CCTA thoughts on the FOS Annual Complaints data

Commentary | 26/05/21

The FOS has released its annual complaints data today.

From a quick glance, what jumps out is the high upload rates for complaints about home credit and guarantor loans. Uphold rates for both of these are currently over 80%, compared with the average uphold rate of 31% across all products. However, there is more to this when the detail is explored.

On home credit complaints, the uphold rate jumped from 39% to 84% in one year, while the number of complaints remained stable. How could there be such a dramatic change in how lenders were dealing with complaints? This shows there must have been a change in approach from the FOS around how these complaints were dealt with. Firms were trying to understand what had driven this change, keep up with interpretations from the FOS and work out how to best deal with future complaints.

In the year following the jump in uphold rate for home credit, complaints rose from around 1,500 to over 22,500. The picture is very similar on guarantor loans. With the current FOS case fee of £750, it is easy to see how this number of complaints becomes untenable for firms.

There is a clear connection between FOS uphold rates increasing and a sharp rise in complaint volumes soon afterwards. This is likely to have been caused by the “claims culture” being driven by CMCs, looking for other sectors to exploit after PPI. The actions of the FOS have effectively encouraged more complaints, some of which are purely speculative.

We will continue to raise the concerns of our members around a constantly evolving approach from the organisation and their lack of action to push back on CMC poor practice.