Halifax issued revised offer masquerading as my advice

From Anne Robson

Halifax products have seldom been at the top of my sourcing results when advising clients on suitable mortgages.

But recently I had a case where the Halifax deal on offer was number one and in due course I submitted an online application. The valuation was carried out and an offer produced on September 9 . I went on holiday for a week and came back to find a revised offer from Halifax. The only difference was the mysterious inclusion of figures for buildings insurance of 17.33 per month and contents cover of 26.86 per month – a total of 44.19 per month.

So Halifax has issued a revised offer, masquerading as my advice, which shows insurances I have not quoted for, certainly at a 25% higher cost than the product I did quote for (33.22 per month in total), and the remortgage has now completed.

The Birmingham mortgage desk investigated this and identified the rogue member of staff responsible and cancelled the policies. I shall, of course, be submitting a formal complaint about this blatant attempt at not just cross-selling but an illegal misrepresentation of the advice I offered my client.

Ironically, the insurance I recommended to the client was with Paymentshield, which offers not only a lower premium but also three months’ free cover at onset. Paymentshield is associated with HBOS now, with its underwriters St Andrews Insurance being part of the HBOS group and based in Halifax. I wonder what the FSA would make of that?