With the new Consumer Duty set to come into effect next week, the Financial Conduct Authority has found that 7.4 million people unsuccessfully attempted to contact one or more of their financial services providers in the 12 months before May 2022.
The figure comes from the FCA’s latest Financial Lives survey with over 19,000 respondents.
Although 3.6 million were able to contact one of their providers, they could not get the information or support they wanted, and 4.3 million said they received the information they asked for but could not understand it or were sent it too late.
The regulator’s findings come only days away from the introduction of the Consumer Duty. The Duty will require firms to act to deliver good outcomes for consumers through helpful and responsive customer service, enabling people to make good decisions through communications people can understand.
The watchdog has promised to come down hard on firms that fail to meet their obligations, holding out the threat of "robust" enforcement action and disciplinary sanctions.
Sheldon Mills, executive director, consumers and competition comments: "Our Consumer Duty will guide our ongoing work to improve the way firms provide customer support - getting through to your provider is the starting point for receiving help, so we will be working with them to improve in this area."
The FCA’s survey also found that an increasing number of people are choosing to use digital banking, payments and other online services, with almost nine in ten adults (88% or 42.9 million) banking online or using a mobile app in 2022, up from 77% in 2017.