Swinton to refund 350,000 customers for selling hidden policies
If you bought insurance from Swinton in the past, you might be in for a refund for enough booze to see you through the half term holidays. Or at least an afternoon of them. The Financial Services Authority has fined the cheeky scamps (Swinton that is, not your children) over three quarters of a million pounds for rolling additional insurance policies into sales without informing the customer.
Over 350,000 customers are thought to have bought the affected motor and home insurance policies, which were sold between December 2006 and March 2008. Swinton were found to have included Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) in quotes during this time, even if it was not required or requested. The investigation found that the company failed to make it clear that PPI was optional and went on to hide the cost when the insurance was sold.
The PPI policy barely cost a pound, but customers where charged £15 or £20 charged as an additional fee. Swinton made nearly £8 million from from sales of PPI and has now been forced by the FSA to shell out refunds. "These were deliberate breaches," said the FAS FSA. "Swinton's PPI sales fell a long way short of our requirements and the firm clearly failed to treat its customers fairly."
If you bought a policy from Swinton during this time, it may be worth your while contacting them to ask about the procedure and eligibility for refunds; there's no mention of the details in a press release on the Swinton website, and judging by their comments they're not expecting many customers to want their share of that £8 million back. Prove them wrong, eh?