Approximately 300,000 customers of Express Gifts are to receive a share of £12.5 million in redress after being sold insurance that offered little or no value.
Express Gifts is a direct mail order business and an online retailer trading under the names studio.co.uk and ace.co.uk, which also has permission to sell general insurance.
The insurance was called “Property Insurance” from January 2005 to August 2008 and “Purchase Protection Insurance” from September 2008 to May 2015, with premiums calculated as a percentage of the customer’s account balance.
But the financial regulator says insurance sold by the firm, which covered against accidental damage and theft of products purchased from its Ace and Studio brands, was essentially worthless, as the items bought were predominately clothes, which customers would not generally consider insuring.
This type of cover is no longer offered by the firm.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says Express Gifts will write to all affected customers with details of how they will be paid the redress due. It adds that any redress will be sent automatically, so customers do not need to take action.
However, if you think you’re affected and you have any questions, would like further information, or your contact details have changed since you purchased the insurance, contact Express Gifts via 0371 200 0379 (for the Ace brand) or 0371 200 0378 (for the Studio brand).
Jonathan Davidson, director of supervision - retail and authorisations at the FCA, says: “We expect firms to identify where insurance products of little or no value have been sold to customers and take appropriate action. There is a responsibility on firms, whether they are responsible for the design or the distribution of these products, to ensure the products offer value for their customers.”