Last week Which? and Moneysavingexpert.com started a campaign for claims firms to clean up their act what outcome are you seeking?
We want consumers to get a fair deal. We want claims firms to stop cold calling and cut out upfront fees, publish their terms and conditions online, and base fees on the money paid to consumers, not reductions in future loan repayments. We also want them to advise potential customers of the free options and not to assert that they improve their chances of success or a higher payout than if they made a claim independently.
From your research how detrimental to consumers are aggressive claims firms?
Consumers stand to lose a significant sum of money to these firms. On average, the charge is 30% of the compensation sum and with the typical award issued by the Ombudsman for an upheld payment protection insurance claim coming to £2,750, we’re talking about £825 per consumer.
Should these firms be subject to tougher regulation, perhaps under the Financial Services Authority?
We want the Ministry of Justice to send the message that there will be consequences for misleading consumers. It needs to act quickly where firms are found to be breaking the rules and it must stop dodgy companies from trading. If the MoJ doesn’t have the tools or resources, the government should address this urgently.
If you were in charge of the FSA for a day what would you do?
I’d lobby the government to make financial education mandatory in schools from an early age.
Do you have any secret talents?
I used to be a stand-up comic but that’s more about bravery than talent. I’m a pretty good cook and can make that helium balloon voice without helium, which probably means I’ve got something wrong with my throat.
What has been your most extravagant purchase?
My house. We could have bought one in the same street for about £20,000 cheaper but we settled on this one in spite of the cost. Aside from that, it’s got to be records and CDs. I recently bought the soundtrack to a 1970s Japanese detective show on vinyl for around £50. That may not sound extravagant but I don’t have a record player.
What book are you reading?
I just started Dexter is Delicious the latest story about the serial killer with a heart of gold. Most people think it’s just a television show but the books are even better.
Interview by Samuel Dale