The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) revealed this week that there has been a 37 per cent increase in the number of complaints it received about mortgages in the last quarter.

Between July and September this year, the FOS received some 2,796 complaints, compared to just 2,044 over the past three months. The FOS also received 895 complaints in the third quarter of 2011 concerning mortgage endowments, considerably more than the 603 received in the previous three months.

The main source of complaints to the Ombudsman was – as ever – to do with the alleged mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI), which made up 38 per cent of all complaints. Complaints about credit card accounts made up 11.5 per cent and current accounts 8.5 per cent.

Complaints about mortgages were only 5 per cent of the total, although this was higher than Q2.

Despite the increase in mortgage complaints, however, the number that the Ombudsman resolved in favour of the complainant was down on the previous quarter. In Q2, 36 per cent of rulings were in favour of the consumer, as opposed to just 33 per cent in Q3. There was a small increase in the number of resolutions in favour of the consumer regarding mortgage endowment complaints – 28 per cent in Q3, compared to 26 per cent in Q2 – but in general the level of complaints rejected by the FOS rose slightly.

A spokesman for the FOS told the Guardian newspaper: “Aside from PPI, there’s been an increase in the number of cases we upheld in other areas, including home emergency cover, where we’re upholding two in three cases, point-of-sale loans, and debt adjusting. Though many factors can drive complaints, it may be that in the current economic climate more consumers are experiencing financial difficulties and are more willing to pursue a complaint where previously they may not have done so.”

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