Car dealers overcharging customers by £300m a year, City watchdog warns

Regulator said dealers are failing to provide the proper information and explanations to customers

Caitlin Morrison
Monday 04 March 2019 09:39 GMT
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Motor dealers may be overcharging customers by more than £1,000 when they take out a car loan, the financial regulator has warned.

Commission models which give sellers the discretion to set interest rates and therefore earn higher commission have led to conflicts of interest meaning customers are paying more than they should, according to a new report from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

This has resulted in some customers being overcharged more than £1,000 in interest charges.

“We estimate this could be costing consumers £300m annually. This is unacceptable and we will act to address harm caused by this business model,” said Jonathan Davidson, the FCA’s executive director of supervision for retail and authorisations.

“We also have concerns that firms may be failing to meet their existing obligations in relation to pre-contract disclosure and explanations, and affordability assessments. This is simply not good enough and we expect firms to review their operations to address our concerns.”

The watchdog carried out mystery shopping as part of its investigation into the motor finance sector, and found that customers were not always given complete, clear or easy to understand information about finance deals.

The FCA also said it was “not satisfied that all lenders were complying with the rules on assessing creditworthiness including affordability”.

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