I have read with interest today that the FSA recently fined Redstone Mortgages Limited £630,000 for its poor treatment of its customers with mortgage arrears who were facing repossession. I have dealt with this company a few times and they and other similar sub prime lenders appear to take a very similar and unfair approach towards their customers when they fall into arrears.
The FSA indicated that Redstone had failed to ensure its staff had an adequate understanding as to how to treat customers in arrears fairly and that many had no regard for the client’s personal and financial circumstances focusing instead on getting the arrears to less than 2 months. Redstone also made use of excessive and confusing correspondence and applied up to 4 charges to the account including a fee for the returned direct debit, arrears fees and charges, charging for councillor visits yet failing to inform the customer the time they would attend or of their right to refuse the visit and fees for litigation activities when such activity was taken unnecessarily.
In this current economic climate where many customers feel that the courts and the organisations are simply not on their side this is a welcome decision by the FSA. However I do wonder whether the decision has had any financial benefit on the customers subjected to Redstone’s conduct and how many have been able to successfully avoid the repossession of their home or pay off their ever increasing arrears. I hope that as well as amending their future procedures and conduct they have taken a retrospective approach.