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End ‘sneaky’ charges, Which? tells Osborne

Consumer champion Which? has urged Chancellor George Osborne to put an end to “sneaky” mortgage fees and charges that often leave borrowers confused over which deal is best for them.

Research by Which? found more than 40 different fees and charges in the mortgage market, ranging from set-up fees and payments for arrears to application charges and final repayment fees.

The research also found that average arrangement fees have almost doubled in the past five years, from £878 in 2009 to £1,588 in 2014.

In many cases lenders use different names for the same fee – an application fee can also be called a booking or reservation fee.

Which? says the array of charges and fees blurs the true cost of a mortgage so that borrowers often do not know which is the best deal for them. 

Just 3 per cent of people surveyed by Which? could identify the cheapest of five two-year fixed-rate mortgages.

The consumer champion is calling for Osborne to use his Autumn Statement next month to speak out against the trend.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: “Homeowners could be paying over the odds for their mortgage because of the complex range of fees and charges that prevent them from finding the best deal.

“The Chancellor must act now to stop sneaky fees and charges and end mortgage confusion for consumers. 

“The Government and the regulator should also explore better ways of presenting the total cost of mortgages.”

More than 37,000 people have lent their support to the Which? campaign.

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