Discretionary Commission Arrangements - Complaints and Refunds

You do not need to use a Claims Management Company. You can make the claim directly to the lender and if they reject your complaint you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service free of charge, but you must do this within 6 months of the lenders Final Decision Letter.

Startline Motor Finance

Startline Motor Finance, a prominent player in the UK motor finance market, has been significantly impacted by regulatory changes concerning Discretionary Commission Arrangements (DCAs). The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced a ban on DCAs in January 2021 due to concerns that these arrangements incentivized brokers to charge higher interest rates, thus not serving the best interests of consumers.

DCAs allowed brokers the flexibility to set or adjust the interest rates on car loans, linking their commission to the interest rate charged to the consumer. This practice often resulted in consumers paying more than they might have under a more transparent pricing structure. The ban was aimed at promoting fairer lending practices and reducing overcharging, which the FCA estimated could save consumers around £165 million a year.

Despite the ban, the effects of previous discretionary commission practices have led to a significant number of complaints, prompting the FCA to review past agreements and assess potential consumer harm. This review has affected all motor finance providers, including Startline Motor Finance. The company has acknowledged the ongoing FCA review and has made provisions for handling complaints related to DCAs made before the ban came into effect​ (Startline Motor Finance)​​ (Grant Thornton UK LLP)​.

Startline has adjusted its complaint handling procedures in line with FCA guidance. For complaints made after November 17, 2023, concerning DCAs, the company will not provide a final response within the typical eight weeks. This delay is due to the FCA's request for firms to pause responses while it conducts its review. The deadline for these responses has been extended until September 25, 2024. Additionally, customers unhappy with the responses they receive have up to 15 months to escalate their complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, provided the final response falls within a specific timeframe set by the FCA​ (Startline Motor Finance)​.

This ongoing scenario underscores the broader impacts of the FCA’s crackdown on discretionary commissions, highlighting the shift towards more consumer-friendly practices in the UK motor finance industry. Startline Motor Finance continues to cooperate with the FCA and adjust its operations to comply with new regulatory standards, ensuring fair treatment of customers and adherence to more stringent financial practices​ (Startline Motor Finance)​​ (Startline Motor Finance)​​ (Grant Thornton UK LLP)​.