The deadline for consumers making complaints to businesses for mis-sold PPI was 29 August 2019. In light of that deadline, the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”) received a 72% rise in complaints in the last quarter months of 2019. Data released last week showed the total number of PPI complaints in that period was more than 2 million.
Which? consumer rights expert Adam French said the surge in awareness caused by the PPI deadline, partly generated prompted by the FCA’s high profile advertising campaign last year, could have contributed to this rise in numbers, with consumers (some no doubt encouraged by claims farmers) submitting speculative complaints “just to check” as the August 2019 cut-off loomed.
Despite the surge in enquiries in the last quarter of 2019, only 16.5% of PPI complaints were upheld by the FOS in the period – a much lower number than in previous periods or for other banking or insurance products. Overall, that suggests that some of the recent complaints may have been ambitious, over egged or simply lacking in merit. But the FOS said it will still, in all likelihood, be dealing with PPI complaints until the end of 2020.
Looking more widely, whilst PPI compensation pay-outs to consumers (£40 billion since 2011) have been a drain on the UK banking industry, some commentators have argued that they may have actually buoyed up the British economy in recent years. George Buckley, Nomura’s chief economist, has estimated that the PPI deadline could actually trigger a 0.3% decline in consumer spending.