The deadline to claim payment protection insurance (PPI) is about to be set. We've already had six million template letters downloaded and now to help we've launched an easy and free PPI reclaiming tool to help you get your money back without paying anybody a penny to do so.
Anyone who's ever had a loan, credit or store card, catalogue account, overdraft or car finance needs to urgently check NOW if they were flogged worthless PPI. And if this deadline when introduced seems a long way away, the queue will build up so the earlier you do this, the quicker you'll get dealt with and paid.
In this guide...
This is the latest incarnation of our PPI guide. Please let us know how you found it, and if the information worked for you in this article's forum discussion.
PPI reclaiming: The 9 need-to-knows
PPI was an insurance policy sold (or forced upon you) when you got a loan, credit or store card, catalogue account, overdraft or car finance
PPI stands for 'Payment Protection Insurance'. It's designed to cover your loan or credit card repayments for a year in the event of an accident, sickness or, in some cases, unemployment.
In itself, it isn't a bad product. But it's been widely mis-sold, leaving many paying thousands for potentially worthless cover and you could even have it without knowing (see the Mis-selling Checklist). Sales staff were hugely incentivised to sell PPI whenever possible and much of the insurance went on huge commissions.
Many were under so much pressure, they strayed far from the truth. The sellers were often trusted financial institutions, so sadly, many were left with mis-sold PPI. The mis-selling's scale has meant that many have no idea how much they're owed and are often staggered by the sums they get back.
A huge thank you for encouraging us to claim. We used your guide and received £22,000 for the PPI from our bank! - Jeff
When did PPI mis-selling start?
There's no specific start date the problems of mis-selling have been around for a long time. Martin was warning about them back in 2000, and others before that. Claims can generally start on policies from the 1990s (possibly earlier). The financial regulator started fining PPI companies in 2006, but a big improvement wasn't seen until 2011.
Why was PPI mis-sold?
There are some 20 million PPI policies in the UK, previously generating a whopping £5 billion a year for the companies involved.
The insurance cost almost always dwarfs the interest, so many believe this is the most overpriced financial product around.
Worse still, in June 2008, after a 15-month investigation into PPI, the Competition Commission found the following average payouts:
- Car insurance: 78%
- Home insurance: 54%
- Mortgage PPI: 28%
- Personal loan PPI: 15%
- Credit card PPI: 11%
Simply put, this means...
For every £100 insurers take on car insurance, they pay £78. On loan PPI they pay out just £15, meaning it's HUGELY profitable.
Most of this profit goes to the lenders, not the insurance companies. The only silver lining? It means mis-selling cases are easier to win!
Why is reclaiming possible?
Because what the banks did was wrong. Since 2006, the financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which became the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has fined PPI companies left, right and centre for "not treating customers fairly".
Then in August 2010 it finally decided the whole industry needed to tidy up its game and so set out a list of rules providers must follow to proactively find and compensate consumers who were mis-sold a policy.
In October 2010, the banking trade body, the British Bankers' Association, decided to take legal action against these plans and unfairly placed most cases on hold.
However, in April 2011 the High Court ruled in favour of mis-sold consumers, and the banks eventually accepted the verdict, gradually lifting the hold on complaints.
A deadline is set to be put in place, so you need to act NOW
Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority confirmed in August that it is set to introduce a time-bar likely June 2019 which it believes will prompt consumers into action. Technically, it's still at consultation stage yet in effect it's a fait accompli.
We've campaigned against this deadline but we certainly think it's going to happen and happen quick and it also means there's likely to be an enormous queue of people who stampede to do it because of the deadline. So even though the cut-off date is expected to be two years away, you need to act NOW.
I won't beat around the bush this is a huge call to arms. You've heard all this before and you might think it's all over it's not. Think this doesn't apply to you? Don't. We've heard from thousands of people who have reclaimed who thought it wasn't them take five minutes to check.
And if you've never tried before and don't think this affects you, you're possibly wrong. One of the ways PPI was mis-sold was by being added without you being told. Take this case study from John for inspiration...
I took your advice and have claimed PPI from all the companies we had loans with. The result has been overwhelming: approximately £19,000 back... thank you. - John
How much might I get back?
Potentially, big money. Generally, the amount you pay for loan PPI is about 15% of your balance, but it could be up to 30%. It doesn't sound much, but it quickly mounts up.
For loan reclaims it could be many thousands of pounds. Yet calculating the actual amount's difficult and often unnecessary, as the lender will do this for you.
It's possible to estimate how much the insurance has cost to see what you can reclaim. It then depends whether you're entitled to the full amount, or just part of it.
One way of doing this is to work out what your monthly loan payment should have been. Use our loan calculator to enter your loan amount, length and APR and compare with what you were paying. Here are some examples if you were paying more, it's likely PPI was included.
- A £5,000 loan for 5 years at 5% should be £95 a month.
- A £10,000 loan for 10 years at 10% should be £130 a month.
- A £20,000 loan for 3 years at 20% should be £740 a month.
Once you've worked out the amount, you can add the actual cost of any interest (as if your reclaim's successful you'll be put back into the same position you would've been without the insurance), plus the 8% interest a court would give to compensate (this was 15% for premiums paid before 1 April 1993).
The provider should also correct any further losses you've had as a result, such as any arrears charges due to taking the loan. But if you've an outstanding debt to the lender, it can use the money to pay it off.
In some circumstances your offer may be lowered due to a technical process called 'comparative redress'. It's not compulsory for you to accept this decision and we've discovered banks have been underpaying, often wiping a third off refunds. See the Comparative Redress section for more info on how to challenge, if this happens to you.
If you're in any doubt your bank has offered you the correct amount, call it to ask. See our independent leaflet for more info on what to look for on your offer letter.
Estimating the size of your reclaim
If you know your monthly PPI cost, simply multiply this by the length of the loan to work out its cost.
If not, you can do a very rough estimate. Work out the total loan cost by multiplying the monthly payments by the loan length, then take 15% off the total. This is a typical insurance cost, though it can be anywhere between 10% and 30%. Here are some examples:
Loans: Estimating the reclaim size
|Monthly repayment||Loan length||Total cost (length x repayment)||Estimated insurance cost (15% of total)|
|£100||3 years (36 months)||£3,600||£540|
|£125||5 years (60 months)||£7,500||£1,125|
|£150||5 years (60 months)||£9,000||£1,350|
|£200||7 years (84 months)||£16,800||£2,520|
|£150||20 years (240 months)||£36,000||£5,400|
Will reclaiming PPI hit my credit rating?
No, it won't hit your credit rating and won't go on your credit report. At worst, in theory the bank you reclaim from could keep its own record, which may affect future applications to that bank. But we've not heard of this happening in practice.
Can I make more than one PPI complaint?
Yes. You can reclaim for each policy you were sold, whether they're with the same or different banks. Just complete a separate form for each complaint.
I've already reclaimed bank charges, can I still reclaim PPI?
Yes. You can reclaim PPI whether or not you've already reclaimed bank charges.
Will I have to pay tax on any claim refund?
