Aspray, which specialises in managing insurance claims for property repairs, did not maintain appropriate systems and controls for the recruitment, training and monitoring of its ARs.
The FSA says Aspray also misled clients by telling them that its services were free of charge when in fact cancellation charges could be incurred and ARs had discretion to charge an insurance excess.
Aspray also claimed that all its contractors were screened and only quality local tradesman were used, when in fact most contractors were found using sources such as ‘Yell.com’ and were not properly vetted.
The firm also failed to inform customers about the Financial Ombudsman Service and their right to refer complaints to FOS.
It also misled the FSA by claiming that it had made compliance visits to all its ARs and had made financial checks on them and reviewed their files when it had not.
FSA head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says: “It is vital that principal firms maintain effective controls over the recruitment, training and monitoring of their Appointed Representatives. And it is very important that the principal firm ensures that clients are not misled about the services provided and terms of business of the network, and firms must not provide false or misleading information to the FSA.
“We will take disciplinary action, including issuing fines, against firms who fail in these regards.”