Raise your glass – to consumer victories

Champagne toast

We often have a good moan, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t happy when things go our way. From the PPI Judicial Review to more notice on energy price hikes, here’s our round-up of things to celebrate.

I’m not sure if I’m feeling particularly rosy after a week on leave, or if Wills & Kate’s big day is making me feel fuzzy, but I feel a few happy moments have passed us by that haven’t been celebrated sufficiently.

So, for a change, I thought I’d draw attention to the things we’ve got to celebrate…

British Bankers Association lose court case

A particular highlight for me is the outcome of the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) Judicial Review where the banks lost their case against the FSA. If you weren’t following it closely I’m delighted to summarise – the banks lost and the consumers triumphed!

I appreciate this doesn’t affect everyone (although thousands of consumers have used our free online PPI tool to get their money back) but the result marks real progress in our collective push for fair financial services. I really hope the outcome prevents other unnecessary financial products from creeping their way into the market.

Ash crisis compensation victory

It’s also not often that I come back to work and enjoy wading through my inbox. But I was delighted to come across an email detailing two success stories of individuals who got their money back after claiming for compensation following the ash crisis.

You’d hope this would be a given, but many consumers were left out of pocket and at logger-heads with their insurance provider after the eruption.

The beauty of these cases – one Which? member Clive Tucker the other known just as Ms B – was that the Ombudsman ruled that the ash crisis counted as an ‘adverse weather condition’. Some insurers have tried to argue that the crisis did not count as a weather condition and have rejected some requests for compensation.

Although neither decision creates legally binding precedent, it should give other consumers added incentive to pursue their claims should they want to escalate them with the Financial Services Ombudsman.

30 days notice if energy price rises

And last, but by no means least, Ofgem’s new rule came into effect on 28 April forcing energy suppliers to give customers 30 days notice of price rises. We’ve campaigned for this for years so we’re chuffed this has finally come into effect.

As Harry’s unlikely to mention these in his best man’s speech, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating these victories here. Feel free to add your reasons to celebrate too and I’ll be sure to raise a toast to them this weekend.


PPI mis selling – The FOS have been overlooking mis selling of PPI. In a case I was dealing with, they ruled in favour of the seller, despite the fact that a fee existed for cancellation and the purchaser was told there were no fees payable to cancel. The FOS deemed the amount of the fee to be too small.
It matters not the size of the fee, if there is a fee to cancel and the buyer has been told there are no fees, wether it’s a pound or £10,000 – the product has been mis sold.
The law should be applied, ending the need for the FOS.

30 days notice of price rises or change in contracts that make the customer worse off – this is being shouted about all over the media/internet as OFGEM working for the customer.
One small point not mentioned, is that whilst its only taken OFGEM years to bring this about, had the law been enforced, OFGEM doing what they were set up to do, then the issue wouldn’t have been an issue for years and the problem would have been solved.

Just two examples (of many) of how quangos spend millions every year of taxpayer’s money, taking years to set up rules that merely duplicate laws already in place to protect the individual, that are not being enforced.
The sad thing for the consumer is that there are many more instances of the consumer being protected by laws that are not being enforced, as the quango concerned panders to big business and doesn’t do the job it was set up to do!

Pete says:
12 May 2011

This is what I love about you British… you put a huge amount of energy into moaning about the negative, and only a fraction of that energy into celebrating a success or ‘result’.

Kudos to you Charlotte for bringing these consumer successes into the foreground and giving the moany masses something to be a bit happier about.

The more we all focus on getting a better and fairer deal from any business, and the more we appreciate any ‘consumer success’ (our own or anyone else’s), the less we’ll see ourselves as the ‘small insignificant consumer, who can’t fight big business’

…. it’s just good common sense.

Congrats to all of us!