Its likely youll have to pay a small amount of tax, but most claimants will be able to get back what they pay. In brief, a payout's usually made up of three elements:
- A refund of the PPI premiums you paid
- Often the bank automatically lent you money (on top of the loan) to pay for the PPI itself; if so, you get the interest back on this part of the loan too
- Statutory (8%) interest based on the total amount you were owed (15% for premiums paid before 1 Apr 1993)
You are only eligible to pay tax on this last element, the 8% statutory interest. The reason for this is it's assumed that if you hadn't paid for PPI, you'd have kept the cash in the bank earning interest so its taxed like savings interest. But, since all the interest is earned in the tax year you get your PPI refund, its not completely straightforward.
This is because most savings interest now falls under the personal savings allowance (PSA), which allows basic-rate taxpayers to earn up to £1,000 tax free (higher rate £500, additional rate £0) in interest income each tax year.
After much back and forth, HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed that interest on PPI refunds can be included as interest under the PSA so youll only need to pay tax on it if it pushed you over the £1,000 threshold for the year (if youre a basic-rate taxpayer).
However basic-rate tax will be taken off your PPI payment automatically, so if youre still within your PSA limit YOU WILL NEED TO CLAIM BACK THE TAX using form R40 (or form R43 if living overseas). Similarly, higher- or additional-rate taxpayers will need to declare the extra income (just the statutory interest, not the other parts of the refund) to HMRC to ensure they pay the correct tax.
Contact your tax office, or call the income tax helpline on 0300 200 3300 if you need more info.
If you don't know if you had PPI, who your lender was, are missing info or lack paperwork, don't worry it's easy to find out
Lots of people worry about reclaiming PPI because they don't have full details or can't remember, but don't let this put you off. Here's what you need to do...
Don't know if you even took out PPI? Check your credit files
Don't feel silly if you don't know this is the number one question we get, full stop. First, you can try finding out by going back through all your old loan and mortgage statements and checking for any mention of an insurance fee or product to cover your payments if you lost your job through accident, sickness or unemployment.
Look for something that may be called 'payment cover', 'protection plan', 'ASU', 'loan protection', 'retail payment protection', 'loan care' or similar.
If you don't have those documents or simply cannot remember which lenders you've borrowed from in the past, don't worry you can check your credit report. It lists any loans, mortgages or other debts that were live within the last six years, even if they're now closed.
You've a right to see credit files for £2, but in general you can see them for free from Equifax, Experian and Callcredit. See our Check your credit report guide for full info. Don't think it's unlikely take the following success as a brilliant example:
We honestly believed we had never had PPI and ignored all your suggestions to check. Until... we saw you say that even if we didn't think we had, we should phone to check. Now it turns out we had three policies over the past 20 years and have recently had almost £5,000 back. Thank you, thank you, thank you! - K.H
Think you had PPI and know the lender but don't have the paperwork? Contact 'em for details
If you've thrown away your paperwork, don't panic: there's a way to get hold of it. If you don't have a copy of your agreement or T&Cs you can contact your lender to ask for a copy (make sure the T&Cs date back to the time of your agreement, as terms will change over time).
What to ask depends on whether your account is still open or is closed. Here are template letters to send off to ask your bank.
Is your account still open? Here, lenders can ask for £1 to provide a copy of your agreement but not all do so. You could include a £1 cheque (don't send cash, though) to speed it up a little.
Is your account now closed? You can ask for a full breakdown of your whole account, specifically including the insurance. If it takes longer than 40 days, report it to the Information Commissioner. This breakdown can cost £10 so you could include a £10 cheque (not cash).OPEN account CLOSED account
Got your old bank paperwork but not sure if you had PPI? Call 'em to ask
The easiest way to check is to contact your lender. Most will be able to tell you whether you've had PPI, either now or at some point in the past. For example, Nationwide has an enquiry form you can complete online to find out.
See contact details for the main banks
|Barclays||0800 282 390, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm or via the PPI portal once logged in to online banking|
0800 015 4210, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm
|Capital One||0333 000 1601, Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-2pm|
|Co-op||03457212212 lines open 24/7|
|HSBC||03457 404 404, 8am-8pm daily|
|Lloyds Banking Group||0800 151 0292 (Lloyds), 03457 253 519 (Halifax/Bank of Scot), Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm|
|MBNA||0800 062 062, 24/7|
|Nationwide||0800 302011, 24/7 or via this link|
|NatWest and RBS||0800 015 0319, Mon-Fri 8am-5pm|
|Santander||0800 1712171, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm|
If this doesn't work, what's needed is likely to depend on how old your policy is. Some lenders only need a name and address (remember to let it know if yours has changed), others may need more details.
It may be easier if you have the original agreement and terms. Under the Data Protection Act, if your account's still open, you've a legal right to get your agreement from the lender for £1.
If your account's closed and the lender can't find your PPI policy terms, it'll be harder to process your complaint. Contact your provider with as much detail as you can, or ask for a full breakdown of your account. It can cost £10 to get this.
I've asked but my bank says I didn't have PPI. Is there another way to check?
If your bank says you didn't have PPI, as a backup you can ask who it used as its underwriter (the company that decides whether you're eligible for the insurance). You can then contact this organisation directly to see if a policy exists.
My bank conversations were verbal/I've no other evidence, help!
Mis-selling's often systemic in other words, it was part of the standard sales pitch to sell incorrectly so it's still worth trying. The lender has responsibility to give full details, so is expected to have more evidence. The bank may know it was likely all customers were mis-sold during a specific period.
If it won't make any effort to settle it, make a complaint to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service. It settles disputes between financial companies and their customers. It's completely free, and will decide if your complaint should be paid.
There's NO time limit on how far back you can go to make a PPI claim; the only problem may be the paperwork
You can complain about a product sold at any time though here are some guidelines which may help. It's easier if your insurance was active in the last six years, but don't let this put you off.
Insurance started in the last six years: There's no issue here at all as you can request information from the lenders going back six years. Even if the loan's now paid off, you can start a reclaim.
Older insurance that's still active, or ended within the last six years: You can start a reclaim. The six-year rule applies to active insurance, so a policy taken out 12 years ago but paid off five years ago was still active within the key six-year period.
If your policy ended over six years ago: The 'statute of limitations' means banks don't need to keep records that are over six years old. However, there is no official cut-off time so if you've still got the paperwork while your chances of success are a little lower with older loans many still do successfully reclaim.
We've had many successes going back to the early 1990s:
I wrote to my bank about several loans I'd had with them since 1998. I got a letter back offering me just under £13,000 compensation for mis-sold PPI, very quick turnaround as well, money was in my account in less than a week from sending the agreement back! - C.S
Just received £705 in an answer for a PPI claim from February 1990... that's 26 years ago! I was checking paperwork for my wife when I found the original loan agreement from 1990. The moral of the story? Never throw away old bank statements. - Mr A.W
Can I reclaim if I'm still paying off the loan?
Yes though be aware any refunds may come off your balance (but it means you'll owe less if that happens).
Can I reclaim if the loan's repaid and I'm no longer a customer?
Yes. What counts is the fact you were mis-sold when you got the policy, not whether you still have the loan. The fact the debt's cleared doesn't mean you weren't mis-sold, so you can still reclaim. See the Mis-selling Checklist to find out.
Tried to reclaim PPI before and got rejected? If you believe you were mis-sold, try AGAIN
The PPI story is always changing and we hear new stories of bad practice all the time many banks have been fined for fobbing customers off and shoddy handling of their complaints.
