Rebecca Marsh, Property Ombudsman:
"2020 was a year like no other for all businesses and everyone had to quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. TPO effectively transitioned from an office-based service to a remote working operation with no loss of service. I’m extremely proud of the whole team who performed well whilst rising to the challenge of global events.
Our customer services team responded to another record volume of consumer enquiries with an ever-increasing number of people opting to contact us via TPO’s complaints portal, launched in February 2020. The pandemic is not over yet, so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues or adjusts as we slowly get back to normal.
Over 34,000 enquiries that did not go on to become accepted cases saw TPO effectively assist consumers in other ways, whether that be signposting them to the correct place or person, or giving advice and guidance to promote a local resolution between them and the agent. Providing an enquiry service is one of the unique functions of an ombudsmen, however the importance of helping consumers in such a complicated sector should not be understated, as often straightforward guidance can help stop disputes from arising in the first instance.
Enquiry levels in 2021 are already showing further year-on-year increases, 10% in quarter one and /% in quarter two and we are expecting this to continue as the impact of the pandemic on peoples relationships with their homes continues to play out.”
The full annual report is available in PDF [here] and all case summaries are available on the TPO website