By Kev Kiernan
A credit card protection company which mis-sold products to thousands of individuals has been fined £10.5 million.
The firm, CPP, will also pay its customers compensation totalling £14.5 million.
The penalties arise from an investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), looking into the mis-selling of products between January 2005 and March last year.
CPP customers were wrongly told that they needed to buy insurance when they were already covered by existing arrangements with their respective banks.
The company even ordered its sales staff to be persistent with customers and went as far as trying to talk people out of cancelling their products, such as identity theft cover. CPP agents were given targets to dissuade customers who contacted the company to cancel.
The FSA's director of financial crime, Tracey McDermott, said: "While CPP's products were relatively inexpensive, they were sold widely and CPP encouraged its sales agents to be overly persistent.
"This exposed a very large number of customers to the unacceptable risk of buying products they did not want or need."
CPP also ignored earlier warnings to stop misleading its customers about card protection.
Paul Stobart, the company's new chief executive, said CPP has changed its practices.