The Financial Services Authority has not used mystery shoppers for over a year and a half, according to a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC.
The FSA has told the BBC that no mystery shopping exercises have been carried out since March 2010, despite Hector Sants saying in March 2010 that the FSA would make more use of mystery shoppers.
Sarah Brooks, director of financial services at Consumer Focus, told the BBC: “It is a little surprising that the FSA hasn’t placed more of an emphasis on mystery shopping, which can be a useful tool in identifying consumer detriment.
“We accept that mystery shopping may not provide the hard evidence needed for enforcement action. However, it can act like a canary in a mineshaft – an indicator of problems.”