R.E.S.P.E.C.T – five ways you don’t get enough

Written by Michael Fotis on 3rd Nov 2015

At smartmoneypeople.com, we found that 10% of all consumers feel unfairly treated by their financial providers, so we looked at the top reasons.

Business banking came out worst for treating customers unfairly – 18.4% of people feel unfairly treated by their business bank account provider. Followed by mortgages – 13% are unhappy with the way their lender treats them.

How different products stack-up:

Business Banking: 18.4%

Mortgages: 13%

Current Accounts: 8.8%

Credit Cards: 7.3%

Car Insurance: 5.6%

Home Insurance: 2%

HSBC scored particularly poorly across both mortgages and business banking, Santander for mortgages and Lloyds Bank for business banking.
HSBC: Business Banking review

What does it mean to be treated fairly?

Treating customers fairly is something the Financial Conduct Authority is pretty hot on, but “fair” is a bit open to interpretation.

So, to be clear, here is what people have told us THEY think unfair means.

1) Poor Customer Service
Unsurprisingly, rude staff or difficultly in getting hold of providers is the leading reason why customers felt unfairly treated. The feeling that “no matter how small the problem, it was always a hassle to get it sorted” was felt widely among this group.

2) Poor Communication
Not understanding why things were happening provoked a number of reviews. One consumer noted that her bank had “successfully upped my withdrawal cap from £500 to unlimited meaning I had £900 stolen from my account. When I asked why it wasn’t stopped after £500? I was told ‘sometimes we take that off certain accounts’.”

3) Poor Interest Rates
Many savers felt it unfair that their savings rates have been gradually eroded. In particular, a number of consumers felt that their loyalty to a provider should have shielded them from another round of rate reductions.

4) Removal of incentives / reduction in servicing quality
As banks in particular seek to differentiate, servicing tiers have become common. In the words of one consumer “now you just have a generic Premier phone number and counter in branch. I see no advantage to have Premier anymore.”

5) Processes
Barriers to getting things done or bad timing round up our top 5. Be it the credit card customer that was sent a text on Christmas Day with a balance update or another who attempted to “write to the mythical and uncontactable Card Services team” in order to seek a reduction in his 27.9% rate, when new customers were being offered 18.9%.

With 83% of all consumers telling us that they feel fairly treated, it’s worth remembering that there are many examples of happy customers (7% told us that they weren’t sure if they had been fairly treated).

The stats and top 5 reasons cited in this piece have come from 2,842 Smart Money People consumer reviews.

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