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A&L fined £7m by FSA

Alliance & Leicester (A&L) has been fined £7 million by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the regulator announced today. Shoddy sales practices for payment protection insurance (PPI) between January 2005 to December 2007 mean that many customers could have been mis-sold the cover, the FSA said.A&L was found to not have made it clear to customers that taking out the cover was voluntary.The potential cost of the PPI was also found to have been left murky.Commenting on the regulator's decision Margaret Cole, the FSA's director of enforcement, said: "The failings at A&L are the most serious we have found. This is reflected in the record PPI fine. It is very disappointing that after three years of regulation we are still finding serious problems in PPI sales."She added: "This case shows that we will continue to step up the action we take when firms do not sell PPI properly."Customers should be able to rely on impartial advice based on their individual needs and demands. It is particularly unacceptable for a firm to train its advisers to put pressure on customers when recommending insurance cover which they have not asked for and may not need."

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