Customer services and the financial sector – are the banks getting better?

4 min read
March 02, 2016

(02/03/16)A recent report has suggested the banking sector is one of the best for responding to complaints. Crazy but true…

Saving Your Savings

It’s all the more amazing because the report doesn’t come from some sort of government think tank
 or financial body. No – this was members of the public, picked out by mystery shopping experiments undertaken by market research firm BDRC Continental about how companies respond to complaints on social media.

So what’s going on? Well, the cynic might be tempted to say that the banking industry has had more experience than most at dealing with complaints in recent years, but the fact is that this is an impressive performance from the financial service sector

There were 395 businesses across 32 different industries in this twitter test, and the research team looked at how long companies took to respond, and how well they responded. Only eight business didn’t respond to any Tweets.

All of which is very impressive – and kudos to the banks and credit card companies for their effective responses – but is social media is the best platform for the more complex complaint issues that still dominate the banking sector? I’m talking about PPI claims and mis-sold packaged bank accounts.

But it’s clear that banks are taking both these issues very seriously. That is because they’re serious issues, though. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) still says more than half its complaints about the banking sector are related to PPI issues.

And we’re seeing thousands of complaints about mis-sold packaged bank accounts being raised via  free online complaint resolution tool every month.

So how do you deal with these complex issues? I think it takes more than a couple of well-placed tweets, but with a bit of effort you can get a great reward.

The PPI problem

PPI has been by far the biggest issue for customers for years now. Originally, PPI policies were supposed to cover you if you were unable to work due to ill health or lost your job – but many people were sold a policy it without asking for it or even needing it.

Now, a whole industry of claims management companies has sprung up to take your PPI case to the banks. But these no-win no-fee merchants can take up to 30% of any refunds or compensation you might be due. And you simply don’t need someone else to handle a PPI claim for you. They will take your money and, if you don’t actually have a claim, end up clogging banks’ systems with speculative claims that only get rejected.


Most high-street banks have an in-depth online form that will let you raise your issue direct with them, and they should also offer you the option of other forms of raising a claim – generally by post, but possibly by phone or even going into your local branch.

Alternatively, the Financial Ombudsman Service provides an excellent online resource for DIY PPI-ers – which you can reach here 

The packaged bank account 

Packaged accounts are where you pay a set fee – generally on a monthly basis – in return for additional benefits, such as various forms of insurance, or sometimes discounts for certain products or services.

They can be really good – if you are likely to make the best use of the additional benefits – as it can be a great way to get cheap insurance. But often they only double up on products you are already covered for – mobile insurance, travel insurance and the like.

So if you feel like you’ve been pushed into it by the bank’s sales staff, you could well be due quite a bit of compensation, especially if you’ve held the account for some time.

If you do think about keeping your paid-for bank account, you need to carefully consider if you can get the same insurance and other products elsewhere. If it doesn’t add up, then you need to think about reclaiming.

When can you reclaim your money?

If you have a packaged bank account and think you have been mis-sold, you can submit your claim via Resolver. Once your email has been submitted the bank has eight weeks to resolve your issue; Resolver will then remind you to escalate your case.

The bank might not respond directly to your Resolver account, but you can record your phone calls and upload any supporting documents into your Resolver case file.

How much will you get back?

If you have been mis-sold, you will receive back your fees back plus interest. The Financial Ombudsman Services calculates interest at 8% per annum. As this is an income, be aware that you should report any interest to HMRC.

The interest is calculated at 8% per annum, but is not compound interest: that means you will not receive interest on the interest.

How your case will be assessed

When your case is assessed, it will be looked at from the perspective of what is considered to be fair and reasonable. This is the assessment that will be used by the Financial Ombudsman Service if your case is rejected by the bank.

What if your case is rejected?

If your bank rejects your claim, do not worry: after eight weeks Resolver will remind you to escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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