I have just been contacted by Help Your Claim regarding assisting me to claim for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) policies. I gave it my past addresses and information about which banks I have banked with.
Afterwards I checked online and saw that some firms take that kind of information and sell it to scammers. If that’s the case, what can I do now that I have let the cat out of the bag?
The first thing to do is find out if Help Your Claim is a genuine company or not. A quick Google search brings up a fairly reputable-looking website with a genuine address in Manchester.The same name and address can also be found listed on the Companies House and on the Ministry of Justice’s registers of regulated claims management firms. I spoke to Help Your Claim and the Claims Management Regulator.
It is a legitimate, regulated claims firm, but it is currently under investigation by the regulator for unprofessional conduct under regulation 35 of The Compensation (Claims Management Services) Regulations 2006.
Therefore, it would be advisable to terminate any agreement you have made with the firm, especially as, if Help Your Claim does find you have a claim for PPI, it will take 30% plus VAT of any payout you receive. Given that the process for claiming PPI is very straightforward, I wouldn’t pay what could be hundreds of pounds for this company to do it for you.
If it has been less than 14 days since you spoke to Help Your Claim, you are entitled to contact the firm and cancel your request without paying anything, which I would do if possible. If it has been more than 14 days, you can still stop the firm doing any further work on your behalf, but you may have to pay a fee for the work it has already undertaken.
In future, never give out personal details to cold-callers; simply hang up the phone. If you are concerned that you may have given out sensitive information, I would recommend you change all your internet passwords and keep an eye on your credit record to make sure no applications for finance are being made in your name.
How to reclaim PPI
For years banks and building societies sold payment protection insurance (PPI) alongside credit cards, loans and finance agreements. The idea was that it would kick in and cover payments if you were ill or unemployed.
The problem is it was widely mis-sold to people who would never have been able to claim due to limitations in the small print. As a result, people have been able to reclaim millions of pounds of premiums.
Find out if you are due a refund by firstly contacting your bank or building society to see if you were sold PPI. If you were, was it explained properly to you and did the seller make sure the product was appropriate for your circumstances? If you don’t think it was, you can contact the company that sold you PPI and ask for a refund.
You should hear back from it either rejecting your request or making you an offer. If you are happy with the amount, take it. Otherwise, you can take your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.
You can find a template letter to send to your bank asking for a PPI refund on our page How to reclaim your PPI premiums.