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PPI phone lines jammed and banks' websites crash as claims flood in on deadline day

PPI phone lines jammed and banks' websites crash as claims flood in on deadline day

Hours ahead of the PPI deadline, customers of several banks are reporting website problems and waits of up to 90 minutes on the phone. The deadline to claim is 11.59pm TODAY (Thursday) – so here's what to do if you're affected.

We've long warned that banks would be likely to struggle with the high volumes of PPI claims close to the deadline, and we're now seeing a large number of reports from customers of multiple banks that they've been unable to submit PPI claims or contact helplines. See below for details of the complaints and the very latest from individual banks.

If you're having problems, make sure you keep as much evidence as possible of what's gone wrong, such as screenshots or emails. The financial regulator's said banks must take a "pragmatic approach" where customers have problems filing claims – in other words, if you can't get your complaint in before the deadline and can prove it was due to website or phone line problems, your complaint may still be considered.

Martin: 'People must not miss out due to bust bank tech'

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has been on many major TV programmes over the last few days warning that websites might crash. He has been pushing people not to leave it to the last second, as well as reminding people that all you need to do is simply ask if you had PPI.

He said: "As predicted, there is unprecedented last-minute demand for reclaiming PPI. We've seen our own traffic to our tool increase by over twentyfold in the last two days since we started the media campaign. And that huge demand is causing even major bank systems to creak and struggle.

"The obvious first advice is to take time, be prepared and be patient. However, it is simply not fair or right that people who have tried to submit a claim before the deadline and have been disenfranchised by bust bank tech miss out.

"Take a timed screenshot if possible of any page that isn't working, and if not, at least take notes of what you did and when you tried, because almost certainly the regulator will have to ensure that people who miss the deadline because of bad bank tech will still be able to get their claim in, and we will be pushing for it to do so."

How banks are struggling to cope

Here are some of the problems we've seen – let us know if you're having issues at news@moneysavingexpert.com:
 
  • Santander has been having issues with its online PPI enquiry form, which was "temporarily unavailable" due to "essential maintenance" this morning – though as of 10am on Thursday it appeared to be back up and running, some are still reporting problems when filling out or submitting the form. Santander customers are also reporting long wait times when calling the bank about PPI.

    A Santander spokesperson said: "We're aware that customers are currently experiencing difficulties accessing our online PPI claim form. We're sorry for the inconvenience and are working hard to fix the issue as soon as possible. If any customer has been unable to submit a claim due to the issue, we will ensure that their claim is considered even if it is submitted after the deadline."
  • Barclays customers have been reporting long wait times on its PPI helpline, with some on Twitter saying they've been waiting for over an hour and a half. Customer service representatives on Twitter have warned the helpline is "very busy" due to the PPI deadline. One Barclays customer also reported receiving an error message from the bank when trying to submit a PPI claim yesterday.

    A Barclays spokesperson said: "We have seen greatly increased demand on our PPI telephone helplines as we approach the PPI deadline, and apologise to customers for the extended wait times. Our PPI telephony helplines will remain open until 23.59.59 this evening (29 August), whilst customers can also submit complaints online and in branch."

    The bank says that customers who are in the phone queue at the deadline will be able to submit claims.
  • NatWest and RBS have been struggling with IT issues over the last couple of days, with the banks' websites being unavailable for hours at a time.

    But the banks have told us you CAN still reclaim PPI through the site by going directly to the online forms for NatWest and RBS – although customers have reported intermittent issues with the forms, which have been leading to an error page at different points on Thursday.

    If you're struggling to get your claim in online, you can also contact the banks by calling 0800 015 0319.
  • The Co-op Bank has confirmed its online PPI enquiry form has also been having issues, after it appeared to be leading to an error page earlier today.

    A spokesperson said: "Our PPI form was intermittently unavailable between 1.15pm and 2.45pm due to a technical issue and we are continuing to monitor the availability of the form.

    "Our phone lines for PPI claims have been available throughout the day and continue to be available until the deadline at midnight tonight. Customers can contact us on 03457 212 212 and follow the automated options to create a PPI complaint."
  • Lloyds Bank has also confirmed on Twitter that it was experiencing high volumes of PPI enquiries, meaning it was taking longer than usual to respond.

What does the regulator say?

A Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) spokesperson said: "We have no plans to extend the 29 August 2019 deadline. This has been widely publicised, and it is clear from the high level of consumer activity that the FCA and firms have seen that people are well aware of the deadline.

"However, we will be expecting firms to follow the principle of treating customers fairly. Where a firm knows that customers may have had trouble accessing their services (whether website or phone) in the run-up to the deadline, then we would expect them to apply a pragmatic approach to dealing with complaints received immediately after the deadline."