After the uproar over the banks and credit cards companies who mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance(PPI) now it seems to be the turn for the scammers and even ordinary companies trying to take advantage of the situation. The past few weeks I have been inundated with request from PPI claims companies on my mobile by text and calls, my land line (even though I am on the Telephone Preference Service), email and post. It seems to be a non stop barrage from all angles some with official looking letters, some recorded phone messages and some stating they have already claimed on my behalf and I just need to pay them to retrieve that. This alone shows how much money they are investing into these campaigns to get hold of your money, or with proper companies their share of it.
There has been a huge influx of companies coming into the market purely to take their commission by claiming on your behalf. There is absolutely no need to hand over 20-40% to a ‘claims handler’. The banks lost their case in the High Court and have to pay out if you were mis-sold PPI.
The other type of callers you get are those using it as a confidence trick to get you to pass money on to them. There have several cases where people have paid significant amounts of money to these con artists in the hope that they would be returning a larger amount once they have successfully claimed on your behalf. There are a lot of bully boys working at this and many people who heard the stories in the news about PPI use this to explain the complexities of getting money out of the banks. Using lines such as ‘this is the only method to get a refund’ or ‘we offer the best value for money’ they can trick people into thinking they are a reputable firm and acting in the customers interest. In reality they want the upfront cash and you will never hear from them again, or after they have successfully got your money up front and your permission to claim for you they cash in and then do a runner.
Please be aware and if you do think you do qualify for a PPI refund, then do it yourself. It is quick and easy.
The whole area of debt management and claim handlers is quite a murky world, which I once got caught out by this trap and ended up paying an extortionate amount out for something I didn’t need to bother with. I was young and stupid, we all learn some way or another. Have a look at the website Consumer Action Group if you wish to find out more, there is a wealth of knowledge on the forums and their news feeds.
To work out if you were missold PPI then follow the guide that I have taken from the Which? consumer website
- If the insurance was optional, was that made clear to you?
- Did the adviser tell you about any significant exclusions under the policy – for example, the exclusion that says you won’t be covered for any pre-existing medical condition?
- If you took out a loan or finance agreement, did the adviser make it clear that you would have to pay for the insurance up front in one single payment?
- If you had to pay for the PPI as a single payment, did the adviser make it clear that the insurance cost would be added to the loan and you would be paying interest on it?
- Single premium PPI insurance normally only lasts for five years. If your loan or finance agreement was for longer than this, did the adviser make it clear that the insurance would run out before you had finished paying for your loan or finance agreement? The adviser should also have told you that you would continue to pay interest on the insurance premium, even after the insurance expired.
- If you bought PPI after 14 January 2005 did the adviser try to persuade you to take it out by saying something like ‘we strongly recommend that you consider taking out PPI’. If so, the sale counts as an ‘advised’ sale and they should have issued a ‘demands and needs statement’ to show why a particular policy has been recommended and why it is suitable for you. If they didn’t, this is grounds for complaint.
If you think you could qualify then please do it yourself, not one of the companies that would take a handling fee. It is very simple when applying to a regulated institution.
Below is a free letter if you wish to write to the institution yourself alternatively follow the Which? tool by clicking on ‘start your claim’ on this link