Consumer watchdog Which? is calling on the Chancellor George Osborne to use his Autumn statement – due on December 3rd – to stop ‘sneaky fees and charges’ on mortgages and make it easier for property buyers to find the best deal.
The organisation says that consumers borrowing £100,000 over two years could save up to £1,500 if they took set up fees into account rather than simply choosing the product with the lowest interest rate.
When surveying over 2,000 consumers, Which? found that just 3% could correctly rank the cost of five two-year fixed-rate mortgage deals when shown using typical advertised information. This rose to 36% when it presented the total cost of the mortgages over 24 months.
Executive director of Which?, 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.”
“The Chancellor must act now to stop sneaky fees and charges and end mortgage confusion for consumers,” he added.
The organisation says that the government should work with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and consumer groups to explore better ways of presenting the total cost of mortgages.
So far more than 33,600 people have signed up to support the Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges campaign.
The campaign sets out the following three issues for George Osborne to tackle in his forthcoming Autumn Statement:
1. Make mortgage price comparison easier: Given the limitations with APR, the Government and the FCA should explore other ways to present the total cost of a mortgage.
2. Make the full cost of a mortgage clearer now: 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.
3. Ensure additional fees are cost reflective: Non-product fees and charges that are incurred after the purchase of a mortgage should reflect lenders’ actual costs.
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