The regulator has said that bank charges have halved on average since 2007. But we think the banks must move further and faster to treat consumers more fairly. So we will legislate to impose fair charges if progress on this is not good enough.
If re-elected we will bring back – as quickly as possible – our legislation to give consumers a right to take collective legal action against the banks. The Conservatives blocked this in the last week of Parliament in April.
And we will make it easier for everyone to switch their accounts to take advantage of better deals. We’ll do this by bringing in portable account numbers for everyone, which will be transferable like your mobile phone number, to take the hassle out of switching.
Martin Lewis and I were in touch about this last year when the Office of Fair Trading was carrying out its investigation. Like Martin and many Money Saving Expert subscribers, I thought the Supreme Court ruling in December was a huge blow for consumers and we called for the OFT to look at other ways of getting a fair deal for consumers.
For me, this issue highlights precisely why we need a new, powerful consumer champion to stop these sorts of problems from arising and fight even harder for consumers when they do. Our proposed Consumer Protection Agency would provide this kind of protection. It would take on the OFT’s powers for regulation and be given a clear mandate from government to protect consumers and punish banks who do the wrong thing. So for example, it would require far more transparency over bank charges, it will name and shame banks that break the rules and it will levy significantly larger fines that we have seen in the past.
What’s more, we have also called for a competition review of the banking sector, including a close examination of bank charges. We need much more fairness and transparency when it comes to these issues, and a Conservative government would work to bring that about.
It really is a scandal. The UK banks only exist because they have been bailed out by British taxpayers, yet financial service companies are still ripping people off – I don’t think that’s putting it too strongly. It means that customers who slip into minor difficulties can see mountains of debts pile up. Legal action against the banks hasn’t worked, so we will legislate to end unfair bank charges on unauthorised overdrafts, bounced cheques, or failed direct debits.
Any charges really have to relate to what these mistakes actually cost the banks (I’d like a similar rule for transaction charges like credit cards to crack down on unscrupulous companies like Ryanair who seem to charge you just for breathing!). As for charges from the past, while it’s usually a very bad idea to pass retrospective legislation – I believe the banks have a moral obligation to pay them back. The idea that chief executives taking home millions of pounds a year can begrudge people struggling to get by a few hundred pounds simply beggars belief.
Smasher wrote: »
So you lot should vote for me!:idea:So you lot should vote for me! :idea:So you lot should vote for me! :idea:
New plans have just been announced by the Government
DON'T assume your landlord covers you
Incl £2ish sun cream & £1.50 disposable BBQs