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Reclaim PPI for Free

Claim £1,000s for mis-selling with time-bar looming

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Martin and Wendy

Updated November 2016

Broken piggy bank with cash spilling out

This is urgent for everyone who's had a loan, credit or store card, catalogue account, overdraft or car finance. The regulator in August reiterated plans to introduce a time-bar on claims, so check NOW if you were flogged worthless PPI – and if you were rejected before and didn't go to the Ombudsman, try again.

Never pay a claims handler 30% – you can easily reclaim £1,000s for free yourself. This is a step-by-step guide on how to join the millions who've had over £20bn of PPI premiums refunded, including free PPI complaint templates – downloaded more than 6.3 million times – how to deal with an offer and how to re-open a complaint.

Warning! While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can't assume responsibility & don't accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it.

PPI claims FAQs

Follow the step by step guide to reclaim. It's a relatively easy process, yet many have questions so this FAQ section should help you see the lay of the land before you start (thanks to all who suggested questions).

If your question isn't answered here, it may be in the main guide below. Remember, the general rule is, if you think you were mis-sold, give it a go. If the bank rejects you, that doesn't automatically mean you don't have a case – take it to the free Ombudsman service.

The PPI basics: what is it, how was it mis-sold?

Important. FCA reiterates its plan for anti-consumer claims deadline. What does it mean for you?

What is PPI?

Is every PPI policy bad?

Why has it been mis-sold so much?

When did PPI mis-selling start?

How much will I get back?

I've claimed on my PPI, can I still make a mis-selling complaint?

If I want to keep my PPI, can I save money on it?

Will they cancel my PPI if I reclaim it?

I wasn't stupid enough to get PPI, what do I get back?

I don't have full details, what can I do?

I've forgotten who my loans / cards were with, how can I find out?

I don't have my PPI account number or terms, how do I check if I had PPI?

My bank says I didn't have PPI. Is there another way to check?

What name should I look for to spot PPI on the paperwork?

How do I start a complaint?

What does my complaint need to say?

Do I send my complaint to the bank or Ombudsman?

Which address do I send my complaint to: local branch or head office?

My conversations with the bank were verbal / I've no other evidence, help!

I can't remember for sure if they said I had to have PPI, should I reclaim?

My debt's been passed to a collection agency. Who do I contact to reclaim?

I got a text message saying I was owed £1,000s of PPI money back. Is it true?

'Can I reclaim' queries

I was rejected by my bank a while ago (possibly years), can I start a new complaint?

The Ombudsman has ruled in favour of my bank. Is there anything else I can do?

My PPI was on an old account, how far back can I reclaim?

Will I have to close my account / lose my overdraft / be penalised if I reclaim?

Will reclaiming PPI hit my credit rating?

Can I make more than one PPI complaint?

I've already reclaimed bank charges, can I still reclaim PPI?

Can I reclaim if I'm still paying off the loan?

Can I reclaim if the loan's repaid and I'm no longer a customer?

I've had a debt management plan / IVA / been bankrupt, can I reclaim?

I've read my PPI company never pays out. Can I still reclaim?

My lender's been taken over. Can I still reclaim?

My lender's gone bust, can I still reclaim?

My financial adviser / broker sold me another lender's PPI. Who do I contact?

Can I reclaim PPI if the policyholder has died (eg, parent / husband / wife)?

I had a joint loan with my partner but we're now divorced, does this affect my case?

Can I still reclaim if I live abroad?

My lender was based in Jersey. Can I reclaim?

'Was I mis-sold?' queries

I had PPI on a catalogue, overdraft, store card, car loan or credit card?

I was told to buy mortgage PPI, was it mis-sold?

I wanted PPI when I signed up, was I mis-sold?

What counts as mis-selling – how do I know?

How does the bank decide if my complaint's eligible?

My bank has written to me to say I should complain. What do I do?

I made a redundancy claim but found my PPI won't cover it, was I mis-sold?

I was employed when I got PPI. I'm now self-employed, was I mis-sold?

I tried to cancel PPI but the lender said I should keep it, so I did. Is this mis-selling?

I had free PPI for a few months but forgot to cancel. Can I reclaim?

I'm in the armed forces, am I entitled to reclaim PPI?

The Ombudsman, payments & more

My offer letter included a leaflet from MSE and Which?, did you write it?

The bank rejected my reclaim – should I go to the Ombudsman?

How long should I give my bank before I go to the Ombudsman?

I'm still waiting on the Ombudsman, how long will it take?

I was turned down by the Ombudsman a few years ago, can I try again?

My bank agreed to refund PPI but I'm still waiting, can I speed things up?

Can a PPI refund be taken to pay debts, eg, an overdraft / loan?

I've been offered a goodwill payment. What does this mean, and can I get more?

I accepted a goodwill offer from my lender, can I reclaim more?

I've received two payments, is the interest paid separately?

I was offered a refund but the bank changed its mind, help!

Do I need to pay tax on my refund?

Can I wipe out the whole debt?

Where can I get more help?

If your question hasn't been answered above, please let us know in the PPI FAQs discussion.

