Many victims of debt insurance mis-selling will get a temporary extension to the time they have to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, if rejected by their lender.
You usually have to make a complaint to the independent arbitrator within six months of a final rejection or final response from your financial provider (see the PPI Reclaiming guide).
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today said those who have made a recent complaint about debt insurance mis-selling – often called payment protection insurance (PPI) to cover loan and credit card payments if you cannot work – have got five months longer than usual to do it.
You're eligible if you got a final response between 28 November and 28 April.
While technically the six months limit still stands, the FSA is effectively freezing time for the next five months, until 27 October. At that point, time restarts from the point you're at today.
So, say you got a final response two months ago, you'd have another nine months to use the Ombudsman.
The FSA says the action has been taken to ensure recent complainants are not disadvantaged by running out of time to refer their complaint to the Ombudsman while the FSA tries to create a "long term solution to ensure customers are treated consistently and fairly when complaining about the sale of a PPI policy".
Many firms automatically reject PPI claims, yet the Ombudsman then upholds, on average, 90% of consumer protests it handles.
You can only usually start the complaint via the Ombudsman once you get the final response or you have not had a satisfactory answer from your lender or insurer within eight weeks.
Martin Lewis, creator of MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "PPI misselling has been a massive scam on so many levels, we continually get people reporting payouts of £5,000 plus and now well in excess of half a million template lettters have been downloaded from this site.
"This extension by the FSA is really good news, as well as the actual misselling itself, the secondary issue here is how providers deal with complaints. Often, they try to push people away, telling them they've no chance, even though if they then complain to the free Ombudsman service they'll often win. The extra time will be helpful to get the 'don't give up' message out there."
Further reading/Key links
Ombudsman guide: Financial Fight Back
Reclaim mis-sold debt insurance: PPI Reclaiming
Other issue-specific reclaim guides: Bank Charges, Credit Card Charges, Direct Debits, Setting Off, Mortgage Arrears, Endowment Mis-selling