PPI complaints surged by 40% in the second half of 2017, says regulator
PPI complaints surged in the second half of 2017 to their highest levels in over four years, the City regulator has said.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said complaints about PPI (payment protection insurance) rose by 40% to 1.55 million compared with 1.11 million in the first half of 2017.
This was the highest level of complaints about PPI since there were 1.79 million PPI complaints in the first half of 2013.
The upswing follows the launch of the FCA's media campaign in August 2017 to raise awareness about the deadline for complaining about the sale of PPI, which is August 29 2019.
A publicity drive featuring the animatronic head of Arnold Schwarzenegger has been reminding people to decide whether or not to make a complaint.
In January 2018 firms paid out £415.8 million in compensation to customers who complained about PPI.
The FCA said this was the highest figure since March 2016 and takes the amount paid since January 2011 to £30 billion.
Overall during the second half of 2017 a total of 3.76 million complaints were received by financial firms, an increase of 427,032 on the first half of the year.
Excluding PPI the number of complaints received by firms was 2.21 million, around 13,000 fewer than the previous six months.
After PPI, the next most complained about products were current accounts, with 509,047 complaints, followed by credit cards with 314,586 complaints.
Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: "Having set a deadline for PPI complaints, we are encouraging consumers to decide whether they want to claim, and if they do, to make their complaint as soon as possible, as many already have.
"We are continuing to monitor and challenge all firms to ensure they maintain the expected standards and are delivering on their commitments to make it easy for people to complain about PPI.
"When PPI is taken out of the mix, the numbers of complaints firms are receiving has remained stable. Firms should be doing all they can to reduce complaints and ensure they are treating customers fairly."
PPI was designed to cover repayments in certain circumstances such as if someone lost their job, had an accident or became ill but it was often mis-sold to people who did not want or need the product.
It was added onto products such as mortgages, credit cards, store cards and other finance agreements.