Revealed: Common COVID-related financial services complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service continues to receive an influx of COVID-related complaints from consumers and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), bringing to light new and complex issues that the industry would not have anticipated before the pandemic.

As of writing, the Financial Ombudsman Service has received over 3,500 complaints related to COVID-19. Most complaints revolved around travel insurance (23%), followed by business protection insurance (20%), credit cards (9%), current accounts (7%), commercial lending (6%), and others (35%).

Many consumers found themselves in debt or financial difficulty due to the pandemic. At the same time, SMEs complained that they did not have cover under their business interruption insurance policy to make a successful claim.

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The Financial Ombudsman Service noted that many of the issues faced by consumers and SMEs were unfamiliar. Meanwhile, some common issues worsened due to the pandemic.

One of the most common complaints came from people who could not repay a loan, with many now facing financial difficulties caused by the impacts of COVID-19.

“For example, we’ve long been able to look at complaints from people who find themselves unable to repay a loan, but the pandemic has meant people who’d not previously faced financial difficulties are now doing so, while some who were already struggling are finding things even more difficult,” the Financial Ombudsman Service said.

“We’ve heard how consumers have been affected by the leisure and travel industries’ handling of cancelled holidays and events – and of course how the lockdown has affected small businesses that haven’t been able to trade.”