If you're at all concerned that your past complaint wasn't dealt with fairly you have the right to carry on to the independent Ombudsman, or ask your lender to look again at your case. The fact you were rejected in the past does NOT mean you weren't mis-sold.
If you received the bank's final response within the last six months, take your case straight to the Ombudsman. Follow the steps below to carry on.
If it's been more than six months since your complaint was rejected and you didn't go to the Ombudsman, you may find it might not be as easy to restart your reclaim. This is because of rules laid down by the City regulator which say the Ombudsman does not have to consider a complaint if more than six months have passed since a 'final response' letter has been sent.
But even if six months are up, you could still claim again.
If your letter doesn't spell out that you've six months to go to the Ombudsman perhaps because the provider is prepared to look at all complaints at any time, or it's an administrative oversight by the lender you may be OK, so contact the Ombudsman immediately.
If six months have passed and you've had a final response letter, you could still be able to claim again. For example, a severe illness may have prevented you from being able to write to the Ombudsman in time.
Or say you had an original claim rejected on the grounds the PPI provider could find no evidence you ever had a policy.
If you then discover an original document during a clear-out which shows you DID have it, your case will usually be considered again. Don't worry if the bank won't play ball - if the bank says you can’t reopen it, you can then go to the Ombudsman to appeal this decision.
This should then allow you to go back again to the bank and say ‘look at my case’ - and if it rejects you once more, you can then appeal to the Ombudsman.
As a rule, a PPI provider prepared to look again at any complaint after the six-month 'final response' rule will tend to do so, as above, on a case-by-case basis. However, if you do think you have a legitimate case, then it's a simple job to do just use the Resolver tool below or the MSE template letters to resubmit your complaint to your bank.
Remember to put in details of your last complaint, including any reference numbers if you have them. Explain that you're unhappy with the bank's decision, and ask it to look again at your case. And if it decides against you, you can then go to the Ombudsman.
One point in your favour is that, the longer ago you were rejected, then the more likely it is that the bank decision was wrong. This is because many firms have been fined for mishandling complaints and so they will be more likely to accept your mis-selling case.
I was turned down by the Ombudsman a few years ago; can I try again?
If you've been turned down by the Ombudsman and the evidence is the same, it's unlikely your case will be heard and unlikely the decision will change. But if you've uncovered new evidence, your case will be strengthened especially if it casts the bank's complaint handling in a bad light.
There's another avenue too: even if you’ve been rejected by the Ombudsman you can still appeal.
If you’ve been rejected by an adjudicator at the Ombudsman and believe you have a strong case, then you can request it be handed over to an actual Ombudsman (a more senior employee). However, if an ombudsman then turns down your appeal, your only chance of winning is by going to court - at which point, you then might as well just give up and get on with your life.
If I've already claimed on my PPI, can I still make a mis-selling complaint?
Yes, you can. But your chances of winning redress are likely to be much lower as a payout will be seen as proof of the policy having worked in your favour.
You can still reclaim if your lender/broker has been taken over or gone bust
Don't be put off if this is the case. Original lender taken over? When buying another company, new owners are usually liable for its debts and for paying customers.
Sometimes the liability stays with the old provider, but complain to the new firm and it'll let you know if that's the case. As an example, Egg's credit cards have now been taken over by Barclaycard, so Barclaycard's liable for Egg's past PPI mis-selling.
If your lender's gone bust and you were mis-sold, you'll need to contact the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (the lender must have been FSA/FCA-regulated for you to do this). This is the official body which insures the liabilities of finance companies are met. See Safe Savings for more info the process is very similar.
Following your tips I claimed PPI against an old protection policy pushed by a now defunct provider a 'mean to' job which took me months to get around to. About three hours' work resulted in a £4,000 return which included refund of premiums plus interest. Enough to say yes to a family wedding invitation to Florida. - Mr C.G
My financial adviser/broker sold me another lender's PPI. Who do I contact?
Contact the company that sold you the policy in this case, the financial adviser or broker. If the seller acted as an 'appointed representative' of the insurance provider, it may say to contact the provider instead.
My lender was based in Jersey. Can I reclaim?
You can reclaim from a company based anywhere in the world if it mis-sold you PPI. Yet the company needs to be UK regulated for you to get help from the Financial Ombudsman Service. Not all Jersey-based companies are UK regulated, so ask the company or call the Ombudsman to check.
My debt's been passed to a collection agency. Who do I contact to reclaim?
Contact the company that sold you the insurance it may refer you to the debt collection agency if it has your files.
I've had a debt management plan / IVA / been bankrupt, can I reclaim?
Yes, your finances now aren't relevant to whether you were mis-sold or not.
However, it's worth being aware that if you have a debt to the lender, either on this account or from a debt in the past, it's likely to use the cash towards your debt. It can do this without your permission and is unlikely to change its offer, even if you had ill health or are in financial difficulties.
This also applies to any policies purchased before a bankruptcy or insolvency order was made. Whether you've been discharged or not, these 'assets' remain part of your estate so you're unlikely to get a refund. For more info read this guidance on Gov.uk.
An extra word of warning: if you've debt problems there's usually no point using a claims handler. If your arrears are larger than your potential payout you're unlikely to get the money, but you'll still have to pay the claims handler fee.
You can still complain yourself using this guide to help, then use the money to pay your lender what you owe it.
You CAN reclaim PPI for a deceased relative or if you live abroad
Many families only discover a parent or family member had taken out PPI when they die, during the onerous task of sorting through paperwork and their affairs but their death doesn't mean the end of the compensation they're owed.
Any monies owed become part of their estate, so the person who inherits is entitled to reclaim (let the executor know too). If there's no will this follows the rules of intestacy; see Gov.uk. Yet it's worth noting there may be problems proving what happened at the time of the sale if only the policyholder was present.
And if you live overseas, the fact you now live abroad is neither here nor there you can reclaim. See the Mis-selling Checklist to find out if you were mis-sold.
I found several old loan statements showing PPI in my late husband's paperwork. The loan company no longer exists so I had to google the parent company for an address. Then, six weeks later, the bank behind it wrote back saying they would be paying me £33,000 as PPI repayment accrued interest! Thank you a million times. - Mrs M. Cork
I had a joint loan with my partner but we're now divorced, does this affect my case?
This depends on the lender. Some need two signatures to release the info. Some only pay part to the person complaining, and keep the rest for the partner. Others pay it all to one person if the other ever reclaims, they'll tell them to find their ex.
I've still got the PPI. Will they cancel it if I reclaim?
Reclaiming almost certainly means your insurance will be cancelled you're effectively saying it isn't suitable for your needs. Only start the process if you definitely want your insurance to end.
I wasn't stupid enough to get PPI, what do I get back?
We get asked this quite a lot, but there are fundamental problems with the question. Being mis-sold PPI doesn't make you stupid. It often involved lies and deceit from supposedly trusted institutions.
Those who reclaim are only getting back cash that was wrongly taken from them. For more, see Martin's blog: 'Wish I'd been stupid enough to get PPI'.
You do NOT need to pay a company to reclaim PPI for you
How loudly can I say this? You do NOT need to pay, no way, absolutely not, never! (Well almost never, which I'll come to very shortly.)
