CML slams Which? research

Sam Cordon

June 20, 2013

Which? asked 1,001 homeowners and homebuyers to rank five 2-year fixed rate mortgages in order of total cost over the two years, including monthly repayment charges and arrangement fees, based on borrowing £100,000.

Only five people (0.5%) correctly ranked all five mortgage deals in the correct order and just a quarter (27%) could identify the cheapest and most expensive deals, despite half (49%) saying they found the test easy.

However the CML has said that the research from Which? was flawed due to the limited information it used to gauge awareness.

Sue Anderson, head of member and external relations at the CML, said: “The mortgage process includes a number of checks and balances to try to ensure that consumers understand the whole picture of the rate, fees, charges, and total costs and characteristics of the mortgage they eventually choose.

“The compulsory key facts illustration (KFI) sets these out in detail, based on the customer’s individual circumstances and consumers can obtain as many different KFIs on different mortgage deals as they want to before deciding which to apply for.

“Consumers do not, in real life, have to make their choices based on the very limited information that Which? used to gauge consumer awareness and capability to decide on which loan represented the cheapest option.”

But the CML did concede that the research raised an important issue about the limitations of APR.

Anderson said: “The more important issue that the Which? data reveals is the limitations of the APR.

“Although the APR is a useful tool, it cannot be used in isolation from the other important disclosures about cost.

“Which? asked consumers to rate the deals on offer only for cost over the period of the special deal.

“The APR, on the other hand, is designed as a comparison tool for the long-term cost of the mortgage.”

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