The Financial Ombudsman Service has been flooded with a record number of complaints, with the volume soaring 16 per cent above the previous year.
FOS revealed a record 39,479 disputes had been lodged with it last financial year. The 16 per cent rise came on the back of a 7 per cent increase the previous year.
General insurance disputes made up the bulk of the increase, skyrocketing by almost 20 per cent.
Interestingly, the ombudsman attributed part of this to Cyclone Debbie, which has increased both the volume of claims and tested the internal dispute resolution procedures of insurers.
Overall, FOS took on 22,475 disputes (given that many complaints that involved multiple products or problems were whittled down to a single case). And of these disputes:
- 43 per cent were credit disputes
- 35 per cent related to general insurance
- 7 per cent pertained to deposit taking
- 5 per cent involved payment systems, and a similar number were about investments and advice
- And 4 per cent related specifically to life insurance
The good news for anyone feeling aggrieved by financial service providers, either personally or in business, is that the total number of disputes resolved has also risen sharply, up 20 per cent for the year.
Included in this is the refund of more than $42 million for complainants, and the amendment or removal of over 2,500 credit listings.
The FOS accepts complaints from both businesses and consumers who are unsatisfied with the outcome of a complaint made with the relevant company.
As My Business recently revealed, this includes disputes about chargebacks made on credit card transactions, which anecdotally appears to be a growing concern for SMEs.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.