The latest edition of Ombudsman News focuses on:
- how it is working to help complainants during the Covid-19 crisis, including on how it has changed its helpline hours – for which it apologises but asks that it only be called if suffering severe ill-health or financial hardship. It also confirms that it will not be opening any post until its offices reopen and notes it will take longer than ideal to resolve complaints;
- how it is monitoring Government guidance on Covid-19, and the advice FCA has been giving to firms. It says it has a well established approach to many of the issues that may arise, and says it will look at all available evidence and arguments to decide what is fair and reasonable. It gives specific guidance on what it will consider in relation to section 75 complaints, financial difficulties, car finance and similar arrangements, insurance, business interruption insurance, wedding insurance and mortgages. It stresses that, in relation to insurance, insurers should be considering not only the policy terms but also what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances – for instance where people have cancelled travel sooner than would be normal but ultimately would have had to cancel before the date of travel, or whether a wedding would have been called off, for example, if participants were unwell;
- consumer information on avoiding fraud and scams;
- complaints data for the last half year, showing the new cases among the top 5 business groups and by number of cases. PPI still provides the most new cases, followed quite closely by banking and credit;
- FOS’ plan and budget for 2020/21; and
- reminding firms of the increase in the maximum award payable, from 1 April.