Get £1,000s back on mis-sold PPI

The UK's biggest protection racket isn't run by thugs in back alleys, but the genteel staff of Britain's banks. For years they were made to steal £1,000s, but now you can get your money back.

We've won in court – paving the way for the millions that've been mis-sold to reclaim. Reclaiming yourself is easy, lets you keep the full amount – and it's completely FREE.

If you've got a loan, urgently check whether it included insurance. If it did, you could be paying £1,000s for potentially worthless cover – and you might not even know about it.

Quick FAQs

Why is reclaiming possible?

Why was PPI mis-sold?

Some inspiration before you begin

If you've been mis-sold you CAN get the money back. And you can do it yourself and for FREE. Success stories have been flooding in from those who've easily reclaimed £1,000s.

Here are a few for inspiration, see PPI Successes for more:

Thank you so much for giving me the courage to reclaim my PPI and for making it so easy – I have received £35.000. It has literally been life-changing.
Last week my bank said it wouldn't uphold my complaint, now it's offered £6,000. I only wrote as MSE told me to.
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.
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!

Even if you said you didn't want PPI, it's still worth checking, as one site user found...

I actively refused PPI on every loan/credit card but they'd still been charging me. #Sneaky

How it may have been mis-sold?

How easy your reclaim is likely to be depends on how you signed up originally:

If you bought online ...

Man with online sign

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, but if you took out a loan before this date, check urgently – you may have bought insurance without knowing.

How you could have it without knowing...

If you bought face-to-face or on the phone...

Here, the salesperson was responsible for ensuring you both 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 (templates for all of them are here); the last being to the free Financial Ombudsman Service, though there's a chance you could get a payout sooner.

As all of this is free, the worst case scenario by reclaiming is... you lose the cost of three stamps.

Step-by-step reclaiming

If you think you may be a victim of PPI mis-selling, follow this step-by-step guide:

Step 1Step 1. Check your policy

Before starting, it's important to see if your complaint's valid. See the PPI Basics questions in the FAQ section.

The first step is to find out whether you had insurance on your account. Either write or phone the company that sold your loan and ask.

Most big lenders will be able to tell you by phone whether you've had PPI, either now or at some point in the past. See contact details for the main banks in the PPI reclaiming's getting easier MSE news story or just try the main customer service number for the firm.

Want to see your paperwork?

While it isn't always necessary, as you can start a reclaim without 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 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. There are template letters for both below to help.

Open account? 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.

Closed account? 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 can cost £10 so you could include a £10 cheque (not cash).

OPEN account CLOSED account What to do if you have problems opening the letter

Calculate how much you may be owed

step 2Step 2. The PPI mis-selling checklist

Now it's time to go through the checklist below. Sellers of PPI have a responsibility to ensure you understand the nature of the product, and that it's appropriate for you.

All policies will have exclusions, and you should have 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.

Here are the key mis-selling categories. If you fit one or more of these, you probably have a case:

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 in order to be accepted for the product. This is mis-selling.

Any company that subscribes to the Lending Code (see 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, then go to the how to reclaim section.

Didn't realise you had cover?

Have you just checked your loan agreement to find that you've been paying for insurance, but didn't realise until now that you had it, or what it's for?

Some old agreements (pre-July 2007) may have used pre-ticked boxes so you had to opt out of the insurance rather than opt in, which is unfair. Always check this, and if you're paying for insurance you didn't know you had, go to how to reclaim.

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.

Does this apply to you? Expand the full general mis-selling briefing

Self-employed, unemployed or retired?

If you were unemployed or retired, check if the policy included unemployment cover. If it did, the unemployment cover's worthless – this should've been pointed out.

If you were self-employed, 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.

Does this apply to you? Expand the full mis-sold unemployment cover briefing

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.

Does this apply to you? Expand the full pre-existing medical conditions briefing

Has your provider already been fined?

The regulator has said it wants to see better practice. Many major providers, including Lloyds, Liverpool Victoria and Capital One have been fined for "not treating customers fairly". If yours has, it's very likely you've a case.

Does this apply to you? Expand the full list of fined providers

Step 3Step 3. Contact your lender

Write to or phone the company that sold the policy and ask for a refund. In the old days this often meant following a dance – thankfully, it's much easier now.

It's sometimes possible to deal with your whole complaint by phone. Barclays' customers can also start a complaint via the PPI portal once logged into online banking. Find the contact details for the main banks in the PPI reclaiming's getting easier MSE News story. If it works, great. If not, put it in writing – see the templates below.

How to do it: complete a simple questionnaire

Fill in and send a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service's questionnaire below. For help getting the details together, see the full details section of the 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).

Ombudsman questionnaire help
What to do if you're having problems opening the guide

Find additional details for the main banks: Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, Co-op, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest/RBS, Santander.

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.

Received an offer from your bank?

At this stage you could hear back from your bank with an offer to refund your PPI premiums.

That's great news but before you jump for joy, have a read of the Did your bank underpay you? section below to check you've received the full amount you're entitled to.

Some 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 is a copy of the leaflet, let us know if you received it and whether you found it useful in the MSE Forum.

