Treating customers fairly isn’t just something for the industry to aspire to, it’s a regulatory requirement.
Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) is one of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory requirements. It encourages firms to treat their customers fairly, and to have this at the very heart of their operations.
Part of being treated fairly, the FCA’s Handbook states, includes providing applicants with clear access to information on products they apply for, and furthermore to minimise sale of products that are not suited to applicants – whether this is before, during or after the sale. This applies not only to lenders and sole traders, but also to comparison websites.
Fair Treatment of Customers – Consumer Outcomes
The FCA detail 6 consumer outcomes for firms to achieve, these being core to the FCA’s expectations for firms, and includes:
- Outcome 1: “Consumers can be confident they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture.”
- Outcome 2: “Products and services marketed and sold in the retail market are designed to meet the needs of identified consumer groups and are targeted accordingly.”
- Outcome 3: “Consumers are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale.”
- Outcome 4: “Where consumers receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances.”
- Outcome 5: “Consumers are provided with products that perform as firms have led them to expect, and the associated service is of an acceptable standard and as they have been led to expect.”
- Outcome 6: “Consumers do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms to change product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.”
While TCF is required by the FCA, it’s not necessary for firms to practice this in identical ways. Firms in the same industry can vary in the products that they offer, and in their technical abilities for affordability checks and underwriting.
Fair, Compliant Loan Services
TCF plays a major role in ensuring customers are treated fairly when borrowing from providers. By upholding the FCA’s standards around this area companies could help to increase consumer confidence throughout the industry, and thereby provide better business for all those involved.