Side corridor of lounge and a peek view of the docks.

FOS to award 'distress and inconvenience' compensation for unsuccessful complaints

28 April 2011

Today's Ombudsman News leads with a plea to resolve PPI complaints following the High Court's ruling in BBA v FSA & FOS and includes a note about awarding compensation for 'distress and inconvenience' even where the underlying complaint is not upheld.

The FOS says "The lack of co-operation from some financial businesses has made it difficult to progress PPI cases since the launch of this legal challenge. However, the clear-cut judgment means that banks and other financial businesses should now be in the position to deal promptly, efficiently and fairly with their customers’ PPI complaints".

None of the Ombudsman News case studies refers to distress and inconvenience caused by complaints handling, let alone PPI complaints handling, but the Chief Ombudsman's introduction complained that "The approach taken by the businesses involved in this legal action has meant that we have not been able to resolve as many of these cases as we would have hoped. This has led to delays, uncertainty and frustration for the consumers involved – large numbers of whom have seen little or no progress on their PPI complaints for many months."

Am I alone in reading this Ombudsman News as a threat to banks that (subject to any appeal) further 'delays, uncertainty and frustration' in their PPI complaints handling will be treated, hereafter, as the sort of exceptional circumstance in which FOS "may also tell a business to pay compensation for distress and inconvenience it has caused by particularly poor handling of a complaint, even if we do not uphold the underlying complaint itself"?