Express Gifts to pay £12.5m back to customers

Express Gifts, a direct mail order and online subsidiary of Hyde-based Findel Plc, is to refund £12.5m to around 300,000 customers who were sold insurance that offered little or no value.

Findel said that provisions for this programme have already been made and announced in its interim results.

The insurance products sold by Express Gifts covered against accidental damage and theft for all products purchased from its Ace or Studio brands.

The insurance was called “Property Insurance” from January 2005 to August 2008 and “Purchase Protection Insurance” from September 2008 to May 2015, with premiums calculated as a percentage of the customer account balance. This type of cover is no longer offered by the firm.

After conducting its own quality assurance activity, the firm agreed with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the insurance cover it had sold did not provide adequate value to customers because although it covered all items purchased, these were predominantly items of clothing, which customers would not generally consider insuring.

Jonathan Davidson, director of supervision for retail and authorisations, said: It is good news for consumers that Express Gifts has reached agreement with us that this insurance was of low value to customers. It is important that firms offer value for money.

“We expect firms to identify where insurance products of little or no value have been sold to customers and take appropriate action. There is a responsibility on firms, whether they are responsible for the design or the distribution of these products, to ensure the products offer value for their customers.”

Express Gifts will write to all affected customers with details of how they will be paid the redress due. Any redress will be sent automatically.