Reclaim PPI for free

Claim £1,000s for mis-selling including Plevin complaints with a year to the deadline

Have you EVER had payment protection insurance? Simply just having it now means you were almost certainly mis-sold – and are due compensation. That's because a court ruling called Plevin means most who bought PPI – even knowingly – were likely to be mis-sold thanks to commission. If you haven't tried to reclaim, go NOW.

This is an urgent clarion call to anyone who's ever had a loan, credit or store card, catalogue account, overdraft or car finance: you need to urgently check if you were flogged worthless PPI. We have free PPI reclaiming tools so you can DIY at no cost, and this full detailed guide will help you through it, including what to do if you've no paperwork.

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 nine need-to-knows

  1. 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 and now, because of a ruling called Plevin (see below), even just having had it means you're likely due some cash back.

    The original mis-selling has left many paying thousands for potentially worthless cover – and you could even have it without knowing (see the Mis-selling Checklist which includes Plevin too). A major problem was that sales staff were hugely incentivised to sell PPI whenever possible.

    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, often £1,000s, 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

    Think this doesn't apply to you? Don't. We've heard from thousands of people who've successfully reclaimed £1,000s even though they weren't sure they needed – take five minutes to check.

    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

    Quick questions

    • 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. 

    • 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!

    • 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 (BBA), decided to take legal action against these plans and unfairly placed most cases on hold.

      But 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.

      So far over 6.5 million free MSE template letters and Resolver complaints have been downloaded – it's estimated these have got people up to £5 billion back.

  2. Have you been Plevined? A new rule means just having had PPI means most were mis-sold

    Plevin is a newish mis-selling category of PPI. It pretty much means that if you got a loan or credit card from a bank or building society, you were mis-sold PPI.

    For years, we've been shouting "Have you been mis-sold PPI?" but now – with this new rule – we're yelling "Have you simply had PPI?" Even if you knew what you were doing, you were likely mis-sold it.

    In a nutshell, it's a huge new route which has opened up for millions of people who either didn't think they had been mis-sold PPI or who have had claims rejected.

    So who or what IS Plevin? Well, in 2014 a court ruling held that customer Susan Plevin had been treated unfairly because she wasn't told about the large amount of commission (71.8%) taken from her PPI payment – and from now, this can be used as a new reason to claim for compensation. 

    The Plevin rule means if more than 50% of your PPI's cost went as commission to the lender, and that wasn't explained to you, you are due back the extra above that. For this to count your PPI had to still be active at some point since 2008.

    Staggeringly, with loan PPI, on average 67% of what you paid was pocketed by banks as commission from insurers, and banks almost never mentioned it – so millions more people are owed possibly billions more pounds. On a £10,000 loan over five years, your 'Plevin' compensation would typically be £500.

    If you've previously been rejected, you're likely still due a Plevin payout

    Plevin could work for you if you've had a claim rejected from a bank, building society or other big financial institution (even if the ombudsman agreed with the rejection). There were 1.2 million whose claims were turned down (as of August 2017) who are now eligible under Plevin – and many won't have done it. You should have been notified of this by your bank, but if not, claim anyway.

    • If you had a standalone policy you bought from a broker, it's less likely the commission was so high – so you probably won't qualify. However, it'll still be worth digging out your policy to check.

      But if your policy was from a bank or building society, you can now make a new complaint if you'd had to pay a high commission that was not disclosed to you, and to qualify, your PPI has to have been taken out before 6 April 2007 but still been active at some point since 6 April 2008.

      This means, for example, if PPI was sold to you on a loan that you paid off IN FULL before this date, you won't be able to complain about undisclosed high commission.

      However, there is an exception: if you had PPI on a credit card paid off before this date, you may still be able to complain about undisclosed high commission. This is because credit cards don't work by the same rules as loans on fixed credit deals – so even if you took out the card on or after 6 April 2007 and stopped using it before April 2008, you should still qualify.

