Bank charges, payment several times, credit redemption… Anomalies in several banks

The General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Repression (DGCCRF) takes stock of two years of control of the French banking sector. It is not very good, with sometimes very high anomaly rates.

In 2021 and 2022, the DGCCRF carried out a series of inspections in banks, online banks, fintechs and specialized credit institutions. Objective: to verify that these actors were in compliance with regulations. This is far from being systematically the case: the anomaly rates, i.e. the share of controlled establishments not complying with regulations the letter, goes from 14%…35%!

The DGCCRF has just published on its website the results of these investigations. As usual, it does not list the names of the offending brands, nor does it provide details of the violations noted. But the overall picture is unflattering. In view of the results established at the end of all these investigations, a renewal of DGCCRF controls is necessary in order to ensure strict compliance with consumer rights by banking and credit professionals in each of their practices, announces- she said.

Bank charges: 22% anomalies

We know this: French banks have historically had a heavy hand when it comes to invoicing for irregularities in the operation of the bank account, in particular unauthorized overdrafts.

Over the years, the public authorities have therefore introduced some safeguards, by capping certain incident costs (refusal of checks, direct debits, intervention commissions, etc.) or by introducing monthly caps for financially fragile customers. .

Despite everything, there persists forms of regulatory circumvention (…). [Ils] cause in practice a exceeding the regulatory ceilings for costs billed to consumers and contribute to straining the purchasing power of households experiencing financial difficulties, notes the DGGCCRF.

Result: of the 315 establishments inspected in 2021, 70 were abnormal, or 22%.

IBAN discrimination: 27% anomalies

The rule is not new, since it will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary. But some banks, insurers, telecom operators and energy suppliers are still struggling to comply with it.

Since August 1, 2014, an organization that accepts transfers or uses direct debits in euros does not have the right to require the customer to have their account domiciled in France. And yet, these cases of IBAN discriminationdenounced in particular by certain nobanks and payment institutions established elsewhere in the euro zone, persist.

During the inspection carried out in 2022 among 44 organizations, 12 were abnormal, i.e. a rate of 27%. However, some of these abnormal professionals had undertaken compliance work which was due to be completed in 2022 or even 2023, explains the DGCCRF.

Split payments and mini-credits: 14% anomalies

Deferred payments, in several installments, mini-credits… The use of these payment facilities, the granting of which has been made more fluid by the digitalization of payments, has progressed enormously in recent years.

Their method of distribution, however, is not without criticism. During checks carried out in 2021 and 2022, the DGCCRF identified a number of anomalies: 36 in total, out of the 258 professionals checked, i.e. a rate of 14%.

The main? Insufficient information given to consumers on the amount of fees applied in the event of non-reimbursement of chanceswhich does not allow them to understand the extent of their commitment, notes the DGCCRF.

Credit consolidations: 35% anomalies

The prize for anomalies, however, goes to the consolidation (or repurchase) of credits, consisting of replacing a set of credit and/or debt contracts with a single credit. Offers which are mainly aimed at households with poor debt.

In 2022, the DGGCRF inspected 113 establishments distributing this type of product: banks, specialized establishments and brokers. More than a third (35% precisely) were not on target. The majority of infractions noted during the inspection of the 113 targeted establishments concerned the advertising non-compliance but also the pre-contractual information document given to consumers, details the DGCCRF. Some, in particular, have inserted into their advertising materials prohibited mentions suggesting that the consolidation operation was likely to improve the financial situation of the borrower.

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