Money alert: Homeserve fined £31m

HomeServe has been slapped with a record fine of £30.6m by the City watchdog. The company – which offers insurance against burst pipes, broken gas boilers and electrical problems – has also been forced to hand out £17m in compensation to customers hit by its practices.

The Financial Conduct Authority said HomeServe mis-sold insurance, handled complaints badly, ignored compliance matters and cared more about incurring costs than customer risks.

The offences were no one-off, continuing over a period of six and a half years between January 2005 and October 2011. The watchdog said it considered the failings to be particularly serious given that a significant proportion of HomeServe customers were of retirement age and therefore more vulnerable.

On top of the fine, HomeServe has already compensated customers to the tune of almost £13m, but is expected to pay out about £4m more. It said everyone hit by the scandal will have been contacted by the end of March.

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