I wrote on Monday about the fact that “naming and shaming” banks and businesses that steal money from their customers isn’t having any effect on either encouraging customers to go elsewhere, or to shame these businesses into not doing it again.
When it comes to banking overcharging, it seems like stronger and more intrusive regulation is the only thing that will truly protect consumers fully.
I should declare though, that I’m not all that in favour of this though – there’s enough information available, for example, to illustrate to consumers that doing business with AIB may not be the best thing for their finances. In such situations, I believe in buyer beware rather than bringing in stronger regulation.
Not that we’ll get any regulation changes anyway
It would have been nice if our new Financial Regulator, Mr. Matthew Elderfield, took the opportunity of the first overcharging incident of his new reign to show that he meant business and acted with purpose on AIB for thieving money from their customers.
So what did he say? Well, according to this report, he didn’t really say much. He sort of whispered, whimpered even. He said he “was concerned that financial institutions “continue to experience control failures” that result in customers being overcharged”.
He also probably scared the pants off the bank executives when he said that “it was clear from recent cases that “change is needed” in how companies handle charging and pricing issue”, and more importantly, that “the regulator was conducting a review “to strengthen its approach concerning the timeliness of resolving overcharging in firms and the grounds for enforcement actions against such failures”.
Wow. We’ve such a better regulator in place now. Much better than his predecessor Patrick Neary who merely, when faced with similar banking overcharging back in 2007, “warned banks that they would be subject to ongoing checks to make sure they were not continuing to rip off customers”.