FOS has published its annual review for 2016/17, a period which it described as ‘immensely demanding’. Similarly to previous years, FOS reported that much of its activity focused on PPI complaints, but this should finally reduce with the August 2019 time limit for potential claims. The rules and guidance following the Plevin judgement will come into effect in August 2017. FOS hopes that these changes will provide clarity and certainty for those who have been mis-sold PPI, as 83% of unresolved PPI complaints were affected by the judgement in Plevin.
In 2016/17 FOS received 321,283 complaints. Of these, 64% related to banks, 14% related to insurers and 6.5% related to consumer credit businesses. FOS also saw a discernible rise in the number of complaints about payday lending, which increased by 227%, and the number of complaints about instalment loans and guarantor loans which have risen by 318% and 182% respectively, but still over half the complaints it received were about PPI. Complaints about packaged bank accounts, though fell by 54%. FOS also noted the difficulty in tackling cyber-crime, an area that is becoming increasingly diverse and sophisticated and has the potential to affect all sectors of society. Half the complaints came from just 4 business groups.
In light of these challenges, FOS is continuing to develop its single person point of contact approach to cases. It credits this approach for the fact 336,381 cases were resolved in 2016/17 – 15,098 more than the number of complaints received for the same period. However, only 43% of all complaints were upheld in 2016/17, compared to 51% upheld in 2015/16. FOS attributes this lower uphold rate to the fact that FOS did not resolve as many PPI complaints (which typically have a higher uphold rate) in 2016/17.