Companies known as claims handlers do very little that we don't already do for you below in our new reclaiming tool. They usually take about 25% of the proceeds, plus VAT, yet it's easy to do yourself. Many people give away £1,000s unnecessarily when they could keep all the reclaimed cash themselves.
Just got a PPI payout this week £1,800 going back over 10 years and I did it all on my own without having to pay someone else. It was so easy. - Ms L.G
If you're thinking it'll simply be easier to use a claims company, don't: you're still going to have to provide them with the same information you put in the form here. However, in certain circumstances see below you should go ahead and do it.
What are the circumstances when it'll be worth using a claims company?
There are some situations when people will have to resort to using a claims company and it's most likely to happen in the following circumstances. However, do read Martin's blog first: Is it worth using a PPI claims company? 10 things you need to know.
- You've a pre-2005, non-Ombudsman case. For some with older cases of mis-selling that wasn't by banks, the Financial Ombudsman can't adjudicate. An example would be a car finance deal PPI. In that case, if the provider doesn't play ball then you'll need to go to court in which case a claims company on a no-win no-fee basis is useful. The problem is many claims companies just like to cherry-pick the easy cases. So it may be difficult to find one that'll take this on.
- Mental health or illiteracy. For those people who would find the process too difficult to do themselves, a claims company may be a helpful route though it's frustrating that society's most vulnerable may need to pay. It may be worth seeing if your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help first.
- You wouldn't bother doing it without. If you're busy and know it'll never happen otherwise, and are happy to pay a hefty 30%+ to get your cash back, then it's a perfectly legitimate choice to decide to pay to get your mis-sold PPI money back.
I get unwanted cold calls and texts from PPI companies, how can I make them stop?
It's illegal for UK companies to call any individual who has indicated they don't want sales calls.
If you don't want to receive marketing calls, join the Telephone Preference Service register. Once registered, it takes about 28 days for calls to be stopped, including live calls. See our Stop Cold Callers guide for full info.
For texts, there are two options you can follow. While they won't completely stop the spam, the more of us that do this, the less spam we're all likely to get in future.
Option 1 is to report the text to your network provider. The big networks have a simple, free method to help you do this. Just forward the message to 7726 (it spells SPAM), making sure it includes the sender's number. Vodafone customers need to add an '8' and Three customers need to add a '3' to the beginning of this.
Option 2 is to report the sender to the Information Commissioner's Office. This helps it monitor bad practice and investigate firms or individuals who may've broken the law. See our Stop Spam Calls and Texts guide for ways to report your spam.
A company's kept my initial fee after I pulled out, help!
Check the contract to see if you can get the fee back if you cancel. Some claims management firms (sadly, it doesn't apply to them all) say their commitment fee won't be more than £20, so the difference should be fully refunded.
If you paid by credit card you may be able to get a refund from your card company under Section 75 if it was over £100 (full info in our Section 75 guide). If so, it's likely this is your best bet contact your card company.
I'm using a claims handler but I'm not happy, what can I do?
Fear not since the start of 2015 the Legal Ombudsman has been able to help with complaints about claims management companies. If you feel you've received poor service, the process is similar to using the Financial Ombudsman Service.
First, make your complaint to the claims handler. It has eight weeks to reply, but if it takes longer or you're not happy with its response, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to help. Just fill in the form on its website and email the form back or call 0300 555 0333.
It's free to use and independent and has the power to make firms pay compensation, reimburse costs or provide other forms of suitable redress where it finds there has been poor service. It's also happy to give guidance on how to start a complaint if you give its enquiry line a call. Or you can ask it a question in the Ask The Ombudsman MSE Forum thread.
One extra point to note is that, as it's a new scheme, consumers can currently submit claims to the Ombudsman for issues going back to 5 October 2010, as long as they first complain to their claims handler. This complaint could be submitted now, or have been in the past.
However, for anyone complaining about a problem that occurred after 28 January 2015, the Ombudsman will only be able to take complaints within six months of someone receiving a final response from their claims handler.
The claims company says I've a better chance if I use it. Is this true?
No. There's no evidence whatsoever for that, so you should avoid it as it's not an honest player. You can reclaim yourself, for free, without giving any of your payout to a claims company just follow this guide.
How do I know if a claims handler's any good?
Check what they tell you against our picking a claims handler checklist.
Even if you weren't mis-sold PPI, a court case called Plevin means you're now likely due a chunk back because you were overcharged
In 2014, a court ruling held that customer Susan Plevin was treated unfairly because she wasn't told about the large amount of commission (71.8%) taken from her PPI payment. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says firms should generally consider a complaint on the grounds of an unfair relationship between lender and borrower if commission was above 50%.
This effectively means that if the cost of PPI was made up of more than 50% commission and you weren't told this, you should get the difference back. As typical commission was 67% most people are likely owed.
At the moment, the regulator is still consulting on how to deal with the implications of this, and how future claims need to be made. We've been lobbying hard on this, and it's not sorted yet; when we get there, we'll give you all the information to help you get what's owed to you.
Who is affected by the Plevin case?
Potentially everybody. In particular, people who might have previously had their claims rejected could now be due a refund. The FCA is working out how the Plevin case will affect policies on which commission was paid. So if you're currently waiting for an answer on your PPI complaint it might mean that it could be affected by Plevin. The regulator is still consulting so now it's just a matter of waiting for it to announce a statement is due before the end of March what it'll mean in practice.
Will the bank get in touch with me, or do I have to make the first contact?
At the moment, it's all very unclear. The FCA has so far suggested that it won't be expecting banks to reopen complaints automatically but that people can complain to the bank. So once the FCA decides what to do, if you think you might be affected by the Plevin case and entitled to some money, get in touch with your bank.
How much am I likely to get back?
In the Plevin case the courts decided that the amount of commission involved had been unfair. So if the cost of PPI was made up of more than 50% commission and you weren't told this, you should get the difference back. As above, because typical commission was 67% most people are likely owed. But the regulator is consulting on how to deal with it, so watch this space for more info.
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The Mis-selling Checklist: How do YOU know if it was mis-sold?
Don't start this thinking 'Do I have evidence?' Instead, ask yourself 'Did this happen to me?' and if it did, the likelihood is it happened to other people.
The way providers decide, based on the balance of evidence they've got, is 'Was this likely to be correct?' All you need do is answer the question about whether it happened to you, NOT 'Can I prove it happened to me?'
All policies will have exclusions, and you should've been told about them. As most policies are bought alongside a financial product rather than on their own, the key issue is:
...what was said at the point you were sold the product.
A. Were you told it was compulsory?
It's a common complaint that consumers are told they must buy a policy from the same provider as the loan to be accepted for the product. This is mis-selling.
If this applies to you, read the full 'I was told to have it' briefing
Any company that subscribes to the voluntary Lending Code (see subscriber list) agrees it won't insist you buy an insurance product from it. Therefore if the salesperson...
- Didn't make it clear the policy was optional or tell you about any cooling off period.
- Implied or stated it would be more expensive if you didn't take the insurance.
- Implied or insisted you take out their policy to qualify for the product or help with your application.
- Was very pushy when selling the product, so you felt you could not say no.
