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Financial Services Ombudsman reveals backlog of 3,500 complaints

The watchdog is struggling to keep up with the volume of complaints as a result of the economic crisis.

Bill Prazifka, Financial Services Ombudsman, speaking to RTÉ's Prime Time last night.
Bill Prazifka, Financial Services Ombudsman, speaking to RTÉ's Prime Time last night.
Image: RTE Player

THE FINANCIAL SERVICES OMBUDSMAN has revealed that his office is still trying to work through a backlog of 3,500 complaints made by the public against the country’s financial institutions.

Ombudsman Bill Prasifka told last night’s RTÉ Prime Time that his office had received 3,600 complaints in the first six months of the year, a record number in the history of his office.

While the backlog was not getting any bigger, Prasifka said his office was only just able to keep up with its deband, saying that while the backlog was not getting any bigger, his office was only staffed to “pre-crisis” levels when the volume of calls was smaller.

Similarly, his budget had not been increased in light of the extra volume of calls, saying his office would aim to do “more with less”.

The Irish Examiner reports that the FSO is currently staffed by about 30 people, and deals with complaints from customers who claim to have been treated unfairly by banks, insurance companies, credit unions, brokers, moneylenders, bureaux de change and hire purchase providers.

Prasifka took up the office of Financial Service Ombudsman earlier this year, following the retirement of Joe Meade in January. Prasifka, who was announced as taking the position in February, had previously worked as the aviation regulator.

Where a complaint made to the FSO is upheld, compensation of up to €250,000 can be awarded.

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Gavan Reilly

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