Complaints about the mis-selling of bank accounts, which charge a monthly fee and offer a package of extras such as mobile phone and travel insurance, are up in Stockport, according to the Financial Services Ombudsman.
The highest number of financial complaints in Stockport still come from people concerned about Payment Protection Insurance but these are tailing off and worries about so-called ‘Packaged bank accounts’ have leapt into second place.
Most of the complaints about packaged bank accounts come from people who felt they were mis-sold the accounts because they were not told that there was another option of opening a free bank account without any monthly charges.
Figures from the Financial Services Ombudsman nationally for the last financial year 2014/15 revealed that there were 21,348 complaints about packaged bank accounts – which was a massive 278 per cent increase on 2013/14 when there were only 5,667.
In Stockport during the last financial year 2014/15, 796 people living in Stockport contacted the Financial Ombudsman helpline about all types of financial cases and this led to 469 complaints being taken up and investigated.
The top five most complained about products last year from people living in Stockport were PPI, packaged bank accounts, current accounts, house mortgages and credit card accounts.
The year before packaged bank accounts were not in Stockport’s top five.
However, in Stockport as in other parts of the UK, there has been an increase in the number of complaints about other financial products – particularly banking and credit related products.
Packaged bank accounts are current accounts that come with a “package” of extra features – from mobile phone and travel insurance, to better rates on overdrafts and loans. They might be called things like “reward”, “premium” or “gold” accounts – and there’s usually a monthly fee.
Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport, said: “The Financial Ombudsman offers a free service set up by law with the power to sort out problems between consumers and financial business.
“It is important that people in Stockport know where to go if they are faced with financial problems.
“In most areas of the UK there has been an increase in the number of complaints about banking and credit related products. So this is an area we must be vigilant about. It is important that people are given accurate information so that they can make informed decisions about managing their finances.”