The Alliance of Claims Companies (ACC) is deeply concerned, but not surprised, at the suggestion that the FCA is once again considering caving in to the demands of the banks, and no doubt the Treasury on the matter of a time bar for PPI claims.

What is clear is that even within the FCA, it would seem that the prevailing advice from its own experts is that this proposal of a time bar, as detailed in their CP15/39, would be of further detriment to consumers, and would not achieve their statutory objectives, so one must ask why they are seemingly ready to take this decision?

The ACC and its members believe that the proposed £42m campaign, as trailed by the FCA in their consultation document, and which we believe is being tendered for at the moment, would be ineffective and would not reach those consumers that it was intended for. Advertising of all kinds has been undertaken for many years, but the vast bulk of victims, including the most vulnerable, have not been reached by it.

It is clear, that the FCA absolutely understand that the best way to ensure the greatest element of consumer fairness in dealing with this issue, is to make financial institutions write to all affected consumers individually. We now know the FCA’s own internal papers demonstrate even they know such a time bar wouldn’t be legally adequate or fair. The rules already say a bank can time bar a complaint three years after sending the consumer a letter explaining they mis-sold the policy and how to complain. That’s fair. You can see why the banks wouldn’t do it, but why would the FCA want to give in to them? One can only assume it is pressure from the Treasury.

The consumer is paramount in this, it is they who are losing out, and I am surprised that this issue is not causing a greater sense of outrage from consumer groups across the UK. The ACC will not simply let the FCA cave in to the demands of the banks, and nor should others who seek to promote consumer fairness and access to justice.