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Pru and B&B stand firm on endowment chasers

Prudential and Bradford & Bingley say the FSA’s announcement on endowment-chasing companies will not affect their decision to avoid dealing with these firms.

A statement from the FSA last week emphasised that an endowment complaint can be brought by any person authorised by the complainant or authorised by law.

It said good practice in this area means accepting and handling complaints via third parties and corresponding with such third parties “as if they were the consumer”.

Both Pru and B&B recently said they will avoid dealing with so-called ambulance chasers and will instead write to consumers informing them of their option to use the Financial Ombudsman Service.

It is understood that a number of claims management firms wrote to the FSA to clarify its position after this action.

Pru and B&B say their stance fits within FSA requirements as they will deal with claims management companies if consumers insist upon it. In this situation, full compensation will be sent to the consumer, who will then have to sort out their contractual agreements with the claims management company.

A B&B spokeswoman says although this may not comply exactly with the wording over good practice in the FSA statement, it is a grey area and B&B believes this action is the best way to ensure that customers are treated fairly.

She says: “Our new policy not to deal directly with such firms, unless the customer insists, remains unchanged.”

FSA spokesman David Whiteley says: “We understand that good practice in this area would mean both accepting and handling complaints via third parties and corresponding with such third parties as if they were the consumer.”

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