UK's financial ombudsman settles record number of disputes last year

The headline reads UK's financial ombudsman settles record number of disputes last year.

Whilst the above may sound good and the numbers look huge 519,000 when compared to the previous twelve months. Admittedly they are huge because they more than doubled since 2012. The fact is that Britain's Financial Ombudsman Service found in favour of the consumer in only 58 percent of cases. Yet again this sounds reasonable, but it includes ALL cases brought in front of them and not just cases relating to the mis-selling, which is what we are interested in.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) alone accounted for an unprecedented 40,000 a week against Britain's biggest banks - Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland. It isn´t as if there is nothing in the pot to pay compensation. So why is it so difficult to get your money back when you have clearly been mis-sold a product? The money is there, the banks have been forced to set aside 20 billion pounds to compensate customers wrongly sold PPI policies, which were meant to protect borrowers against sickness or redundancy but were often sold to customers who didn't want or need them, or who would have been unable to claim on their policies. Nevertheless, for the average person taking your case to the Ombudsman is not a guaranteed way to get your money back although when read their website it looks straightforward, like the above numbers they found in favour of last year, it only tells part of the story and does not mention the hoops you will have to jump through. Unfortunately, this is likely to get even harder as it seems everyone is mis-selling and misbehaving.

It recently became known that five of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers – Eon, npower, SSE, ScottishPower and British Gas have come under close scrutiny by regulators, for mis-billing customers and despite the threat of large fines customers are still suffering from billing blunders. The big six have been ordered to set aside a combined £53 million this year to compensate customers and pay penalties to energy regulator Ofgem.

We just wonder who will actually receive the bulk of this amount and how long it is likely to take. Perhaps we are sceptical but the regulator seems in a position to benefit before the ordinary man in the street will see any compensation and if he does we think he will have a bit of drawn out and convoluted road to tread before he gets it.

date added: 24/07/2014

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