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City ombudsman faces grilling by MPs after report into problems at dispute service

Consumers and small companies go to the FOS to try to resolve disputes with City firms ranging from mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) to problems with bank accounts, credit cards and pensions.

Former Which? director Richard Lloyd was commissioned by the FOS board to carry out the review in the wake of the Dispatches documentary.

The report, published today, reveals a backlog of 23,000 complaints more than two years old – mainly relating to a surge in PPI claims – despite the FOS trebling in size to try and cope.

It also recommends the FOS be better organised and review its approach to compensation, training, targets for staff and guidance for complaints handlers.

However, it concluded the FOS “provides an effective and essential service for many thousands of people” and was making “continuous improvement”. It found “no evidence of systemic bias” in favour of City firms. It said the FCA should consider consulting on a new levy to fund the FOS.

The FOS complaints backlog is down from almost 40,000 cases discovered by the National Audit Office in 2016.

The Treasury committee will question chief ombudsman and FOS chief Caroline Wayman and the organisation’s chairman Sir Nicholas Montagu next Wednesday, following evidence by Mr Lloyd.

Concerns have previously been raised about Mr Lloyd’s alleged conflict of interest due to his past dealings with the ombudsman at Which? and as chairman of claim service Resolver – an allegation he has denied.

Credit firms called for a “root and branch review” of the FOS by the National Audit Office. Greg Stevens, chief of the Consumer Credit Trade Association, called the report findings “helpful as far as they go” but said “there is a much longer list of grievances that need closer attention”.
Nicky Morgan, chairman of the committee, said: “Trust in the FOS has been damaged. The report makes a series of recommendations for the board to consider. It must now demonstrate they are up to this job.”

Ms Wayman said: “We’ll be considering carefully what the review means for our service, keen to learn from the past so we can do things even better in the future. We will publish an update on our progress by the end of the year.”

Article taken from – The Telegrapgh

Posted by M White on 13 Jul 2018

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