- Would not let you continue with the application if you did not sign the insurance agreement as well.
If one of the above applies, go to the how to reclaim section.
B. Didn't realise you had cover?
Too many people have told us of their surprise and shock to discover they have been paying PPI premiums for years and are stumped as to why. Yet there are many ways it was mis-sold to you without your knowledge...
If this applies to you, read the full 'I had no idea I had it' briefing
If you bought face-to-face or on the phone...
Here, the salesperson was responsible for ensuring you understood the terms of any PPI and that the policy was appropriate. This also applies if you took out the policy online but were later called about the insurance, as often happened.This form of mis-selling has often been systematic, with staff being forced to sell policies or face lower pay. You may have been told insurance was compulsory. It isn't, and that alone counts as mis-selling. Plus, the self-employed, unemployed, retired, those with pre-existing conditions, or who are covered elsewhere, have all commonly been flogged unnecessary policies.
So if you've got a case, write and complain. To reclaim, you'll need to write up to three times (go to our reclaiming tool for more); the last being to the free Financial Ombudsman Service, though there's a chance you could get a payout sooner.
How you could have it without knowing...
It's scary, but true many still have loans from when the picture was like this:
You want a £5,000 loan over five years. You've seen it advertised at a cheap 7% rate, so you call up.
You: "I'd like a £5,000 loan over five years please."
Bank: "I presume you've seen our competitive interest rates."
You: "Yes, can you give me a quote please?"
Bank: "Sure, our fully protected loan is £125 a month."
Most people would find it virtually impossible to mentally calculate how much the monthly repayments should be, so £125 sounds fine.
It's a brilliant hustle. The answer contained two little words that make 'em a fortune "fully protected". They mean you're also being flogged expensive insurance.
Actually, the cost of the loan at 7% should be £100 a month the remaining £25 is to pay for the insurance so with just the loan you'd have repaid the £5,000 borrowed plus £950 in interest.
However, the insurance adds £1,500 over the life of the loan; that's MORE than the interest cost and it's almost pure profit for the bank!
Widespread mis-selling has left many with unnecessary cover. Even if you need it, if you got it through your lender it's likely you're paying four times more than you need to.
If you bought online...
Nowadays, many apply for loans online. If you signed up on the internet, reclaiming's more difficult as the full terms are usually available there, and the onus was on you to have understood them.
But there's an important exception. If you signed up with a provider that was using pre-ticked boxes, you may have had to opt out of the insurance rather than opt in.
In July 2007, all lenders agreed to stop doing this, though if you took out a loan before this date, check urgently you may have bought insurance without knowing.
C. Were you told or sold the wrong thing?
This covers anything from the fact you were already covered through work or your partner, the policy was not what you agreed to, the insurance term was shorter than your loan and you didn't realise, or if you thought it was a joint policy but in fact it was only in one person's name.
If this applies to you, read our full general mis-selling briefing
Those selling PPI polices are obliged to tell you about the criteria of the policy and to confirm it's right for you. If you speak to someone when applying for a loan, they need to consider your circumstances. Buying online places more reliance on you doing checks.
However, because PPI polices earn providers large profits, staff were often highly encouraged to sell as many as possible, and were well paid for doing so, meaning mis-selling was rife.
If you contacted a provider by phone or in person, and it didn't give you fair, correct and reasonable information, it's likely you were mis-sold.
Some common examples of PPI mis-selling
Did you already have insurance cover?
For example, if you had a separate income protection policy or your employer provided an illness and redundancy package, and you informed the salesperson you had this cover, but they insisted you also had to take their insurance; or you weren't asked if you had any alternative cover, go to how to reclaim.
Do you have a joint loan, but the insurance is only in one name?
If you've checked your paperwork and found all names responsible for paying back the loan aren't covered under the insurance which is unfair in itself as either could be chased for money if you get behind with payments and you were told or thought that all names were covered, go to how to reclaim.
- Is the insurance term too short?
Long-term loans were often sold with a single premium policy until they were banned in May 2009 lasting a maximum of five years, no matter how long the loan was for. If you've checked your policy and found it didn't cover the full term of your loan, but you thought it did, the salesperson should have pointed this out. If the salesperson didn't, go to the how to reclaim section.
Have you tried to cancel your policy?
Before March 2007, some contracts had terms that said you couldn't cancel the policy even if you had paid off your loan or had a change of circumstances. Since the then FSA (now the Financial Conduct Authority) looked into these refund terms, cancelling is now possible for all current and future contracts. So if you tried to cancel your policy and were told you weren't allowed to, or that you needed to take out a new agreement with different terms, go to the how to reclaim section.
Did you sign up for the finance in a shop?
If you got a loan in a store, such as a car dealership, the insurance was likely to be sold by someone with no financial background, meaning more room for error, and a whole catalogue of misinformation could have been given. If this happened to you, start a reclaim to check the insurance was sold in your best interests.
Were you told the total price?
Before you agreed to take the loan, the lender should have told you the full cost of the insurance, both the monthly cost and total price over the policy, so you could tell if it was affordable. If you weren't given costs in advance, or if you had a single premium policy that cost more than it would have paid out, or you weren't told you would pay interest on the insurance cost, go to how to reclaim.
If you have an inappropriate PPI product and weren't told it was inappropriate, or you don't think you were given full information on what the policy would and wouldn't cover, ask for an explanation.
D. Self-employed, unemployed or retired?
If you were unemployed or retired when you were sold the policy, check if it included unemployment cover. If it did, the unemployment cover's worthless this should've been pointed out.
If you were self-employed at the time, check whether you were eligible for a payout if your business went bust (usually not) if not, and it wasn't pointed out, you may have a case.
If this applies to you, read our full mis-sold unemployment cover briefing
Have you been paying for a policy which includes unemployment? If you don't need unemployment cover, perhaps because you don't work or are self-employed, and mentioned this when you took out the policy, or were never asked about your employment status at all, a reclaim may be possible.
Is the policy suitable?
The unemployment element of PPI is only suitable for people who were working at the time they took out the policy; therefore you should've been asked about this at the time of application.
Example question: Are you in permanent employment, self-employment or contract employment for more than 16 hours a week?
Of course, if your policy only covers accident and sickness, with no unemployment element, this section doesn't apply to you.
What is classed as working?
Providers have different definitions, so it's important to examine your policy in detail. If you're self-employed, check whether your specific set-up is covered.
As the unemployment element is a substantial part of the insurance cost, many who are self-employed have been paying for a semi-useless policy and this could've been a huge waste of money.
If you were unemployed at the start of the policy (this includes students and stay-at-home parents), you were almost definitely mis-sold the insurance as, obviously, you wouldn't be covered for losing your job. The same applies if you knew you were going to become redundant or retire when you purchased the policy.
If it isn't suitable, were you mis-sold?
Assuming the policy isn't suitable, you need to establish if the salesperson bothered to check. Remember, it's the situation you were in when you got the cover that counts. So if you were an employee then, but are now self-employed, that's not their fault unless you've subsequently asked if it was still suitable and been misinformed.
It's likely you were mis-sold if either:
- A. You made the salesperson aware of your situation and they suggested you get it anyway.
- B. You weren't asked about your employment status at all.
