Direct Debits: Shadow Shopping Exercise, a review into the operation of clause 20.1 of the Mutual Banking Code of Practice, March 2011 (PDF, 498 KB, 21 pages)

Our shadow shopping review assessed Code Subscribers’ compliance with clause 20.1 of the Code. This clause requires Code Subscribers to stop or cancel a direct debit facility linked to a customer’s transaction account promptly on request by that customer.

Seven out of ten subscribers surveyed provided incorrect or inadequate advice though their call centres on this issue. When we retested the sample four months’ later, we found a 10% improvement in practices. We made several recommendations, including that Code Subscribers:

Ensure appropriate information is available for staff to understand key obligations and processes required to stop a direct debit facility linked to a transaction account.
Increase staff awareness of the impact of incorrect advice, particularly on customers experiencing financial hardship.