14 Feb 2019

Financial Ombudsman publishes latest news on dealing with debt

Financial Ombudsman publishes latest news on dealing with debt

The latest report from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) shows that between October and December 2018 it received around 3,300 enquires about house mortgages.

There were over 2,600 new complaints, with 467 being passed to the ombudsman for a final decision. 27% of those cases were upheld.

Overall, Payment Protection Insurance continues to be the most complained about financial product, with 40,855 new complaints making up nearly 44% of all complaints received.

More generally, in complaints resolved by FOS in 2018 the top three issues were:

  1. Whether the debtor was being asked for the right amount of money (21%)
  2. Customer service issues, including administration errors, being contacted excessively or about debt the complainant believed they’d repaid (13%)
  3. That the debt they were being chased for wasn’t theirs (13%)

The full report is available here

Lenders can minimise or avoid complaints being referred by:

  • Following recognised industry guidelines for dealing with borrowers in payment difficulties;
  • Having systems in place to identify borrowers in vulnerable circumstances;
  • Keeping accurate and thorough records;
  • Ensuring letters clearly signpost borrowers to debt charities or other organisations that may be able to provide assistance;
  • Being responsive to borrowers who ask for help and pro-actively managing accounts in arrears.
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