The Financial Ombudsman Service has revealed that of its 157,716 complaints against being mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), 5,667 of them were unfounded.
PPI accounted for 60% of the total number of complaints the ombudsman received and it is the highest number of complaints ever received about a single financial product with a 51% increase over the last year.
Of the unfounded PPI cases, 99% came from people where it emerged that no policy had ever actually been sold.
A spokesman for the Financial Ombudsman Service told AM: “The wider issue is that we’re finding more and more people going to claims companies because they can’t find the information they need from their bank.”
All areas of the UK saw similar-sized increases in the number of consumers bringing complaints to the ombudsman – with "complaint hotspots" in Glasgow, Swansea and Bristol.
Statistics from the ombudsman’s annual review show:
• The ombudsman’s involvement resulted in compensation for consumers in 64% of cases (51% in the previous year).
• 69% of PPI complaints were brought by claims companies – down from 76% last year, as more consumers realise they don't need to pay someone to complain on their behalf.
• PPI complaints made up 62% of cases from the North East of England compared with 48% from the South East.
• The number of people using the ombudsman from "C1/C2" (skilled/semi-skilled) and "DE" (unskilled) backgrounds have risen by 50% and 140% respectively over the last five years – while complaints from "AB" professionals have fallen by 42%.
• 21% of consumers who brought complaints to the ombudsman said they had some form of disability.
• 18% of people across the UK said they'd had a problem with a financial product or service – and 75% said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service.