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Burgess: PPI market investigation too slow

8-5-2007

The Competition Commission is standing by and letting millions of cash-strapped consumers waste money on inflated Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) premiums, despite a promise to investigate this market, according to Simon Burgess of British Insurance

Simon Burgess, managing director of British Insurance, commented: “It’s been well-documented that features of this sector are preventing, restricting, or distorting competition and thereby harming consumers. Given the seriousness of the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) allegations - consumers pay excessive prices for PPI, there’s evidence of high pressure and unfair sales tactics, and claims administration is slow and unfair leaving consumers facing additional charges or serious debt enforcement action - I’m astounded the commission isn’t moving more quickly to prevent consumers being ripped off and suffering financially.”

The OFT referred the PPI market to the commission in February 2007 and in response it published an administration timetable, detailing when its first ‘emerging thinking’ document will be produced.

Burgess continued: “We’ve got to wait four months before the so-called ‘thinking’ document appears. This will no doubt repeat the OFT’s findings and tell us what we already know. Questionnaires, hearings and requests for submissions are all very well, but they will not protect consumers now. Enough research has been carried out, so why has the commission set a deadline for February 2009 for the implementation of remedial measures? This is unacceptable. 

“Research already shows that the current rate rises have resulted in a quarter of all mortgage holders being financially stretched and millions of homeowners may have to remortgage, resulting in even more debt.”