The UK financial services ombudsman points to a growing number of frauds
The UK ombudsman for financial services has published annual complaints data for the financial year 2021/22 (April 2021 to March 2022), including the most common concerns reported by consumers.
Published complaint data show that complaints about “authorized” frauds increased by around a fifth in the last financial year, with almost 9,370 complaints received, compared with 7,770 in 2020/21. The financial services ombudsman hears about three-quarters of complaints about “authorized” fraud for the benefit of consumers.
At the forefront of the reported topics were problems with administration and customer service. The ombudsman for financial services received more than 35,000 complaints about financial firms, including nearly 25,000 in the banking and credit sector.
Analysis of the published data shows the following trends:
- The ombudsman has received over 35,000 complaints about customer service or administration for all financial products. Examples include not paying attention to detail and sending personal information to the wrong address.
- The product with the most complaints was current accounts, for which almost 25,000 new cases were brought to the ombudsman. With the increase in the number of ‘authorized’ fraud cases, the number of fraud and extortion cases continued to be high in 2021/22 – a total of over 17,500 new complaints. A spokesman noted new trends in social media scams and false investment scams.
- Covid-19 and the cost of the living crisis continue to affect citizens’ financial lives. In total, the ombudsman received 57,000 complaints about all types of loans last year. For example, the Ombudsman noted an increase in the number of complaints about mortgage loans, including from people in a difficult financial situation. In some cases, it has been observed that loans are applied at an interest rate of more than 35%.
Overall, in the main areas of financial products, the ombudsman received:
- 108,065 new banking and credit complaints
- 33,127 insurance complaints
- 16,276 complaints about investments and pensions
- 5,369 complaints about payment protection insurance