Age is an issue
Most polices have an upper age limit of 65 or 70, after which you're not covered. If you were older than this when you took out your policy, you were definitely mis-sold.
If you've passed the age limit since taking out the policy, your cover and therefore payments should have stopped. If they haven't for any reason, you'll at least be entitled to a refund of payments made since passing the age limit.
This situation's rare, as providers' records should flag up someone's age being too high from their date of birth, but do check.
What to do if you were mis-sold
Read the other categories to check if you've more reasons to complain, then write a letter to your lender. Find full details and templates in the How to reclaim section.
E. Had any medical problems in the past?
Most policies exclude existing medical conditions, meaning you're unlikely to be covered for any medical problems you've had in the past. You should've been asked about this, and informed the policy could be affected.
If this applies to you, read our full pre-existing medical conditions briefing
You should have been asked about health issues when you got your policy. If you weren't, or were never asked about your medical history, a reclaim may be possible.
Example question: Have you had any illness, accident or other treatment which resulted in you being off work for more than 14 days?
What is a pre-existing condition?
Each provider has its own rules, but most are strict. It may decide whether to pay an insurance claim based on what it considers to be reasonable for you to have known about before the policy started.
If you make an insurance claim on health grounds, insurers may ask for medical records or proof you didn't have the problem when you took out the policy, and will probably turn it down if you've had a similar medical problem before.
This is one of the biggest reasons insurance payouts are rejected. Providers often take a 'broad brushstrokes' approach; for example, if you had a bad lower back, they may decide not to pay for other unrelated back problems.
Were you asked?
Salespeople are not obliged to have a detailed medical discussion, but if they didn't mention medical exclusions at all, the policy could be void.
Having had medical problems in the past is not enough to make a reclaim. The key point is whether, at the time of application, you were told this was an important part of the policy and were asked to disclose any past health issues.
Some insurers provide medical cover if you've been symptom-free for a few years prior to taking out the policy, so check your own paperwork carefully. If this applies to your policy, you weren't mis-sold, so this section doesn't apply to you.
Other health-related issues
As well as pre-existing health conditions, some general health problems are excluded from many polices, such as stress. Check the terms of your policy carefully to see if any conditions are not covered. If you weren't told about such exclusions, or were incorrectly informed when you asked about them, you may have been mis-sold.
What to do if you were mis-sold
Read the other categories to check if there are other reasons to complain, then contact your lender. Find full details and templates in How to reclaim.
F. Has your provider already been fined?
The regulator has said it wants to see better practice. Many major providers, including Lloyds, LV and Capital One, have been fined for "not treating customers fairly". If yours has, it's very likely you've a case.
If this applies to you, read our full list of fined providers
- Lloyds Banking Group: Fined £117,000,000 in June 2015 for failing to treat its customers fairly when handling PPI complaints between March 2012 and May 2013. More info: Lloyds Banking Group.
- Clydesdale Bank: Fined £20,678,300 in April 2015 for serious failings in its PPI complaint handling processes between May 2011 and July 2013. More info: Clydesdale Bank.
- Lloyds Banking Group: Fined £4,315,000 in February 2013 for failings in its systems and controls that resulted in up to 140,000 customers receiving delayed payments between May 2011 and March 2012. More info: Lloyds Banking Group.
- The Co-operative Bank: Fined £113,300 in January 2013 for unfairly putting complaints on hold during an unsuccessful legal challenge by the British Bankers' Association against FSA measures designed to ensure all PPI complainants were treated fairly. More info: The Co-operative Bank.
- Carcraft: Fined £91,000 in May 2012 for the poor monitoring of PPI sales between April 2007 and September 2008. More info: Carcraft.
- Swinton: Fined £770,000 in October 2009 for serious failings and an unacceptable level of non-compliant sales (on cover for home or motor insurance) between December 2006 and March 2008, when it stopped selling PPI. Swinton said it would contact over 350,000 customers who paid for the PPI and offer a full refund, as well as proactively reviewing previously rejected claims. More info: Swinton.
- Alliance and Leicester (A&L): Fined £7 million in October 2008 for serious failings in PPI telephone sales between January 2005 and December 2007. A&L said it would write to all customers concerned. More info: Alliance and Leicester.
- Five motor retailers: GK Group Limited, George White Motors Limited, Ringways Garages (Leeds) Limited, Ringways Garages (Doncaster) Limited and Park's of Hamilton (Holdings) Limited were fined a total of more than £175,000 in August 2008 for exposing a total of 2,175 customers to the risk of being sold unsuitable PPI policies. More info: Motor retailers.
- LV: Fined £840,000 in July 2008 for serious failings in the sale of single premium PPI on telephone loans sold between 14 January 2005 and 8 August 2007. It agreed to compensate customers if their policy was not appropriate and to refund interest automatically. More info: LV.
- Land of Leather Ltd: Fined £210,000 in May 2008 for allowing its sales force to sell PPI without effective monitoring or training between May 2006 and February 2007. More info: Land of Leather.
- HFC Bank, also trading as Household Bank and Beneficial Finance: Fined £1,085,000 in January 2008 for putting customers at an unacceptable risk of being sold PPI when it was not suitable for them. Failings took place in branches between January 2005 and May 2007. More info: HFC Bank.
- Capital One: Fined £175,000 in February 2007 for failing to ensure 50,000 customers buying credit cards and loans between January 2005 and April 2006 received important information about the policy. More info: Capital One.
- Redcats: This home shopping company was fined £270,000 in December 2006 for not having adequate systems and controls in place to minimise the risk of unsuitable sales. More info: Redcats.
- Regency Mortgage Corporation: Fined £56,000 in December 2006 for not collecting sufficient information during a PPI sale to ensure its recommendations met customers' demands and needs. More info: Regency Mortgage Corporation.
- Loans.co.uk: Fined £455,000 in October 2006 for not having appropriate systems and controls to minimise the risk of unsuitable sales. More info: Loans.co.uk.
Are you a customer of one of these firms?
If you're a customer of one of these companies, it may have already been in touch. If it hasn't, you should start a reclaim asking for justification that your policy was sold with your best interests in mind.
Warning! While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice and you act on it at your own risk.
You know what the reason is for the mis-selling if not, see the Mis-selling Checklist above.
But if you've got all the information above or as much of it as you can then you're ready to go...
Free PPI reclaiming tool from MoneySavingExpert
Our free online tool helps draft a letter (which you can alter before sending), sends it, tells you when you've a response, keeps track of your complaint and escalates it all the way up to the Ombudsman if necessary.
We do this using the complaints firm Resolver, which provides the technology, but the underlying template letters and logic behind it are ours. We're working with Resolver on many projects to combine our expertise on how to complain with its cutting-edge technology.
Choose the bank or PPI provider you were mis-sold by in the dropdown below:
All you need is your account number, the reason you think you were mis-sold (see The mis-selling checklist above) and the date you took out the product, plus copies of any of your statements or other relevant documents (Resolver lets you attach these before sending off the complaint).
- What if the bank / PPI provider says no? If your complaint's rejected or you don't hear back, after eight weeks Resolver will prompt you to escalate it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
- Can't find your bank? We've covered the big accounts, but if you can't find yours, Resolver says accounts can be added to the tool if you alert it via its website or by emailing email@example.com. If you don't want to wait, you'll need to complain directly using our template letters.
