PPI clock is ticking, but making a claim can be free and easy

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August marks the one-year countdown to the deadline for making a PPI claim – and with millions of policies having been taken out, the clock is ticking if you want to make a complaint.

The deadline for PPI complaints is 29 August, 2019. As many as 64 million PPI policies have been sold in the UK, mostly in the 20 years after 1990 – but some stretching as far back as the 1970s.

Some £31.5 billion has been paid back between January 2011 and May 2018 to customers who complained about the way they were sold PPI. If you had a PPI policy you weren’t happy about you can complain for free. Here’s what you need to know.

What is PPI?

PPI or payment protection insurance was designed to cover repayments if you found you were unable to make them yourself for particular reasons – perhaps due to being made redundant, having an accident or being ill.

It was tacked on to products such as loans, credit cards, store cards, mortgages, and other types of credit, such as car finance and hire purchase agreements.

Why did PPI become controversial?

PPI was found to have often been mis-sold, to people who didn’t need it because it was unsuitable, felt under pressure to sign up, or in some cases didn’t even realise they had a PPI policy because it was simply added without them asking.

Are there other circumstances in which I could make a PPI claim?

Yes, there’s a new reason you can complain, and it’s if the bank or other provider earned a high level of commission from the sale of PPI but you weren’t told when you bought it. Providers were often paid commission by the insurer, as a reward for the sale of PPI. The money for this commission would come out of the payments you made for the policy. A high level of commission typically means it was more than half of what you paid for your PPI policy.

These rules mean it’s also possible to complain even if you’ve had a previous complaint about the mis-selling of PPI rejected. You don’t need to know or explain how much commission was paid for your PPI policy. If you don’t know the details, you can still complain.

How can I check if I had PPI?

If the policy was taken out a very long time ago, or you aren’t quite sure, you may need to do a bit of detective work, but there is help out there with this. Try to dig out any old paperwork you may have which could help, but if you haven’t got this you can still ask the firm. The Financial Conduct Authority has a page on its website that helps people track down the details of firms (fca.org.uk/ppi/how-to-complain/search-for-provider).

What free help is available for me to make a complaint?

Consumer help websites MoneySavingExpert.com and Resolver.co.uk have free tools which can help take the hassle out of complaining. Citizens Advice, Which?, the Money Advice Service, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service also have information on their websites.

What if I’m still not happy after making a complaint?

If you have complained to the firm and you’re not happy, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which resolves disputes between consumers and financial firms.