Category Archives: Finance

Inclusive Design in Essential Services

A new programme of research,  led by Fair By Design and the Money Advice Trust,  explores the issue of inclusive design in credit, insurance, energy and other essential services markets. The Inclusive Design in Essential Services project will publish two reports in 2020 on how regulators and businesses can adopt inclusive design strategies in their work. 

Moving Forward Together on Consumer Experience

UKRN, with the FCA, Ofcom, Ofgem, Ofwat and CCWater, have worked together to develop a set of performance scorecards to measure the customer experience across key sectors. You can now access the scorecards for financial services, communications, energy, and water in one place – with consumer metrics covering service quality, price differentials and satisfaction levels.

What would really help consumers of essential services?

The report of the ESAN Conference 2018 with conference slides and videos of the presentations where available have now been published. Thank you to everyone who attended and special thanks for the BT team who hosted the event. Please continue to share your thoughts of what would really help consumers of essential services on #ESANdebate.

#esanevent stimulates debate on consumer voice

On Wednesday 2 November, 18 speakers and 92 delegates came together at the iconic BT Tower for the ESAN Conference: How can the consumer voice be better heard in the regulation of essential services?  “Fantastic speakers, great content, excellently chaired”   #esanevent
Earth Hour

UKRN launches leaflet for vulnerable consumers seeking support services

ukrnThe UK Regulators’ Network has today launched an advisory leaflet to help ensure vulnerable consumers get the help they need to access essential services.

Produced through a collaborative effort between Ofgem, Ofcom, Ofwat, the ORR and the CAA, the leaflet highlights a range of free support services offered by utility, telecommunications and public transport providers.

The UKRN website gives details of how to get braille, audio and large print versions of the leaflet.

The value of being online

cash pileBT has commissioned independent research to try to establish the social
value of digital inclusion activities in the UK.  Find it here.

The value of being online to a new user is £1,064 per annum. This comes from having more confidence, making financial savings online, new job seeking skills and a reduction in social isolation.  Other figures for more experienced users are also given.

 

New figures on the cost of not being online

cash-1-editedThe Keep me Posted campaign have carried out research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) into the additional costs of being offline, which shows that people who are not online pay £440 more per year.  Read more here.

Findings:

•             Households who do not use the internet pay an average of £440 more a year for their goods and  services, equivalent to 4.4 per cent of their average household income

•             This equates to 5.4 per cent of the average household income for older people aged 65 plus and the most vulnerable people in society

•             Households that cannot take advantage of lower energy and telecoms tariffs for switching to online-only services miss out on a potential annual saving of £139

•             7 million people in the UK have never used the internet, with the vast majority (72 per cent) being the poorest 10 per cent in society

•             Almost half (48 per cent) of those 65 years of age and over have never used the internet

 

Wonga to pay compensation after sending letters from non-existent law firms to customers in arrears

cash-pile-editedThe FCA said 45,000 customers of the UK’s biggest payday lender would be compensated after it found that letters threatening legal action from non-existent law firms had been sent to customers, in an attempt to boost collections by increasing the pressure on people in debt.  In some cases customers had been charged for the letters.

The practice ended four years ago before the FCA had responsibility for payday lenders and credit, so it does not have powers to fine Wonga.   Which? welcomed the tougher line being taken by FCA on irresponsible lending.  The FCA stated that it “expects firms to pay particular attention to fair treatment of those who have difficulty in meeting their loan repayments”.