About two million existing and former Affinion – often branded Sentinel – customers will receive letters from next month detailing how to claim compensation, after the High Court approved a redress scheme being set up.
Its approval, which was given at the end of last week, was the final step in a number of procedures needed to give a redress scheme for mis-sold card protection, the go-ahead.
It comes after about 382,000 people – 99% of those who voted – said 'yes' to a redress scheme going ahead. For the scheme to have been given the green light, it needed to be approved by a majority of voters (i.e more than 50% of those who voted).
MoneySavingExpert has been urging customers mis-sold Sentinel card protection products to back a redress scheme. See our Sentinel guide for more on why redress is due.
However, even if you didn't vote you can still claim compensation, although if you do this and you're an existing customer, your cover will be cancelled.
Existing customers who voted in favour of the scheme going ahead will also still be covered by the insurance, which no longer contains the card fraud insurance aspect. Your cover will only be cancelled if you claim under the redress scheme.
What happens next?
Here's a timeline of what happens next:
- 17 August 2015: The scheme officially 'opens'.
- 18 August 2015 – 18 March 2016: A seven-month claim period takes place. You'll receive a claim form no later than September 2015.
- Mid-January – start of February 2016: Reminder letters for people to claim ahead of the deadline will be sent out.
- 19 September 2016: Extended claim period for exceptional cases ends. As an example, if you've been out of the country for a long period, the deadline could be extended for you.
What's the problem with Affinion/Sentinel?
You may be entitled to £100s back if you got Affinion/Sentinel card protection directly or via one of 11 banks and card issuers, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Santander.
The problem is that the 'card security' part of some of these products, which covered fraudulent use if a card was lost or stolen, was completely unnecessary as card issuers are typically responsible for fraudulent transactions.
How much could I reclaim?
The scheme covers policies sold between 14 January 2005 and August 2013.
If the scheme goes ahead, those mis-sold will get back every penny paid for this cover, which usually cost £25/year. You'll also get interest, which is calculated at 8% per year, but you do not get interest on the interest (ie, it's not compound interest).
If you've made a claim, the value of any claim will be deducted from the redress. If your policy is still active and you decide to claim for redress, your policy will be cancelled.