Credit Disputes trending towards increases
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FOS disputes and resolutions up in 2012
There was another significant jump in the number of disputes both received and resolved by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in 2011-2012, according to the latest FOS annual review.
Disputes received rose 19 per cent from the previous year to 36,099, following a 27 per cent increase the previous year. FOS accepted 25,298 disputes (up 24 per cent on the previous year) into its formal dispute resolution process, which happens when a dispute can't be resolved directly between a customer and a financial services provider.
The number of accepted disputes resolved jumped 31 per cent from the previous year to 24,983.
The proportion of disputes resolved by agreement also rose, from 71 to 74 per cent, along with a slight increase in disputes resolved within 60 days (from 50 to 52 per cent) and within 120 days (from 68 to 71 per cent).
"Of those disputes received we're resolving more, so we're more than keeping pace with numbers. We're focusing on early agreed resolutions and cooperation with applicants," said FOS chief ombudsman Shane Tregillis.
The overall increase was attributable to a number of factors, including ongoing fallout from the global financial crisis, several natural disasters, and increasing consumer awareness of FOS, Tregillis said.
The rise was largely driven by credit disputes, which made up half of all disputes accepted. Financial difficulty disputes jumped 42 per cent from 6102 to 8659, up from just 2648 in 2009-10.
Investment disputes were down 14 per cent, which Tregillis said might be due to the numbers falling back to normal levels after rising due to the GFC.
Tregillis said FOS also planned to build on its secured services, which allowed members to track disputes online, as a way to improve efficiency and engagement.
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