Rejected by your bank? Restart your complaint

If you submitted a PPI reclaim in the past, and didn't take it to the Ombudsman, then it's worth restarting your complaint. More than 60% of cases escalated to the Ombudsman have been upheld in the consumer's favour – a shockingly high figure, given these are complaints that banks have already turned down.

If you tried to reclaim within the last six months, and your bank rejected your case, you can go straight to the Ombudsman (see below). However, if you complained more than six months ago, it can be difficult 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.

Exceptions to the rule

However, there are some circumstances in which this rule may be overlooked. These include, for example, a severe illness that prevented somebody from being able to write to the Ombudsman in time. Or take an original claim which had been rejected on the grounds the PPI provider could find no evidence a customer ever had a policy.

If the individual concerned then discovers an original document during a clearout which shows they DID have it, the case could be considered. Alternatively, if the bank or financial firm itself is happy to look at all complaints at any time - rather than just ones made inside the six-month deadline - then the Ombudsman will also look at it. But this is unusual.

As a rule, a PPI provider prepared to look at any complaint after the six-month rule will tend to do so on a case-by-case basis. However, if you do think you have a legitimate case, then it's simple job to do – just use the FOS online form or the MSE template letters to submit 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.

Step 4.Step 4. Write to the Ombudsman

If you still haven't reached a satisfactory conclusion, it's time to make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It's important to understand that if your bank didn't help follow the ode below...

An ode to remember: Write to the ombudsman

This is the official independent service for settling disputes between financial companies and their customers. The Ombudsman 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

FOSJust contact the Ombudsman and ask it to take on your case. It 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 65% were awarded in consumers' favour. And even if yours isn't, there is no penalty for losing – it just means you don't get the money back.

Let it know your story

If you haven't already filled in the PPI questionnaire in Step 3 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. But 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 below – 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 the Your Financial Rights guide.

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 is 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.

Quick questions

What products does this apply to?

Are they allowed to do this?

When are they allowed to use it?

Which lenders are doing it?

How to spot if you had comparative redress

Boxing glovesDig 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 PPI reclaiming's getting easier MSE news story.

How to challenge the decision

Boxing glovesWhether 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; 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 of the information it needed to make its decision, but if you'd like to put your request in writing our template letter may be able to help.

Can the Ombudsman help?

The free Financial Ombudsman Service 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 it on 0800 0234 567 (0300 1239 123 from a mobile). See its leaflet on Comparative Redress.

As the use of comparative redress is only recently coming to light 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 the PPI comparative redress discussion

When won't the easy route work?

Banker's bowler hatThe Ombudsman can only help with complaints about FSA/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.

Please share your experiences in the PPI Non-ombudsman reclaiming and Companies in default forum discussions.

Claims handler FAQs

I get unwanted cold-calls and texts from PPI companies, how can I make them stop?

A company's kept my initial fee after I pulled out, help!

I'm using a claims handler but I'm not happy, what can I do?

The claims company says I've a better chance if I use it, is this true?

How do I know if a claims handler's any good?

Is it best to reclaim yourself or use a company? Is there one you recommend?

Plus read Martin's blog: Is it worth using a PPI claims company? 10 things you need to know.

Going to use a claims handler anyway?

If you're considering this route, before doing anything else, use our quick 'Should you use a claims handler?' tool below, as the vast likelihood is you can do it cheaper yourself.


Should you use a claims handler?

Q1. Are you behind on payments on the loan or card that you're reclaiming PPI on? OR do you owe the same lender any money for other debts?


If you're intent on using a claims handler regardless, then it's imperative you do the right checks. Use our checklist: What to check when picking a claims handler.

Possible alternative: Use a lawyer to take it to court yourself

An alternative is to find yourself a local lawyer willing to take the case on, or a no-win no-fee legal firm (some claims handlers link with or use them).

After all, from this point on it's likely to get litigious so a lawyer should help. In fact, a legal letter may make a company with a flimsy argument settle quite easily.

Yet if you are going to hire a lawyer, ensure you discuss the fees beforehand and compare it to the maximum you can reclaim.

Taking court action

If you've tried a reclaim through a trade organisation and it won't help, there's always the option of taking court action against the PPI provider via the small claims system. The complaint is generally on the grounds that it's misrepresented your contract (and therefore made it invalid) if it didn't give you the full facts about the product or ask for all the required information.

This can actually be quicker than using the Ombudsman but will involve costs, eg, £50 for smaller amounts, up to £300ish for larger reclaims – although you will get these back if you win – and there's always the risk you'll have to argue it in court.

If you have good grounds, and understand the legal arguments, then do consider it. There's a good chance it will force the PPI company to settle, but there are no guarantees.

For further details on how to take county court action, look at the Small Claims guide and the taking court action section of the How To Complain guide. If you give it a try, please let us know how you've got on in the Successes and failures forum thread.

Please tell us your experiences!

Things will continue to develop over time. Please let us know how you get on so that we can keep our article up to date and help as many people as possible by reporting your PPI successes and failures in our forum – all stories are useful for other MoneySavers.