Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) opened 8,146 complaints in first half of 2017 (ending 30 June), according to complaints data released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This was more than any other captive lender. Mitigating this was the fact that Volkswagen Group also sold more cars than any other manufacturer. Volkswagen and Audi alone represented 14% of all new cars sold in the first half of 2017.
Following VWFS, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services received 5,490 complaints, while BMW Financial Services and PSA Finance UK opened 3,525 and 2,954 complaints, respectively.
GMAC, which finances Vauxhall cars and was acquired by PSA Finance and BNP Paribas in the second half of 2017, after PSA Group acquired GM’s European operations, recieved 2,756 complaints.
Coming in with less 1,000 complaints opened were RCI Financial Services (793 complaints) and FCE Bank (568 complaints).
The FCA does not publish complaints data for companies which received less than 500 complaints.
It is harder to compare like-for-like in the independent market, as the reporting periods for different firms varied on some occasions, while in a number of cases motor finance complaints were wrapped up in group parent data.
For example FirstRand Bank recorded 2,812 for the half year ending 30 June, and some of these may have involved MotoNovo.
Similarly, Moneyway’s parent group Secure Trust Bank received 5,102 complaints, and Close Brothers Group received 13,157 complaints.
The only pure motor finance independents with over 500 complaints were Black Horse, with 915, MoneyBarn with 1,988 and Startline, with 646.
These figures were generally above the amount recorded for H2 2016 due to changes in FCA reporting requirements. Prior to 29 June 2016, it did not require firms to submit complaints data for complaints resolved by the end of the following business day after they were received. From 30 June 2016 the rule changed so that all complaints become reportable.
Under the new system, the FCA recorded 3.32m complaints from 3,160 firms, which puts the number of complaints received by motor finance lenders in perspective. 97% of these were received by 226 firms which received 500 or more complaints. About a third of complaints were related to PPI.
Christopher Woolard, FCA executive director of strategy and competition, said:
“We now require firms to report all complaints which gives us a fuller picture of where the industry might not be meeting customer needs. But even allowing for the change in reporting rules, and some progress made, the numbers are still significant.
“Firms need to do all they can to reduce complaints and ensure that they are working in the best interests of consumers.”