Mortgage lenders charge ‘sneaky’ fees – Which?

Banks stand accused of levying “sneaky fees” on mortgages, Richard Lloyd, executive director for consumer rights body Which?, has claimed.

He said: “Homeowners could be paying over the odds for their mortgage because of the complex range of fees and charges that prevent them from finding the best deal.

“The chancellor must act now to stop sneaky fees and charges, and end mortgage confusion for consumers.

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“The government and the regulator should also explore better ways of presenting the total cost of mortgages.”

His comments came as Which? unveiled research showing that a lot of hidden fees were making it harder for individuals to find the best deal.

It found more than 40 fees and charges across the market, including set-up fees, arrears fees and final repayment fees.

Some providers gave similar fees different names, such as a booking fee being referred to as a reservation or application fee.

Which? has started a petition and called on chancellor George Osborne to make the full cost of a mortgage clearer in his autumn statement.

Adviser view

Edward Lowe, of West Sussex-based Edward Lowe Financial Services, said: “There are differences from one lender to another, but I wouldn’t say they are putting any sneaky fees on their mortgages.

“Things like transfer fees have always been there. The only thing that has changed is that more and more lenders are charging booking fees, but then they are also offering free mortgage valuations.”