By Daniel Hunter

Last year saw a 92% increase in cases taken up by the financial ombudsman service, signalling a lack of trust on the behalf of consumers.

The chief ombudsman said that individuals were also more aware of their rights and more willing to complain.

Hardly surprising was claims for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) dominating, accounting for 74% of complaints, although most sectors saw a rise in complaints.

The financial ombudsman service (FOS) is free for consumers. It has the legal power to sort out problems between financial businesses and their customers from across the UK.

Its remit covers most aspects of financial services, from mortgages to mobile phone insurance and pet insurance to payday loans.

The FOS received more than two million initial enquiries and complaints from consumers, its annual report showed. This led to 508,881 new cases being opened in 2012-13, a record number for the service.

"We have seen a much stronger consumer voice in the last year, with people becoming more aware of their rights and less willing to put up with poor customer service," chief financial ombudsman Natalie Ceeney said.

"As levels of confidence in financial services have eroded, it is disappointing that we still have not seen any significant improvement in complaints handling.

"Too many financial businesses still seem unable to sort out problems themselves, without the ombudsman having to get involved."

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