Finance

Consumers’ Association: mortgage service subscription is misleading

The service subscriptions can, for example, be used to assess whether the interest you pay on a mortgage can be reduced or for advice about an extra repayment. You pay a monthly fee for this, usually around 10 euros. But sometimes also 50 euros.

‘Should be free’

“We monitor your mortgage and other insurance policies for the price of a Spotify subscription,” says Hypotheekshop on its site, for example.

Many of those services should be free, or have too little to do with a real service. Are you available or would you like to be informed about your fixed-rate period? “These are services that providers must already provide by law,” says Joyce Donat of the Consumers’ Association.

Another example: 24-hour mortgage monitoring. “It is of little use and should not be an extra euro per month,” said Donat.

A lot served

It is unclear how many people take out such a subscription. Research by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) previously showed that 30 percent of people who take out a mortgage through an adviser are presented with such a subscription.

Closing is also partly your own responsibility, you have to delve into it. But that is now made too difficult for consumers, the union believes. “Advisors must be clear about exactly what you are getting and what you are already entitled to.” This is not available on most sites.

“It’s also a bit of a scare-monger: if you don’t close it, you’d have to pay for each advice separately,” Donat says. “But that is not true.”

‘Bluntly’

Martin Hagedoorn, product manager at Hypotheekshop, calls the criticism of the Consumers’ Association succinct. “Subscriptions like this have been around for ten years and have been changed and developed several times in consultation with customers,” he says. “Closing is also not an obligation.”

According to the manager, many advisors have been too busy in recent years to take on the extra work around the subscriptions and are therefore offered much less. In the past, several thousand customers closed the service. “Many subscriptions are still ongoing.”

Add value

At Hypotheekshop, according to Hagedoorn, the value that the subscriptions add has been carefully examined. For example, people receive extra advice with regard to non-life or life insurance or changing their financial situation.

Moreover, not all advice falls under the legal obligation to provide aftercare, says the Hypotheekshop. “It is good that the AFM is providing more clarity about this in the short term,” said Hagedoorn. That is expected to happen this year.

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