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Ombudsman set to take lead on mortgage complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service says it might be forced to make more lead decisions on dual-price mortgage complaints that do not fit the criteria of typical cases previously upheld.

In the October issue of its Ombudsman News, it says it recently issued its final decision on the last of a series of lead cases intended to pro-vide a formula to be followed for future complaints but admits this may not see an end to the situation.

Over the past year, it has ruled against HSBC, Nationwide, Halifax, Cheltenham & Gloucester and Abbey National. But, as only Nationwide decided to compensate all borrowers in similar circumstances, complaints have continued to be received about some of the other lenders.

The ombudsman describes this “complex and high-profile subject” as “undoubtedly the hottest banking topic we have dealt with” because it is the first time that consumers have questioned the whole concept of interest rates.

It has upheld 5,000 complaints on dual-priced mortgages but says it cannot confirm how many have been received in total as they are still coming in.

Ombudsman spokesman David Cresswell says: “There are a small number of people coming to us because they see something different in their complaint than in the lead decisions but numbers are in tens rather than thousands. “

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