Financial Services Complaints Ltd says there was a 35% increase in complaints it opened for investigation in the yaer to 30 June 2018.
The company is operator of a dispute resolution scheme under the Financial Services Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008.
Its annual report for the 2017/18 year says complaints against insurers, in particular relating to travel insurance, once again made up the greatest proportion of cases investigated at just over a third. Complaints against lenders were the second largest category at about 21%.
During the year FSCL investigated and resolved 245 cases and received 4,859 consumer inquiries and complaints about financial services providers.
FSCL Chief Executive Officer Susan Taylor says the rise in travel insurance complaints correlates with more New Zealanders travelling overseas and more travel insurance being sold.
“We think the overall increase in complaints partly reflects the growing consumer awareness of the dispute resolution services available along with the extra resources we have put into publicising our services and working with consumer advocates. However, there is still room for improvement.”
Ms Taylor says responsible lending was a recurrent theme in complaints against lenders and she welcomes work to tighten up parts of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003.
“By and large, we find lenders are complying with responsible lending obligations and are doing their best to help borrowers facing a period of financial hardship. However, we have received complaints where lenders have not met their obligations, which has had severe consequences for borrowers."