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Woolwich criticised on tracker loan claims

Experts say Woolwich’s ad campaign does not make it clear to consumers that the rate is variable and that it can shoot up if base rates rise.

The ad states: “With a rate of 4.69 per cent, which is 0.19 per cent above the Barclays bank base rate,… it’s a rate that stays low for its entire term.”

Adam Samuel Training and Compliance principal Adam Samuel says the ad breaks MCOB rule 3.6.3(1) which states that a promotion must be clear, fair and not misleading.

Samuel says the ad is not clear or fair because it implies that the rate is constant. He also says it is not clear what the Barclays base rate is.

John Charcol senior technical director Ray Boulger says: “The ad should say that it is low for the entire term in comparison with other trackers.”

Aire Valley IFA Malcolm Guy says: “We all know that a tracker mortgage is a variable-rate mortgage and the one thing it definitely cannot do is what Barclays are claiming.”

Woolwich spokeswoman Emma Austin says: “Our legal team has looked at it and they are comfortable and we have had no complaints about it. We are advertising a tracker rate of 0.19 per cent above base and that is an accurate description.”

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