The FCA or Financial Conduct Authority is the company that regulates the UK finance industry. They set the rules and regulations that all legitimate finance providers have to follow, and have a focus on protecting the consumer.
The Financial Conduct Authority regulates over 58,000 financial service providers across the UK. It has three main tenets. To protect consumers from unfair or misleading finance packages that negligently put people into financial distress or debt. To ensure that the financial market in the UK has integrity, in other words to ensure that no companies are lending more than they could afford, jeopardising the UK economy. And to promote competition by ensuring companies keep the interests of consumers in mind and not collaborating to inflate prices.
When you apply for a car finance package or any sort of finance agreement, you should ensure that it is regulated and approved by the FCA. To check this, look at the finance provider’s details and check for an FCA registration number. You can normally find this at the bottom of a company’s website pages.
When a company is regulated by the FCA, they have to follow a strict set of guidelines when dealing with customers. This ranges from enforcing the company to carry out detailed affordability checks before approving any package, ensuring they provide all information about costs and charges in a clearly presented format, to making sure they do all they can to help customers struggling to meet repayments.
The FCA carries out regular audits on companies they regulate to ensure they are offering the best protection.
If you have a dispute with a finance provider you have an agreement with, then you can escalate it to the FCA. If you feel you have been misled or there is something wrong with how you’ve been treated, the FCA is there to help resolve any disputes and investigate any wrongdoing. You will need to try and resolve your issues with the company first, but if you reach a point where you cannot come to a resolution, you can contact the FCA.
To get in touch with the FCA, visit their website at https://www.fca.org.uk/ and visit the consumer section. There you will find a form you can fill out to make a complaint. They will talk you through the process and ensure that you are not making a frivolous claim, as FCA intervention is serious business. It should be considered a last resort, but don’t be afraid to contact them if you need their support.
Choosing a non-FCA approved provider is not recommended. Companies that are not regulated by the FCA do not have to follow the same strict rules and regulations. So you may end up taking out a finance agreement with hidden costs and charges, and if you get into trouble, they do not have the same obligation to protect you.
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