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Genie out of the bottle on complaints – FOS chief

  • 17/09/2013
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Genie out of the bottle on complaints – FOS chief
Brokers should brace themselves for more complaints that could take as long as two years to resolve, the Financial Ombudsman Service boss has warned.

Commenting in the latest edition of Ombudsman News, FOS chief executive Natalie Ceeney said consumer expectations had risen over the past few years: “We can’t put that genie back in the bottle.”

While consumers had sometimes put up with bad service in the past, the future would be ‘radically different’, she said. “Consumer attitudes have changed, which means that financial businesses’ attitudes to customer complaints need to be different too,” she explained.

The unprecedented level of demand has forced the FOS to boost staff numbers – a recruitment drive which is almost complete.

However, she acknowledged there had been an impact on case times: “We’ve had to ask people to wait far longer than we’d have liked – and certainly in payment protection insurance [cases], many people may be waiting for up to two years to get a decision about their case.”

The FOS has received up to 3,000 complaints about PPI per day, making it the most complained-about product it has ever seen. Volumes of complaints, while high, had started to slow, Ceeney said.

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