Friday 10 May 2019
Our comment on gaps in protection for people using high-cost credit and loyal customers was featured in the Independent.
Payday loan scandals
Without financial regulation, payday loan scandals continue to hit the poorest the hardest
Independent/Yahoo News, 09/05/2019, James Moore
An investigation into gaps in protections for consumers using high-cost credit by the Independent featured a comment from our Principal Policy Manager Joe Lane.
“The [payday loan] caps are good where they’re used, but some types of loans aren’t covered, such as doorstep lending. It’s one of the most common forms of high-cost credit problem we see and leads to debt spirals because people often repeat borrow to keep up with repayments,” he said.
“There is also the loyalty penalty, which is where customers are penalised for simply being loyal to their provider. We’ve found this occurs in the mobile phone, broadband, home insurance, mortgage and savings markets and our research shows it’s vulnerable people who are more likely to pay this penalty.”
Complaints by households about gardeners and homebuilders have gone up 20%
Western Morning News, 08/05/2019, Elise Faulkner
Our research that showed consumer complaints about homebuilders and gardeners are on the rise was covered in the Morning News.
The story reported that many of the 60,000 issues we hear are about unfinished or poor quality work.
It features our advice on shopping around, being strict on quotes, and keeping copies of receipts and other communications.
Being smart with your phone can save money
Grazia, 08/05/2019, p.95, Laura Whateley
Fashion magazine Grazia has featured our advice on how to choose a phone contract.
Government tackles bailiff bad practice
Your Money, 08/05/2019, Cherry Reynard
Our response to the official public statement on improving fairness in debt collection practices across central and local government by the Cabinet Office Fairness Group was featured on several consumer websites including Your Money and Credit Strategy. Our full reactive statement can be seen here.
Energy customers miss out on £5.1 million compensation they’re owed
The Mirror, 03/05/2019, Josie Clarke
Our research that revealed energy customers have missed out on an estimated £5.1 million in compensation over the last three years was covered by the Mirror.
Energy network operators are required to meet 39 guaranteed standards of service set by regulator Ofgem, including how they respond to emergencies, their complaints procedures, and the speed of reconnection after bad weather.
Gillian Guy said: “This money should be in customers’ pockets. We want Ofgem to get tougher with the energy network companies so that customers automatically receive all the compensation they’re entitled to.
“Guaranteed standards should mean guaranteed compensation. At the very least there should be a system of financial penalties for those energy firms who still don’t proactively pay people what they’re due.”
This story also featured on BBC Radio 4’s news bulletins and was reported by trade mag Utility Week.
3 things we are saying
1. Rule-breaking bailiffs push people into more debt.
Our Principal Policy Manager Joe Lane told the Justice Committee that 1 in 3 people contacted by bailiffs see them break the rules, such as bailiffs taking goods that someone needs to do their job. This can force people to fall behind on bills and get into a “debt spiral”. We want government to introduce an independent regulator to stop bailiffs breaking the rules.
2. We’ll continue to work with government to end unfair tenant fees.
The Tenant Fees Bill passed through the House of Lords last week. During its journey through parliament, we raised concerns around a paragraph on damages. We welcome the government’s strong assurances on this, and will continue to work to make sure guidance on this is as clear as possible.
3. Switching energy suppliers can take just a few minutes.
This week is Big Energy Saving Week, we are encouraging people to check, switch and save on their energy bills. Our price comparison tool can help.
Help with Universal Credit benefit applications available from Citizens Advice Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight County Press, 09/05/2019
The launch of Help to Claim at Citizens Advice Isle of Wight has been covered by the County Press.
The story said the team at Citizens Advice Isle of Wight offers face-to-face support and advice at Ryde and Newport Job Centres, and at other outreach locations throughout the Island.
In other news
The government said it will foot the £200m bill to replace Grenfell-type cladding on more than 150 privately owned tower blocks.
Benefit cuts have made private renting unaffordable.
More than 5,000 people were victim to holiday booking fraud last year.
A local authority has criticised the slow response to Universal Credit errors.