Claim for mis-sold PPI - but do it yourself
According to the Financial Conduct Authority, a total of £376 million was paid back in March 2013 to customers who complained about the way they were sold payment protection insurance (PPI). This brings the amount paid out for mis-sold PPI since January 2011 to £9.6 billion.
So although the initials PPI may make you groan, that's probably more to do with the bad press deservedly received by companies that act as claims handlers. These either charge an upfront fee to submit a claim on your behalf – with no guarantee that they will be successful – or work on a 'no win, no fee' basis, taking a substantial chunk of any payment you'll receive.
However, it's surprisingly easy to claim for mis-sold PPI yourself and a quick call to your lender and a bit of form filling could result in a tidy sum you hadn't banked on.
The fact is, if you took out a loan, mortgage, credit card or other credit repayment, you may have been sold PPI to cover you being unable to meet the payments, say, due to an accident or ill health.
Not all PPI was mis-sold, but you can make a claim, for instance, if you were pressurised into taking it out or you thought it was a condition of taking out the loan and it wasn't explained properly to you, or PPI was added to your loan without your permission.
While some banks have been sluggish in settling PPI claims – last month, Lloyds faced criticism for the way that one of its eight centres investigated PPI claims – others seem to be more proactive.
If you're lucky, your lender may even contact you to see if you have a case. HSBC recently phoned my husband to ask if he'd been mis-sold PPI with a loan he'd taken out several years ago. He answered honestly that he couldn't remember actively asking for it but it was a long
time ago. The caller suggested that he might as well fill in a PPI claim form, as he had nothing to lose. And just a month later, he was sent a letter with an offer of £2,100.
For help making a claim, the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk) provides useful information and a consumer helpline (0300 123 6222).