Martin Lewis sees one million complaints as car finance payouts likely

Martin Lewis has seen more than one million complaints over car finance, raising the possibility of major compensation payouts.

The money-saving expert and consumer champion said car finance mis-selling has the potential to be the “second biggest reclaim payout in UK history” after the PPI scandal.

About 1.1 million complaint emails have been sent out through a free tool on the website, which was founded by Mr Lewis, amounting to about 30,000 per day.

The tool and guide were launched on February 6 in response to the UK’s financial regulator opening a major probe into hidden and unfair selling practices in the car finance market.

Before being banned in January 2021, some lenders allowed brokers to adjust the interest rates they offered customers for a loan, which could mean they received more cash in commission.

Mr Lewis said if people think they could be eligible then they should consider logging a complaint ‘sooner than later’

(Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

Research found that the selling practice, known as a discretionary commission arrangement, led to higher finance costs and was unfair to consumers.

Black Horse is currently the most complained-about lender via MoneySavingExpert’s car finance tool, with about 16% of the total number.

Owned by Lloyds Banking Group, the dealer offer loans on cars including Jaguar, Land Rover and Suzuki.

Lloyds last month said it was setting aside about £450 million to cover potential costs relating to the issue and potential compensation payouts for customers.

Volkswagen Financial Services has emerged as the second most complained-about lender, followed by Stellantis Financial Services and Santander, according to the consumer platform.

Mr Lewis said: “The numbers of complaints in not much more than a month is staggering – off the charts – far more than I expected.

“So, it’s not surprising that some firms are struggling to respond to complaints in a decent time.

“To frustrated complainers, I’d say for now we should be prepared to give companies some wriggle room on timings, but firms need to urgently step up their complaint-handling resources.”

He also said the motor finance issue “feels like it is building up even more quicky” than the PPI mis-selling scandal which rocked UK lenders in previous years, based on the number of complaints.

Lloyds had to pay billions of pounds to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance from the mid-1990s.

“In value terms, car finance mis-selling is potentially going to be the second biggest reclaim payout in UK history – possibly over £10 billion repaid – which could even provide a fillip to the economy as PPI did,” Mr Lewis said.

Meanwhile, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it wants to make sure customers are given compensation in an orderly and efficient way, if it finds they have lost out due to widespread misconduct.

This could mean setting up a formal redress scheme. The watchdog is due to set out its next steps by the end of September.

The tool helps people build an email and submit it to their car finance provider, if they think they are likely to be affected.

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