Theresa May to impose mega-fines on big firms who rip off loyal customers

GRASPING firms who stitch up loyal customers will be pummelled with on-the-spot mega-fines, ministers are to announce today.

The dodgy practices will be targeted by watchdogs using new powers to dispense instant justice without the need to go to court.

Rex Features

Theresa May says large firms have ‘been getting away with harmful trading’ for far too long and that the current system lets consumers down[/caption]

It is intended to clamp down on misleading claims, unfair terms and conditions, and hard-to-exit contracts.

It will help curb banks, insurance companies, broadband and mobile providers which overcharge customers who stay loyal to them.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “For far too long, many big companies have been getting away with harmful trading practices which lead to poor services and confusion among customers who have parted with their hard-earned cash.

“The system as it stands lets consumers down. It is high time this came to an end.”

The new powers, to be unveiled today, will allow the Competition and Markets Authority to decide when consumer law has been broken.

Other regulators, such as Ofcom and the Financial Conduct Authority, will be given powers to stop loyalty rip-offs.

Staying with a company can add £1,440 a year to household bills, campaigners say.

Mobile phone companies who charge customers the same rate once they have paid the cost of a handset also face curbs.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Consumer loyalty should not be exploited, nor should consumers have to work so hard to get a fair deal.”

The Government’s plan will go out to consultation before a white paper is published.

AFP or licensors

Business Secretary Greg Clark says the Government are committed to ensuring customers aren’t unfairly targeted or penalised for their loyalty[/caption]



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