The key questions to ask before PPI claim countdown hits zero
You’ve got just weeks left to decide whether or not you want to make a complaint. After that, it’ll be too late.
Since January 2011, firms have paid back a total £35.7 billion to customers who complained about the way they were sold payment protection insurance (PPI), according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
So, with the PPI countdown clock ticking, here’s what you need to know.
What is PPI?
If you’ve had a loan, mortgage, credit card, store card or bought something on finance, you may have been sold PPI alongside the financial product you took out. PPI is a type of insurance designed to cover repayments when you can’t make them yourself, for example if you became unemployed or ill. As many as 64 million PPI policies have been sold in the UK, mostly between 1990 and 2010, and some as far back as the 1970s.
So what’s the problem?
It was widely mis-sold. PPI was unsuitable for some people, some did not realise it was optional, or they didn’t even know they had a policy. It’s the biggest mis-selling scandal the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has ever seen.
How do I check if I had it?
Dig out any paperwork and see whether PPI or payment protection insurance is mentioned. It may be called loan insurance or payment cover. Or contact the provider and ask them. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has contact details for many providers (fca.org.uk/ppi).
Am I eligible to complain?
You may have been mis-sold if you were told that you had to have PPI to take out a loan, or it was more likely you’d be accepted if you took it out, or that you’d get a better rate.
You may have felt under pressure to buy it or been advised to take out PPI which didn’t suit your needs. PPI may have been added without telling you. There are also other ways you may have been mis-sold.
But, importantly, even if you don’t think you were mis-sold, there’s another reason you could complain. Following a court case known as Plevin, you can complain that a high level of commission – you don’t have to know how much – was made from the sale of PPI, but you weren’t told about this when you bought it. The commission basis for complaining means that even if you previously made a mis-selling complaint and it was rejected, you may be able to make this new type of complaint.
If you’ve complained about PPI since late 2015, your provider may already have told you they would consider the commission they earned as part of your complaint. If you’re not sure, check the correspondence they sent or contact them again.
How can I make a claim?
Claims management companies will take a chunk of any payout – but there is plenty of free help available. Websites which give free help and information include those belonging to the FCA, MoneySavingExpert.com, Resolver.co.uk, the FOS, Which? and Citizens Advice.
Free-to-use template letters can be downloaded, if you’re not sure what to say. And if you’re not happy with the way a company has dealt with your complaint, take your case to the FOS to resolve.