This is Part 3 of a 3 part series regarding reclaiming Payment Protection Insurance. Part 1 examined the history behind PPI, the reasons for mis-selling and common reasons you may have a claim, and Part 2 covered a reclaim success story. This part details exactly how to go about reclaiming, and where further help can be obtained.
The most important message I can impart is you can do this all for free, and quite easily. Don’t hand 30% upwards to a claims handler just for having to spent 20 minutes writing a letter and walking to a postbox!
The banks have lost in court regarding systemic, decade-long mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance and you may well be due a refund. Millions are. Check your eligibility against my ready-reckoner of the 13 most common reasons you may be able to reclaim your PPI. Even if your reason isn’t on that list, you have nothing to lose by trying and may win back hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Step 1 – Check Your Policy
You will need your paperwork for this one, so if you don’t have it, you may need to go on a little fishing expedition with your lender. Ask your lender for the Terms and Conditions that applied to your policy at the time you took it out, as it would have changed and evolved over time and court cases.
If your credit account with them is still open, they are obliged under the Consumer Credit Act to supply such information but they are able to charge £1 for this service, but not all do. To save playing letter ping-pong more than you have to, and for the sake of a pound, enclose a cheque for the amount made payable to the company in question. They may or may not cash it, but it will likely speed things along.
If your account has long since closed, they may refuse your request. In this case you can perform a Data Protection Act Subject Access Request instead. The fee for this is £10 and they will take that tenner, so be sure to include it. Either way you’ll get the information you need.
Martin Lewis from the Money Saving Expert has the letters you’ll need here:
Step 2 – Check You Have a Valid Claim
Once you have the necessary items, you can begin to see if you have a valid claim with regards to reclaiming PPI and interest. Look for any mentions of payment cover, payment protection, payment insurance, loan protection, loan care and other such terms within the T&C’s. If you find anything you don’t understand or is ambiguous, ask your lender to clarify.
As I said in part 1, there are some blindingly obvious examples of PPI mis-selling but my list of 13 examples is by no means an exhaustive list. The bottom line is if you feel like you were sold the policy incorrectly, fraudulently, unfairly or were unaware you even had it, reclaim reclaim reclaim!
Step 3 – Write To Your Lender
Once you’ve gathered your paperwork and made some checks against your reason(s) to claim, you need to write to your lender making your complaint and outlining your case. Again MSE has the template letter you’ll need.
If your lender was mainstream, you may find additional information on their websites about PPI mis-selling and reclaiming. Find additional details for the main banks: Barclays, Clydesdale, Co-op, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds,Nationwide, NatWest/RBS, Santander.
Remember: Don’t give up! It is in the lender’s interest to see if they can reject your claim and hope you will just go away. Write back to them and reiterate the reason(s) you believe the policy to have been mis-sold, and ask them to reconsider. Mention that your next step will be the Financial Ombudsman Service but you would prefer to resolve this amicably and without involving another body.
Step 4 – Write to the Ombudsman
If you still have your claim rejected, then it is time to write to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) with your complaint. The FOS is the official independent complaint resolution service for settling disputes between financial institutions and consumers, and are well versed in all things PPI.
The FOS can only get involved if you have not reached a satisfactory result 8 weeks after your initial complaint to the lender itself. But once involved, they will decide whether you have a case or not, and not the bank. It isn’t a quick service – some cases have taken over a year to resolve – but it is completely free, and around 88% of cases taken up by the Ombudsman have awarded in favour of the consumer.
To make your complaint give them a ring on 08000 234 5679 (or 0300 1239 123 from a mobile), or you can file direct on their website.
You will need to back up your complaint in writing, but the FOS has a template letter you can use to do so.
- FOS Template Complaint Letter (MS Word)
Step 5 – Getting Further Help
Sometimes it helps just to chat through your circumstances with others who have been there and done that. There are forums dedicated to just that over at Money Saving Expert who will be able to guide you in the specifics.
Martin Lewis (of Money Saving Expert) has also prepared a highly detailed FAQ with just about every PPI reclaim-related question you could think of.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on!