CAB News 21 June 2019

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CAB News 21 June 2019

Friday 21 June 2019

Our research that revealed customers are left picking up a £172m bill for failed energy companies has been covered across national print and online media today.

National

Energy

Households face £172m bill from failed energy suppliers

Financial Times (subscription required), 21/06/2019, Nathalie Thomas

The report was covered in the Financial Times, which also revealed that some customers who owed money to failed suppliers had been subject to “aggressive” debt collection techniques from administrators.

We have recommended that suppliers be forced to make more frequent payments towards certain levies, such as those supporting renewable energy generation, to prevent the accumulation of large unpaid bills.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to foot the multimillion pound bill left behind when companies collapse — and they certainly shouldn’t lose their usual protections in the process,” said Gillian Guy.

Households face £172m bill after slew of energy suppliers fail

City AM, 21/06/2019, p10, August Graham

The story was also picked up by City AM, which reported on our call that consumers should not be left to pick up the bill for failed energy companies.

Companies that go bust are unable to pay their industry bills, such as for renewable energy generation. Funds for infrastructure and gas and electricity meters also have holes.

Gillian said: “This leads to people, including those in vulnerable circumstances, being contacted by debt collectors and asked for sums they can’t afford at very short notice.”

This story was also covered across major print media such as The Times, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, and The Guardian.

Consumer

Firms that overcharge loyal customers could face fines

Guardian, 19/06/2019, p13, Julia Kollewe

Image result for loyalty penalty scams

Our response to the government’s announcement that it plans to clamp down on the loyalty penalty by giving the Competition and Markets Authority new powers was included in a previous article by the Guardian.

It reported that we welcomed the move on the mobile phone loyalty penalty, but that this was just the tip of the iceberg.

“The FCA and Ofcom have had six months since the CMA issued its findings on our super complaint and there has been little progress,” Gillian Guy said.

“They need to set out their plans urgently on how they will tackle this systematic scam.”

Overcharging loyal customers will be banned under new plans unveiled by the Government

Daily Telegraph, 18/06/2019, p1, Sam Meadows

Our response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that the government plans to fine firms who charge customers for loyalty was featured on page 1 of the Daily Telegraph.

Our research has shown that loyal customers pay as much as £1,000 a year more than those who switch. That adds up to around £4billion in overpayments on mobile, broadband, savings, mortgages and insurance products.

Gillian Guy said: “It’s right that the Government wants to abolish the mobile phone loyalty penalty, which has cost consumers £341m since we made our super-complaint.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Across the four other essential markets we focused on, consumers have been left £2.6bn worse off since our super-complaint in September.”

Debt

Number of people with guarantor loan debt issues doubles

Daily Mail, 17/06/2019, George Nixon

Our figures that show the number of people coming to see us with problems relating to guarantor loans has doubled to 3,000 in the past three years were used in the Mail Online.

Our statistics also showed that one in two people who came to us with a problems had an issue with guarantor liability for the debt.

The figures were also used in the BBC’s 1pm news programme and on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme in advance of last night’s Panorama documentary, which investigated the high-cost-credit market in light of the collapse of Wonga.

Fiona Phillips investigates shocking truth behind high-interest guarantor loans

The Daily Mirror, 17/06/2019, p21, Siobhan McNally

Our statistics and a quote from Gillian Guy were used in a Daily Mirror story this morning that’s trailing Panorama’s investigation into guarantor loans, which is due to be aired on BBC1 this evening.

Our data showed that 3,000 people sought our help with this type of loan in the past 12 months, up from 1,500 in 2017.

Gillian said: “Agreeing to guarantee a loan for someone is not a decision to be made lightly.”

Watchdogs must take action on loyalty scams

Mail on Sunday, 16/06/2019, p94, Gillian Guy

An opinion piece by Gillian Guy that expressed disappointment on regulators’ lack of action on the loyalty penalty was featured in the Mail on Sunday yesterday.

“We understand that fixing problems like this takes time, but consumers continue to get ripped off every day this is allowed to continue,” Gillian wrote.

“The CMA was clear in its response that charging loyal customers more is not acceptable. It said it wanted to see urgent action and that the relevant regulators – Ofcom and the Financial Conduct Authority – needed to report back on their progress within six months.

“That six-month deadline is on Wednesday, and it would be fair to say we are disappointed by the lack of progress so far. ”

In other news

One city is to build its first council homes in 30 years.

Child poverty has increased since the launch of the Northern Powerhouse scheme.

Poverty among working families is rising, according to a new report.

Councils’ removal of “homeless camps” have trebled.