Q&A: Ground rules for claims and how to pursue them

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Q How do I know if I was mis-sold a PPI policy?

If you still have records of a loan you took out, then check to see if there is evidence you also bought a PPI policy at the time. If you have these on file then have a look at the details of the PPI policy and consider the following questions:

• Did you realise what PPI was, or request it yourself?

• If not, were you even aware it was added on to your finance?

• Were you told it was compulsory?

• Did you feel in any way pressured to take out the cover to the point you could not refuse?

You are likely to have been mis-sold a policy if you would never have been able to claim on it, for example if you were on benefits or in some cases self-employed, or if you had certain health conditions which were excluded. You may also have been mis-sold a policy if you did not know you were taking it out or you were told it was compulsory to have the cover.

Q How many people are in the same position?

It has been estimated by the Financial Services Authority that 2.75 million complaints will be made over the next five years as a result of the High Court ruling. This is the current estimate - but the volume of complaints could rise.

Q What should I do if I think I was mis-sold cover?

If you have already lodged a complaint, you should be contacted by your bank in due course. However, if you wish to pursue your case yourself, then write to the provider of your policy and lodge your complaint. Alternatively, some banks will have dedicated hotlines.

The new ruling only affects policies sold after 2005, but people who think they were mis-sold a policy before this date can still complain to the firm that sold it to them.

Q What can I do if my bank doesn't respond to my case?

If after eight weeks nothing happens, or if your claim is rejected, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. They will revise your case again.

Q How much compensation am I likely to receive?

This is still unclear, however the FSA has estimated that someone who was mis-sold a single-premium policy, where they paid the entire cost up-front, could expect to receive 1,800.

Those who bought a policy requiring regular premiums might receive a smaller sum.

Q Will I have a better chance of getting compensation if I use a claims management company?

No, banks and consumer groups alike are urging people to make their claims directly to the firm that sold them their policy and not to go through a claims management firm. Using one of these companies does not increase people's chances of getting compensation, while the firms take up to 25 per cent of any money people do receive.

Q What can I do if my claim is rejected?

AIf your claim is rejected and you still think you were mis-sold a policy, you can take your case to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.