Brokers must have the option of buying leads

Ask the average person their views on loyalty and they\'ll probably pooh-pooh the very notion. So it is with mixed feelings that I am being disloyal in some respects to my fellow columnist, Peter Mounty.

I’d like to say that I have great respect for everything I have read in Peter’s columns – until last week’s Mortgage Strategy article on mortgage leads, that is.

The very thought of anyone associated with the financial services, mortgage or insurance industry using the Latin phrase caveat emptor (buyer beware) makes me break out in a sweat.

These are not the words of some idealistic old crony but the views of someone who has championed the movement against mis-selling in all its shapes and forms for many years.

For those of you who may have missed the article, Mounty argued that those that bought “duff” mortgage leads deserved what they got – nothing for their money.

I don’t mean to chastise Peter or argue with him as we are all entitled to our opinion – I simply wish to exercise my rights to express my opinion on the subject of mis-selling.

Mis-selling – ripping people off – cannot be condoned by anybody.

We have all heard of the so-called Nigerian scam whereby you send off your bank details to somebody purporting to be a former head of state in Nigeria and he will deposit a trillion pounds in your bank provided you send 2,000 to cover admin charges.

But this is slightly different as some takers are na, some desperate and some plain stupid. But you cannot compare this type of scam with ‘professional’ companies selling mortgage leads via established trade publications.

If Mounty’s views are shared by publishers, surely they too are guilty of aiding and abetting the act of theft, or at the very least being party to mis-selling.

Strong words, I hear you mutter, but let’s get things in perspective. Many thousands of mortgage brokers have bought leads and, equally, many companies have invested in setting up the means to provide this valuable service to brokers.

According to a straw poll conducted by MS recently, 42% of brokers believe they get value for money from lead generation companies so Mounty’s article is bound to please the majority.

It should be important to MS readers or those daft enough to read other trade publications that if they read about lead generation companies advertised in these reputable publications, those companies mentioned are not blatantly mis-selling.

Indeed it may be just a posh Latin phrase that disguises the practice of mis-selling when we choose to say caveat emptor. Is it reason enough to rip people off? I think not.

Brokers work bloody hard for their money in a fiercely competitive marketplace and the last thing they need is to be ripped off not only by the cost of the lead but also in terms of the time they spend in dealing with it.

Then there is the other argument that one should not tarnish all companies, no matter what industry they serve, with the same brush. As Paul McCartney sang: “There is good and bad in everyone,” and the same applies to mortgage lead generation companies.

It’s not my intention to promote or defend lead generation companies in this article, but I have always advised that companies should have a diverse range of marketing tools at their disposal and buying leads can and does suit many.

Let’s hear no more talk of people “bleating” when they are ripped off. Me, I’d scream like the proverbial stuck pig if ever I was ripped off and would expect anybody else to do likewise.