Credit card complaints made to FOS up by 10% in 2011

The Financial Ombudsman Service says that that the number of credit card-related requests it received in 2011 went up by 10 per cent, it was recently reported.

More than 19,100 complaints were made from May 2011 to April 2012, the highest figure since 2001, when records originally begun being kept by the FOS.  The lion’s share of complaints dealt with issues caused by refunds for unsuitable goods.

Consumers are automatically offered legal protection when purchasing goods or services with plastic, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.  If goods are not fit for purpose or found to be faulty upon arrival, or if they never arrive to begin with, consumers have the right to claim their funds back from the provider of their credit card, but the FOS deals with approximately 100 complaints on a weekly basis where a provider refuses to return a customer’s cash.

The watchdog attributed the rise in complaints volume to higher levels of consumer awareness regarding their legal rights.  An additional factor contributing to the heightened number of complaints is that consumers have become much more cautious with how they spend their money due to the rocky economic landscape.

The FOS typically upholds approximately 6 out of every 10 credit-card related complaints that are brought before it.  One out of every two of the complaints it handles overall concern issues consumers have with financial services and products.

Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman, commented on the recent announcement, stating that it has become increasingly important that consumers know their rights in the event of something going wrong when using credit – especially in an economic climate that necessitates people to tighten their belts as much as possible.  Ms Ceeney urged consumers to speak to the ombudsman if they have a complaint and are unsure of where to turn to in order to get it resolved.

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