Mortgage complaints at all time high driven by increased numbers in arrears

14th May 2014

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The Financial Ombudsman Service says that a record number of people are complaining about their mortgage but that many are driven to do so because they have fallen far into arrears.

The complaints service says that last year 13,659 people – the highest number recorded – contacted the ombudsman for help with a mortgage or secured loan problem. Yet a third of those people had slipped into arrears before they sought help.

Of the remaining cases, the Ombudsman says it became clear that a large number of people struggling to make ends meet felt unable to say that they were facing significant financial problems – or were concerned about the impact of telling their lender of their situation.

The ombudsman has also been working with lenders to make it clear that they’re expected to get creative when helping people get back on track – especially before payments get missed.

FOS has also issued a list of key figures and statistics listed below.

FOS says the typical areas of complaint include problems directly related to financial difficulties, meeting payment plans or debt, including:

Other problems brought by people in arrears include:

The chief ombudsman, Tony Boorman says: “Mortgages are the most significant purchase most of us will make in our lives, so we understand why people might be reluctant to say that they’re struggling to pay for their home.

“Many of the cases where people face losing their home have been heart-breaking to deal with – but could potentially have been avoided. So if money is tight, you should never be afraid to ask for help or guidance. Speak up sooner rather than later, there’s a lot that can be done to help before things get out of hand.

“Consumers and lenders all have a responsibility to work together when problems arise. And though it pays to be realistic about the options available to you, if your lender isn’t listening, we’re here to give you practical, honest advice to help sort out your problem.”

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