- Unhappy with Resolver? We don't have a lot of feedback on Resolver so far. Read past feedback and leave your own on our Resolver forum thread. For more on how we work with Resolver see our full Resolver guide.
Alternatively, use our free template letters
We've put all our information into Resolver and believe that's the easiest and best way to do it. However, if for some reason you decide you don't want to use the tool, we have template letters that you can either use or use as guidance to call the firm and ask for a refund.
In the old days this often meant following a protracted dance thankfully, it's much easier now. It's sometimes possible to deal with your whole complaint by phone. Use the information in the templates to guide your conversation.
How to do it: Fill in the templates
Fill in and send a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service's questionnaire below. For help getting all you need together, see the full details section of our FAQs.
You can either do this via the Ombudsman's online form which allows you to upload the paperwork to back up your case and submit your complaint online, without the need to print and post anything or you can use one of the forms below...Editable Word document Printable PDF version
And remember: if you complete a paper form, include copies of any paperwork that backs up your case, post it by recorded delivery to your lender and keep a copy for yourself.
Whichever route you choose, to help, we've written a guide to take you through it, step by step. It's written in Microsoft Word so you can easily cut and paste sections or have it next to you as you fill in the form.
If you're still having problems, call the Ombudsman on 0800 0234 567 (0300 1239 123 from a mobile).
See contact details for the main banks
|Barclays||0800 282 390, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm or via the PPI portal once logged in to online banking|
|Barclaycard||0800 015 4210, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm|
|Capital One||0333 000 1601, Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-2pm|
|Co-op||03457212212 lines open 24/7|
|HSBC||03457 404 404, 8am-8pm daily|
|Lloyds Banking Group||0800 151 0292 (Lloyds), 03457 253 519 (Halifax/Bank of Scot), Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm|
|MBNA||0800 062 062, 24/7|
|Nationwide||0800 302011, 24/7 or via this link|
|NatWest and RBS||0800 015 0319, Mon-Fri 8am-5pm|
|Santander||0800 1712171, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm|
The most important thing to understand is: don't be put off if you're rejected. You may also need to go to the Ombudsman later, but you need to have written to the lender first.
Help as your case progresses
Whether you apply using our new free tool or the templates, it's crucial that you keep a close eye on the progress of your complaint. These are the key stages you must keep track of, and take action once you reach each one.
Received an offer from your bank? Make sure it's fair
At this stage you could hear back from your bank with an offer to refund your PPI premiums. Some that offer letters may also include a leaflet from MSE and Which? to help you check your PPI offer is fair, and know your rights if you feel it isn't.
Here's a copy of the leaflet let us know if you received it and whether you found it useful in the MSE Forum. But wait... before you jump for joy, be sure you've received the full sum you're entitled to...
Did your bank underpay you?
The letter's hit the doormat and it's good news. You're getting a refund and it says you'll be put back into the position you would have been in had you not taken out PPI in the first place.
But, hang on, before you get too excited, there's an extra sting in the tail being inflicted by some of the banks, which means you might not get as much money back as you'd hoped. And it goes by the name of comparative redress. Catchy eh!
If Barclays, Lloyds or RBS/NatWest offered you a PPI refund on a LOAN from 2012, you may be owed £100s more.
What's the problem?
There are two types of PPI. One is added in full at the start of a loan (known as a single premium) and the other is added to your account monthly (also called a regular premium).
If your bank has decided it shouldn't have sold you a single premium but it should have sold you a regular premium instead you've been offered something called 'comparative redress'. It's basically suggesting it wasn't wrong in selling you PPI; it just sold you the wrong type.
If it's made this call, your offer will be the difference between what you actually paid and what you would have paid, if you'd been sold, in the bank's opinion, the correct product. It could mean you've been swindled by £100s or £1,000s.
For example, if the full refund of your single premium would be £1,000, and the cost of a regular premium would have been £400, you'd only get a refund of £600.
What products does this apply to?
It'll only be used for PPI taken out with a loan and not other types of PPI, such as credit card, store card, mortgage, catalogue, overdraft or car finance insurance.
You're unlikely to be affected if your case has been to the Ombudsman, as it would have already looked at this part of your complaint.
Are they allowed to do this?
Yes. Since the High Court ruled in favour of mis-sold consumers in April 2011 comparative redress became part of the regulator's rule book, so they are well within their rights to use it.
Not only that, but there's also a strange rule that says how much they're allowed to charge for the replacement PPI policy. It says:
The firm should pay to the complainant a sum less the amount the complainant would have paid for the alternative regular premium payment protection contract. The firm should, for the purposes of redressing the complaint, use the value of £9 per £100 of benefits payable as the monthly price of the alternative regular premium payment protection contract.
This means, even if the different type of PPI your bank suggests you should have been sold didn't actually exist at the time you were sold the PPI (which was usually the case) your bank is allowed to charge you £9 for every £100 you borrowed. So, on a loan of £1,000 the policy would have cost £90.
When are they allowed to use it?
The rules say this can only be used as long as it's done "fairly" and consistently. It's often been used when the bank decides you had no other way to repay your loan if you were ill or lost your job, so you needed a way to protect your payments.
It wasn't used straightaway though. A couple of lenders started in late 2012 and early 2013. Others soon followed suit but some have since stopped. See which lenders below. But the point is:
It's ONLY for loan PPI reclaims made from late 2012
A group of claims handlers found that, over a 12-month period between mid-2013 and mid-2014, up to 30% of PPI offers made by some providers included comparative redress, with claimants affected being about £730 worse off on average. See the MSE News story for more.
Which lenders are doing it?
We contacted the major banks and building societies and the following confirmed they use comparative redress or have offered it in the past:
- Barclays offered comparative redress between October 2012 and October 2013.
- Lloyds Banking Group has offered comparative redress since February 2013 and continues to do so.
- The RBS Group has offered comparative redress since early 2013.
The following providers have confirmed that they've never used comparative redress:
HSBC says it offered comparative redress to a handful of customers, but it was never part of the bank's formal complaints process.
How to spot if you had comparative redress
Dig out your PPI offer letter and look for the mention of comparative, or alternative, redress. If you no longer have the letter ask your bank to send you a copy.
It could also be referred to simply as a different type of PPI, a monthly policy, or something that would 'cost £9 for every £100 of your monthly repayment'.
If you're not sure, call your bank to ask "Did my offer contain comparative redress?" See contact details for the main banks in the table above.
How to challenge the decision
Whether you received your refund offer in the last week or over a year ago, if you disagree you would have bought this different PPI it's NOT compulsory for you to accept your bank's decision and you can get your money back EVEN if you've already received a payout.
Contact your bank
If you believe you never needed PPI in the first place, simply call your bank to tell it why. You are able to rightly reclaim what is yours.
Examples of when you might want to challenge a decision include when you already had cover from work or savings to cover it, or you repaid the loan early or refinanced so there was no need for loan insurance.
This should just be a matter of making a quick phone call to make sure your bank had all the information it needed to make its decision, but if you'd like to put your request in writing, our template letter may help.
Can the Ombudsman help?
The free Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can help with most cases if you think your bank's not playing ball.
Complaints are time-barred from going to the Ombudsman if it's over six months since your last contact with your bank. But don't let that put you off.
