In her introduction to the latest issue of Ombudsman News, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)’s bi-monthly newsletter, chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman comments on how complaint trends differ between various age groups. She also makes reference to the recent studies which suggest today’s young people are set to be the first generation for some time to be worse off than their parents:

Ms Wayman commented:

“The question of whether younger people are worse off than their parents and grandparents has sparked media conversations, think-tank reports, and an ongoing Parliamentary inquiry. And the broader social trends underlying the debate – spanning money, lifestyles and longevity – will be reflected in the way people engage with financial services, and inevitably in the problems we see.”

The FOS chief adds that different age groups tend to complain about different things. Whilst payment protection insurance (PPI) remains responsible for the majority of complaints, Ms Wayman said that the under 25s rarely complained about this product – most of the mis-selling of PPI happened almost a decade ago.

Figures released by the FOS show that millennials and post-millennials (those born since 1980) are three times more likely than any other generation to complain about payday loans. They are also most likely to complain about current accounts (issues other than packaged bank accounts) and car and motorcycle insurance.

Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) complain more than other generations about packaged bank accounts and mortgages.

The babyboomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are the most likely to complain about personal pensions and term assurance.

The pre-babyboomers (born before 1946) are more likely than the other age groups to contact the FOS about portfolio management, savings accounts, travel insurance, whole-of-life insurance, buildings insurance and credit cards.

In total, those aged 25 and under are responsible for less than 1% of the FOS complaints workload.

Later in the bulletin, Simon Pugh, ombudsman manager, commented that age discrimination was now unlawful in financial services, unless certain exceptions applied. This comment was made in reference to the fact that around two thirds of age discrimination complaints the FOS sees concern mortgages, and there have certainly been press reports indicating many lenders’ reluctance to grant mortgages to those aged 40 and over, perhaps because they fear the borrowers will have difficulty maintaining payments should they retire before the end of the mortgage term.

Mr Pugh called on lenders to give more details of why they had refused applications, by saying:

“I think there’s still work to be done around the communication of lending decisions – thinking about what the outcome means for that individual customer and, where it’s not in their favour, how much they actually could be told about why that is. Of course, lenders might not want to share information that’s commercially sensitive. But our experience suggests that the more open the conversations that happen early on, the less chance there is of complaints being escalated.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.