The best and worst loan providers for customer service
Consumer pressure is shaking up the loans market with the Office of Fair Trading announcing a clampdown on upfront fees to credit brokers for loans that are never arranged. Because of this it's not surprising consumers are looking to alternative loans providers they can trust.
MOST TRUSTED: ZOPA
Our readers voted for a loan provider that does things a little differently, Zopa, which picks up the award for a second year running.
Zopa launched in the UK in 2005, cutting out the banks and setting up a marketplace to bring lenders and borrowers together.
Although there's the risk of borrower default, lenders benefit from rates that are higher than those on savings accounts, while borrowers enjoy low rates and no early repayment fees.
And the model's proved a hit with its customers. One describes it as "shaking up financial services," while another said "it just works. No nasty bankers". There's also praise for the service Zopa providers: "They are friendly and care about their members. Service is fast, reliable and efficient."
WORST PERSONAL LOAN PROVIDER: SANTANDER AND HALIFAX
Santander and Halifax jointly share the title of worst personal loan providers, taking over from a fellow big bank that held the title last year.
While some of Santander's customers reported they were happy with the service, others had a completely different experience. "Customer service was dire," said one. Another commented that they'd experienced admin errors and "a lack of responsiveness" when problems had been escalating.
Issues with Halifax were slightly different, with lots of customers saying the mis-selling of payment protection insurance was their main bugbear. In a statement, Halifax adds: "We'd like to work with Moneywise to take the feedback on board and make improvements and changes where appropriate."
The practice of a dishonest salesperson misrepresenting or misleading an investor about the characteristics of a product or service. For example, selling a person with no dependants a whole-of-life policy. There have been notable mis-selling scandals in the past, including endowment policies tied to mortgages, employees persuaded to leave final salary pensions in favour of money purchase pensions (which paid large commissions to salespeople) and payment protection insurance. There is no legal definition of mis-selling; rather the Financial Services Authority (FSA) issues clarifying guidelines and hopes companies comply with them.