Call the Ombudsman on 0800 0234 567 (0300 1239 123 from a mobile). And see its leaflet on Comparative Redress.
As comparative redress is a more recent development, the FOS said it's happy to be a point of call for enquires and will look at taking on cases, new and old, on a case-by-case basis.
If you've tried this, please let us know how you got on in the PPI comparative redress discussion.
Rejected by your bank instead? Carry on to the Ombudsman
If you're rejected during the reclaim stage using our Resolver tool, you'll automatically receive a trigger reminder to take your complaint to the Ombudsman. There'll be a few brief details to fill in and then our tool will send on the details of your original complaint to the Ombudsman. Otherwise, if you're using our template letters, it'll be up to you to escalate it.
The Ombudsman is the official, independent service for settling disputes between financial companies and their customers. It is completely free to use, and will adjudicate on whether your complaint should be paid out.
It'll decide whether your policy was sold unfairly or unreasonably (see some examples). It can only do so once eight weeks have passed from the date of your first complaint letter, unless your bank sends a final letter within the eight-week period.
While the process of using the Ombudsman PPI claim form is simple, and the amount of money you could receive is massive, it's not usually quick. Your case may take a couple of years to be settled, so don't count on the cash now.
How to make a complaint to the Ombudsman
Just contact the Ombudsman and ask it to take on your case. The Resolver tool allows you to do this. The Ombudsman will then look at each case individually, so if yours is a matter of you saying one thing happened but the company disagrees, the Ombudsman will decide if it thinks the company acted fairly.
As the party with responsibility to provide full details of the insurance, the lender is expected to have more evidence on what happened to back up its case.
In the last few years, of the cases that needed to go as far as the Ombudsman, around two-thirds were awarded in consumers' favour. And even if yours isn't, there's no penalty for losing it just means you don't get the money back.
Let it know your story the non-Resolver route
If you haven't already filled in the PPI questionnaire in the template letters section you'll need to do this now. Enclose copies of any paperwork that backs up your case. If you need help at any stage call the Ombudsman's helpline on 0800 0234 567 (or 0300 123 9123 from a mobile).
Everyone also needs to fill in a copy of the Ombudsman's complaint form:
You can either do this via its online form which allows you to fill out the PPI questionnaire at the same time or you can use one of the forms below...Editable Word document Printable PDF version
Again, it's quite simple to fill in, though do take care. To help, we've written a guide which takes you through the questions step by step. It's written in Microsoft Word so you can easily cut and paste sections, or print it and have it next to you as you're filling in the Ombudsman's form.Ombudsman complaint form help
What to do if you're having problems opening the guide
The Ombudsman will then send you a confirmation letter to say it'll look into your case and get back to you if it needs any more information.
Sometimes this will take a long time, maybe even a couple of years, as the Ombudsman deals with huge numbers of complaints. Though don't worry you can leave the matter to the Ombudsman to resolve and it will contact you with any offers from your lender.
If you think the Ombudsman wrongly turned you down
The Ombudsman's decision is usually made by an assigned adjudicator, but if you disagree with the result, you can ask for a formal decision to be made by one of the official ombudsmen at the service. This usually takes several months as it involves a detailed investigation into your case, but don't be afraid to push your complaint further if you think the initial decision isn't right.
After that, while the finance company must accept the Ombudsman's decision, you still have the right to take the company to court see the 'Use a claims handling firm?' section if you don't agree with the result.
It's also worth noting that if you feel the Ombudsman hasn't handled your case correctly, eg, there have been unnecessary delays, you can ask for a senior manager to review it. If that doesn't resolve things you've a right to go to the Independent Assessor, though this is only about quality of service, not the actual decision made.
For other complaints the Ombudsman can help with, see our Your Financial Rights guide.
When won't the easy route work?
The Ombudsman can only help with complaints about Financial Services Authority (FSA)/Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-regulated companies. All PPI sales from January 2005 are regulated by the Ombudsman, but some earlier policies aren't. Any provider that was regulated before this will be covered by the Ombudsman, so all banks' and building society loans should be fine.
Sadly, if you got PPI in 2004 or earlier and the provider wasn't FSA/FCA-regulated (such as car dealerships, window installer or some hire purchase arrangements), the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction. This makes reclaiming trickier, though it's still worth trying.
Call the Ombudsman to check it'll put you in touch with any other organisations that may be able to help, including the Finance & Leasing Association, Association of British Insurers or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if your lender's gone bust.
I'm still waiting on the Ombudsman, how long will it take?
This is a bit of a nightmare for some. Using the Financial Ombudsman Service is simple, and the best way to go, but it takes far too long. PPI reclaiming numbers have exploded. While the Ombudsman's working hard to get it together, it may take a couple of years to be settled. So don't bank on getting your reclaim (and payout) sorted quickly.
If you're in the midst of immediate, severe and provable financial hardship, let the Ombudsman know. It may be able to prioritise your case.
My bank agreed to refund PPI but I'm still waiting, can I speed things up?
Sadly this is a common, frustrating problem. Banks say it should be within 28 days, but it could be 8-12 weeks. You'll get interest on the payout up to the date it's issued though, so that's a minor consolation. If the delay's unreasonable, there's nothing to stop you contacting your bank to say you aren't happy, and asking for extra compensation for distress and inconvenience.
Can a PPI refund be taken to pay debts, eg, an overdraft / loan?
Yes. Banks call this 'setting-off'. Most banks have the right to transfer cash from your bank or savings accounts to pay off other debts held with them, such as credit cards or loans.
Yet a bank taking money shouldn't leave you in financial hardship. If it does, tell your bank and complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you think you aren't being treated fairly. See the Setting-Off guide for full info.
I've been offered a goodwill payment. What does this mean, and can I get more?
A goodwill payment's an offer of a payout without the company admitting it did anything wrong. Companies rarely say they're in the wrong they simply offer some cash to stop your complaint going further. If you don't think it's enough, you can negotiate for more. If you still don't think it's enough, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Our understanding your offer letter leaflet will help you decide if your offer is fair and what to do if you think it isn't. You don't need the help of a claims handler to do this; it's free and easy to do yourself.
I accepted a goodwill offer from my lender, can I reclaim more?
Usually not, although if you're in any doubt your bank has offered you the correct amount, call it to ask. Our understanding your offer letter leaflet will show you what to look for.
An example of this may be if your lender made you an offer including something called 'comparative redress'.
A few lenders, including Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest, have been using this system since late 2012, and it may have meant they underpaid you, often wiping a third off your refund.
It's used when your bank decides it shouldn't have sold you one type of PPI, but another was more suitable. It'll offer you the difference between what you actually paid and what you would've paid, if you'd been sold in the bank's opinion the correct product.
It could mean you've been swindled by £100s, so read the comparative redress section above for more info on how to challenge the decision if it's happened to you.
I've received two payments is the interest paid separately?
We think some lenders split payments into two parts, eg, when your account's still open and needs restructuring, the interest can be paid separately. If you're not sure what you've received and why, contact your bank to ask.
Just got a payout but now wondering about Plevin?
We've yet to find out exactly how the City regulator will act on claims about Plevin. However, we'll tell you the moment we hear its plans and update this guide immediately.