Halifax denies pushy sales tactics

Halifax has refuted claims that it is aggressively cross-selling insurance products to new mortgage clients.

Emmanuel Hemmings, an independent mortgage broker based in Coventry, claims his clients are being repeatedly harassed by Halifax to take on contents insurance products despite being told it will be provided by the broker.

Hemmings says: “In all four cases I have submitted to Halifax, my clients have been repeatedly primed for contents insurance and the like. This is aggressive cross-selling.”

But Paul Fincham, spokesman for Halifax, says: “When a mortgage application is received, we make a courtesy call as standard practice to check if the client is covered for other insurance needs. If they are not, we provide them with a quote. We simply present them with an opportunity.”

Although the Financial Services Authority has introduced regulations outlawing cold calling without prior notification from the consumer, Halifax is not contravening any rule. Home and contents insurance are covered by ICOB which does not have the same lead generation restrictions as MCOB.

Robin Gordon-Walker, spokes-man for the FSA, says: “There is no bar on firms doing this. While the basis of the call and what has prompted it should be explained, this does not flout any rule.

“The FSA has not gone down the route of stopping salesmanship as we don’t want to stop the industry working. It is important not to over-regulate.”