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FCA reveals firms with highest consumer credit complaints

The latest complaints data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has shown the top five firms with the highest number of consumer credit complaints, for the second half of last year.

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Published today (April 18), the figures show a range of data on total complaints across the financial services sector from consumers, but also more granular data on the type of grievances made against specific firms.


Statistics show that Instant Cash Loans had the highest number of consumer credit complaints opened against it during the second half of 2018, with 45,396 cases, followed by retail credit provider Studio Retail with 25,259 and Shop Direct with 25,003.


Highest consumer credit complaints by firm


Firm Period in 2018 Complaints opened Complaints closed Percentage upheld
Instant Cash Loans Jul 1 - Dec 31 45,396 40,094 9.4
Studio Retail Apr 1 - Sep 30 25,259 35,152 68.7
Shop Direct Finance Jul 1 - Dec 31 25,003 25,691 39.1
Close Brothers Feb 1 - Jul 31 24,493 23,851 14.3
New Day Jul 1 - Dec 31 21,022 17,705 52.9


While Instant Cash Loans received the most consumer credit complaints of any financial services provider, Studio Retail had the most upheld (68 percent).


In other types of complaints in the banking industry, Barclays Bank Plc had the highest number of banking and credit card complaints per 1,000 accounts (38), during the latter half of 2018.


In response to the data, Barclays said that year-on-year, Barclays UK complaints have reduced by one percent and that compared to the first half of 2018, the bank’s complaints have fallen by three percent.


Sian McIntyre, Barclays UK head of customer experience, said: “We are committed to ensuring our customers have a positive relationship with us, and so work tirelessly to identify and resolve the issues that cause them to complain.


"We are pleased that complaints are continuing to fall, and remain focussed on delivering an excellent experience for all of our customers. We meet a financial need for nearly one in two adults in the UK, so it makes sense to look at the numbers in the context of our size."


The next highest after Barclays was the credit card provider Vanquis Bank, with 10.4 banking and credit card complaints per 1,000 accounts.


The bigger picture

More generally, the FCA figures show that during the second half of 2018 complaints decreased by five percent, falling to 3.91 million from 4.13 million. This is the first time the overall total has fallen, since firms were required to change the way they report complaints in 2016.


Some 3,181 firms reported receiving one or more complaints during the first half of 2018, with 231 of these firms reporting 500 or more. These firms accounted for almost 98 percent of all complaints reported.


PPI continued to be the most complained about product, making up 40 percent of all complaints. However this was a decrease of eight percent to 1.58 million in the second half of 2018, compared to 1.72 million the first half.


A change in reporting rules could be the key driver behind this. This change allowed firms to exclude from their figures any PPI complaints where it was proved that the complainant had not even bought a PPI policy from the firm in the first place.


Excluding PPI, total complaints decreased from to 2.33 million 2.41 million during 2018. While remaining the second most complained about product, current accounts complaints decreased by 13 percent over the half-year. By contrast, credit cards, the third most complained about product, saw a 10 percent rise.


The proportion of complaints closed by firms within three days rose to 37 percent compared to 35 percent in the first six months of last year. The amount closed within eight weeks rose from 92 percent to 95 percent.


The FCA said firms dealt with PPI complaints more quickly on average, compared to the first half of 2018.


Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “It is encouraging to see that complaint figures have dropped and firms are dealing with complaints more quickly.


“We expect firms to continue to focus on ensuring their customers are well served and that they respond quickly where consumers complain."

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