The number of complaints regarding payment protection insurance (PPI) may have already past its peak, with figures from the Financial Ombudsman Service showing that volume has fallen by a third since reaching 3,000 per day in mid-Winter. But banks will not be allowed to rest easily.
Estimates suggest the vast majority of customers who were sold a PPI policy (as many as 85%) have yet to file a complaint.
Some may not realise that they are entitled to compensation, while many have been dissuaded or outwardly dismissed by banks’ complaints handling teams.
Last month, one of Lloyds’ complaints handling centres were caught dismissing PPI cases on the basis that most complainants simply give up once they are rebuffed the first time.
Lest we forget, this is the same bank whose ‘salespoint’ system incentivised staff to sell products that were more valuable to the bank than to the customer.
Banks are continuing to sit upon a compensation pot worth £10 billion, while rejecting valid complaints out of hand and then, to add insult to injury, extending a hand to firms like CPP which carried out mis-selling behaviour on their behalf.
A disaffected public now wants banks to be forced into proactively tracking down affected customers rather than waiting for them to complain first. Some in the financial services industry are not happy to let the matter rest either.
Gary Verschuur, Founding Partner of Forbes Douglas, has offered advice to people who are unsure about claims or whose complaints have been dismissed out-of-hand.
How to Get Started:
Retrace Sources of Credit
If you can’t remember your itemised credit history or have not kept all the paperwork for old credit cards and loans, it’s very easy to trace this down, says Verschuur.
Credit references agencies such as Equifax or Experian will provide a copy of your credit report for £2, which details any loans or credit cards that have been active over the last six years – even if they were taken out before that time.
Request the Paperwork
Write to these lenders and request copies of any paperwork that they hold related to your account or your relationship with them. They must respond within 40 days.
This information will disclose whether or not PPI was applied to that credit card or loan.
Begin a Claim
If you think a claim is merited, this can be done directly with the bank to avoid the fees of a claims management company.
Or, if you are uncomfortable with the thought of dealing with banks’ complaints teams, these companies are around to help.
Do Not Let Banks Fob You Off
The most important thing is not to take a rejection from the bank as the end of the road, says Verschuur.
Cases can be taken to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service, which will judge whether mis-selling took place.
They [banks] have outsourced the claims handling process to other companies, but those other companies in cahoots with the banks are again not treating customers fairly, so it’s a great shame.
If the banks themselves are not going to put that right then it’s beholden on the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, to step in and say, “Hang on a minute, guys. You’re not playing fair here by your customers.”
The chief Financial Ombudsman yesterday said that if the banks had adequate processes in place for dealing with complaints then the ombudsman would only be deciding a quarter of appeals in favour of the customer, rather than three quarters that they are doing. So something is not quite right…
Gary Verschuur, Forbes Douglas