PPI sales chaos triggers a spike in complaints

A SURGE in public anger over payment protection insurance (PPI) has helped push up complaints about financial institutions more than a fifth to 2.26m.

Complaints about the controversial method of cover jumped 85 per cent to nearly 980,000 in the second half of last year, according to the Financial Services Authority.

The total paid out in redress for general insurance and payment protection hit £2.1bn, after banks abandoned a long-running battle against accusations of PPI mis-selling.

The overall number of complaints rose 21 per cent to 2.26m. Barclays was the single organisation with the most number of complaints, at 282,899, over the period, although the different arms of Lloyds Banking Group opened nearly 450,000 complaints altogether.

The figures show, however, that the number of complaints about banking products fell two per cent to 787,096, their lowest level since the second half of 2006.

The British Bankers’ Association said: “Claims from customers for PPI repayment are being resolved as quickly as possible for customers, but the high volumes generated by for-profit claims management companies need similar attention.”

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said they had made progress in cutting the number of annual complaints by 31 per cent and Lloyds said it had cut banking complaints by 30 per cent although the overall figure rose because of PPI.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, called for new regulator the Financial Conduct Authority “to be a watchdog not a lapdog.”