FSA backs Which? campaign against claims firms

The Financial Services Authority is backing the Which? and MoneySavingExpert.com campaign against claims firms.

The consumer organisations have launched a marketing campaign against unscrupulous claims firms that charge consumers a fee without telling them there is a free alternative.

The campaign seeks to address consumer confusion over the fee-charging structures of claims firms after research showed one in four consumers were unaware claims firms charged a fee.

There has been a deluge of claims from these firms in light of the payment protection insurance mis selling scandal.

Speaking to the Chartered Institute of Bankers today Martin Wheatley, managing director of the consumer and markets business unit at the FSA, threw his weight behind the campaign.

He says: “A significant proportion of these complaints have been driven by claims management companies, and I am sure they annoy you as much as they do me.

“There is no need for consumers to use a claims manager where it is free and easy to complain to a firm directly, so I welcome banks getting together with Which? and Money Saving Expert to make the process clearer and simpler for consumers.”

Wheatley pledged to continue talking with the Ministry of Justice, which regulates claims firms, to tell them about poor practices of claims managers.

He says the best solution is for customers to have confidence that the firms that sold payment protection insurance will take their complaints seriously, treat them fairly and make the process easy for them.

He adds: “Throughout this year we expect firms to write to customers who could be due compensation and explain clearly what their options are.  We will then be testing whether banks are providing redress to consumers where they should be. 

“This has been a sorry episode for many of us, but it is important that we all continue to deliver what is fair for consumers and learn from the experience.”