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FOS complaints data risks misleading consumers


Responding to publication by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) of firm-specific complaints data, Maggie Craig, the ABI's Director of Consumer Strategy, said:


"The insurance industry acknowledges that improvements are needed in the way that it handles customer complaints, and is taking steps to address the issue. It's absolutely right that consumers should know about the performance of firms who look after their insurance and investment needs, and complaints handling is an important part of that. But any such data must be presented in a way that helps consumers make informed choices. Unfortunately, the way that the FOS has chosen to present the data doesn't achieve this aim, and may in fact mislead consumers about the performance of individual firms. For example, consumers can't compare performance by sector or by product.


"In order to try to provide some context to the debate about complaints handling, the ABI has brought together data showing the number of complaints in the context of the overall quantity of different types of insurance policy, such as motor, home and life insurance, and pensions and investments. This is the type of information which will help consumers to make informed choices about where to buy their financial products, and thus inspire companies themselves to improve their performance. We hope that in the future, both the FOS and the FSA will take this on board and adapt the way that they present complaints data."


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Last updated 01/07/2016