We're calling on George Osborne to use his Autumn Statement to Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges on mortgages and make it easier for people to find the best deal.
Our latest research on the mortgage market uncovers the complex and unclear mortgage fees and charges people are facing. We found more than 40 fees and charges across the market, including set up fees, arrears fees and final repayment fees. Some providers use different names for the same or similar fees – for example a booking fee can also be called a reservation or application fee.
We want George Osborne, in his forthcoming Autumn Statement, to:
Given the limitations with APR, the Government and the FCA should explore other ways to present the total cost of a mortgage.
All compulsory fees payable throughout the deal period should be expressed as a total of fees and included in the advertised costs. It should also be clear which fees payable over the life of the mortgage are compulsory and which are not.
Non-product fees and charges that are incurred after the purchase of a mortgage should reflect lenders’ actual costs.
Our executive director, Richard Lloyd said:
'Homeowners could be paying over the odds for their mortgage because of the complex range of fees and charges that prevent them from finding the best deal.'
He added: 'The Chancellor must act now to Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges and end mortgage confusion for consumers. The Government and the regulator should also explore better ways of presenting the total cost of mortgages.'
You can help by signing our petition and supporting our campaign.
Our research shows that around 2.5 million people used an unauthorised overdraft in the last 12 months and more than two thirds think charges are too high or unfair.
Around a third of people are surprised by the amount they're charged when going overdrawn, so we're calling for banks to tackle the fees and charges associated with unauthorised overdrafts.
Our executive director, Richard Lloyd said:
'Consumers are fed up of being hit by complex and costly charges which make it almost impossible for them to shop around for the best deal for their needs.'
We’re calling on all banks and overdraft providers to sign up to, promote and encourage their customers to use the Government’s midata scheme, which would allow people to compare the amount they would be charged in bank fees between different accounts.
We also want providers to allow their customers to opt-in and opt-out of unauthorised overdrafts at no extra cost, with opt out being the default option when the account is set up.
Campaign supporter Yvonne told us: 'I've been stung with bank charges for being over drawn for less than £1 for less than a day!'
We want all banks and current account providers to Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges and put an end to excessive, unclear and hard to compare unauthorised overdraft fees that could leave consumers paying over the odds. You can help by signing our peition and sharing your exmapels of sneaky fees.
Almost half the population have paid a fee or charge on a financial product or service in the last year, and two thirds think that companies use separate fees or charges to trick us into thinking that the cost is cheaper than it is.
These findings are backed-up by our car insurance investigation which finds that fees have been on the rise while premiums have been falling.
Nearly half of the 28 car insurance providers we looked at have increased administration or cancellation fees since our previous survey three years ago, increasing by as much as 200% in one case.
We found Endsleigh's cancellation charge has tripled to £75, a huge 200% increase, while Churchill and Privilege have doubled theirs.
Six companies: Churchill, LV, More Than, Nationwide, Privilege and Saga - have increased fees to make changes to a policy by at least half, such as getting married, changing job or moving home.
Our executive director, Richard Lloyd said: 'Consumers are fed up with being hit with unexpected, additional costs for financial products that lead to them paying more than they bargained for. These fees can be hard to avoid, and people often don't know what they're really paying for.'
We want the financial services industry to Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges, and put an end to excessive, unclear and hard to compare fees that do nothing to improve the low level of trust in these markets. You can help by signing our petition and sharing this campaign with your friends and family.
Payday lenders have refused to act following our legal letters to reduce their default fees. We're now calling on the financial regulator to intervene.
We're calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to get tough with the payday lenders we believe are charging excessive fees for late payments. We wrote to the lenders in January 2014 but have received no commitment for action from the lenders themselves.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: 'It's outrageous that lenders are charging excessive fees which tip people into further debt.'
Find out more about our Clean up Credit campaign
Drivers are being stung with a range of additional fees when they come to renew their car insurance or even to change details on their policies, according to new Which? research.
We looked at the additional charges levied by 37 car insurance providers and found that some punish loyal customers, or put you out of pocket if you move house, change car or get married.
Of the policies we analysed, you'll be likely to have to pay £19 on average if you need to change some details on your policy. Just over 20% of the insurers we looked at, including AXA and Swiftcover, let you do this for free.
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Which? campaigns to make people's lives simpler and fairer. Get involved in our latest campaigns and find out how to take action. Let's make change happen.