put on hold pending the outcome of the court case are being dealt with as a matter of urgency.”
He said that, in such a big industry, some things “inevitably” go wrong, but most customers experience no problems.
Capon said: “It doesn’t necessarily follow that when customers complain the bank has been at fault, but no business wants its customers to be dissatisfied and banks are committed to handling all complaints professionally and efficiently.
“Clearly, in some cases there is room for improvement, but banks are committed to bringing standards of complaint handling in line with the best
“Banks are working closely with the regulators to improve the standards of complaint handling across the industry.”