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12 January 2024, 15:46

Simplified Car Loan Claims Process Under Consideration by Financial Conduct Authority

The news yesterday that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had opened an investigation around the concept of discretionary commission. 

Today we hear that The  Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is contemplating the introduction of a simplified claims process amid concerns of widespread unfair treatment of car buyers, linked to discretionary commission agreements between lenders and car dealers or brokers. This move could pave the way for a significant number of complaints and compensation claims from millions of consumers who have purchased both used and new cars over a 15-year period. Prominent motor finance houses like Black Horse and Barclays Partner Finance might be heavily impacted by these potential claims.

Sheldon Mills, the FCA's executive director of consumers and competition, in a statement to BBC Breakfast, outlined two potential paths the regulator could take. "The FCA could either offer more guidance to car loan firms to manage these complaints effectively and uniformly, or it might initiate a compensation scheme for those affected and entitled to it," Mills explained. The FCA's experience with the misselling of payment protection insurance (PPI) and the subsequent rules and national marketing campaigns it launched could serve as a precedent in addressing this current issue in motor finance.

Delving deeper into the matter, Mills disclosed, "From 2007 to 2021, about three-quarters of loan agreements likely included a discretionary commission model, potentially resulting in millions of agreements or claims." He clarified, however, that not every agreement would necessarily qualify for compensation. The FCA's review aims to determine the extent of liability and consider the possibility of a compensation scheme.

Mills highlighted that most consumers are probably unaware of these discretionary commission models. Under the law, they have a three-year window from the moment of awareness to file a complaint. He reassured consumers that there is no urgency and emphasized that assistance from claims management companies is unnecessary, as motor finance providers are equipped to handle their complaints.

Notes to the editor

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