Citizens Advice Files Complaint With British Regulator

Citizens Advice

Following a complaint from Citizens Advice, Britain’s competition regulator might investigate financial service and telecom companies. The group had contended that consumers were being “ripped off” if they didn’t switch providers, Reuters reported.

The charity claims that customers were being overcharged by $5.2 billion annually. As a result, it wants the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to look into the matter. Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said, according to Reuters, “the practice of overcharging loyal customers is widespread, and Citizens Advice has repeatedly warned that loyal consumers are being ripped off.”

Citizens Advice made the claim through a super complaint that is described by the government as one that involves “any feature or combination of features” that “appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers.” The claim is the fourth such complaint the organization has made as of 2002.

The news comes after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the CMA announced in August that consumers and small businesses will have better information about the services offered by account providers so they can make better decisions about which services are right for them.

In an announcement, the FCA said that under new rules, customers will be able to easily find information on providers’ websites, including how and when services and helplines are available, contact details, how often the firm had to report major operation and security incidents and the level of complaints lodged at the company.

According to the FCA, providers have to publish the information on their websites in a consistent format. What’s more, the FCA said the big banks have to make the information available electronically via an online application programming interface (API). The FCA said in the announcement, “as facilitated by the open banking initiative, APIs are an important route through which third parties can access current account service information.”