Barclays/Woolwich named and shamed by UK financial services authority

LOSSES & LAWSUITS

Under the terms of the unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations, the FSA can challenge firms - referred to it by consumers, enforcement bodies and consumer organisations - that are using terms it deems to be unfair to consumers. Following the FSA's recommendations, the OFT will publish the FSA's results, including the name of the firm, on its consumer regulation website.

The FSA release warns that publishing information about such undertakings will likely attract more consumer complaints both to the FSA and direct to firms "which will need to be addressed", it says. The FSA also recommends that other financial services firms that have not given an undertaking or been subject to a court decision, as part of their risk management process, should remain alert to undertakings or court decisions concerning other firms. "These will be of potential value in showing the likely attitude of the courts, the FSA, the OFT or other qualifying bodies to similar terms or terms with similar effects," it says.

This undertaking follows a series of other enforcement actions launched by the FSA against UK mortgage firms deemed to be acting irresponsibly or unfairly, and takes place in a atmosphere of heightened awareness of the unfairness of bank charges - the OFT launched its test case against unfair bank charges in July.

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