FOS highlights Brits’ mortgage concerns

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has revealed how recent months have seen a considerable upturn in the number of people across the UK contacting …

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has revealed how recent months have seen a considerable upturn in the number of people across the UK contacting the organisation in regard to issues with their mortgage borrowings.

Key figures published by the FOS show that in the last year, approximately 25,000 Britons have contacted the body to receive help and advice regarding home finance concerns.

At the same time, the FOS has handled a record number of cases about mortgages and secured loans (13,659) – of which, the ombudsman upheld around one-third of the complaints.

However, the organisation showed that in many instances, the preferred resolution of individuals facing difficulties with mortgage borrowings was simply unrealistic, with people asking for indefinite suspension of payments or interest, as well as writing off debts.

The most common areas of complaint the FOS has dealt with in the last year included arrears handling, charges, repossession, post-repossession issues and recovery of shortfalls.

In many cases, individuals also complained to the FOS regarding lenders' practices when it comes to sales and advice on mortgage products, problems with administration, disputes over valuations, the charging of upfront fees and allegations of suitability, misrepresentation or misleading literature.

Chief ombudsman Tony Boorman commented: "Many of the cases where people face losing their home have been heartbreaking to deal with – but could potentially have been avoided. So, if money is tight, you should never be afraid to ask for help or guidance.

"Speak up sooner rather than later, there's a lot that can be done to help before things get out of hand."

He added that borrowers and lenders should work together to address any problems when they arise. Burying one's head in the sand and hoping that financial issues will just go away is rarely – if ever – the answer.

However, anyone faced with mortgage issues must be realistic in the outcome they hope to achieve.

Posted by Joe White

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