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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Egg Fined by FSA

Egg, the Internet bank, has been fined £721K by the FSA for serious failings in the way it sold payment protection insurance (PPI) to its credit card customers. The FSA has also ordered it to pay compensation, which could cost £10M.

The FSA found that Egg had instructed sales staff to use hard-sell techniques on those who proved reluctant buyers.

These included over-emphasising the benefits of the cover, or telling customers they could take it out for free for a limited period and then cancel. The Guardian notes that Egg, in some cases, applied the cover to a customer's credit card even when they had not agreed to buy it.

Is it any wonder people despise the banks?

PPI misselling ranks with the misselling of endowment mortgages and personal pensions as one of the major financial scandals of the last 20 years. The bottom line being that PPI is overpriced and in many cases when a claim is made useless, as the insurers do their best to wriggle out of their obligations.

The FSA said telephone sales by Egg staff of PPI failed in its standard tests in 40% of cases between January 2005 and December 2007. Egg sold more than 106,000 PPI policies at an average cost of £156 during that period.

Egg will now write to customers who bought the cover, offering them the chance to cancel their policy and get a full refund. The FSA said that if everyone claims a refund, the bank would face a charge of over £10M.

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