      Here are some examples where you should be eligible if you've been previously rejected:
       

      • A five-year personal loan taken out in 2003 where the last repayment was 20 April 2008.

      • A credit card taken out in 2000 occasionally used but still live on 6 April 2008 despite nothing being bought on it for a couple of years.

      • A 25-year mortgage taken out in 1983 with PPI on it that was live at the end of April 2008.

      • A credit card taken out on 10 April 2007 to buy a £1,000 TV that was repaid by Christmas that year. Rules mean that, in this circumstance, you would still qualify.

    Quick questions

    • If you've already claimed PPI mis-selling successfully, then no dice – you've already got some recompense; you can't get money back twice!

    • If you've previously been rejected, you may have been one of the 1.2 million who received a letter from your provider, explaining the Plevin reclaim process – the last of the letters informing you of this should have been sent in November 2017.

      If you haven't had the letter, you can still complain and tell them you're doing so on the basis that you may have paid undisclosed high commission. If you've still got details from your previous claim, use those to help your claim.

      However, don't worry if you don't. Resolver, which operates our reclaim tool, says banks have been preparing in accordance with FCA rules to be able to find former PPI customers. Go to our free Plevin reclaim tool which will ask for a few straightforward details.

    • No. It's worth checking first if you were originally mis-sold PPI. This is because if you discover you were mis-sold, you'll be entitled to much more cash. The bank must now also automatically consider you for Plevin, so if you're rejected you can then get a Plevin payout. Go to our free PPI reclaim tool and if you're struggling to find paperwork, we've guidance to help you dig out what you can.

    • You can. Even though you made an active choice to buy PPI and benefitted from a payout, the undisclosed commission means you were mis-sold. Go to our free Plevin reclaim tool.

      Don't worry if you don't have much in the way of old documents. Resolver, which operates our reclaim tool, says banks have been preparing in accordance with FCA rules to be able to find former PPI customers and should be able to find you with a few straightforward details.

    • To reiterate the points above, 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 due a payout.

      The FCA says the failure to disclose commission gave rise to an unfair relationship, and that profit share should be included in firms' calculation of commission. On a £10,000 loan over five years, your 'Plevin' compensation would typically be £500. The FCA says there will also be historic interest plus 8% to consider.

    • If you've already got a PPI mis-selling complaint going through the motions, the FCA says a firm must now address Plevin under complaint-handling rules in its response to you. This means that, if they reject your original mis-selling claim, they must now consider whether you're eligible for a Plevin reclaim.

      What you hear, and when, will likely depend on each bank's approach to the issue. The FCA says it will be monitoring banks and building societies very carefully to make sure they don't ignore Plevin – and we'll be keeping an eye on what banks say too.

    • Banks must play fair on how they handle your complaint, so if you get a rejection letter from a mis-sold PPI application that also contains a Plevin payment offer as well, STOP!

      Don't accept it willy-nilly – first make sure you go to the ombudsman in case it finds in your favour. The uphold rate for rejected PPI claims between April and June 2017 is 40% – so two in five rejected complaints are overturned in consumers' favour. We want to be sure banks aren't using Plevin offers to avoid paying out on genuine mis-selling claims.

    • Our concern here is that if you've used a claims firm in the past, the same company will now try to take a percentage of any Plevin payout you're due. We asked the FCA for guidance on this and it says that much will depend on what's in your contract with the claims management company (CMC).

      Normally, a typical contract with a CMC firm would end with the original rejection of the first PPI complaint – which means they won't get a penny of any Plevin payout.

      However, it does all depend on what's in the T&Cs. For example, if the original contract contains wording along the lines of 'we retain the right to any future payout' or has a clause which makes clear the contract remains 'live' despite a rejected claim, then the CMC may have a claim on a Plevin payout.

      If this is the case, we've spoken to various industry sources who suggest any clause which does attempt to carry on the relationship could be an unfair term – in which case only a court can decide. We think any such contract would probably be unfair; if this happens to you, please let us know in this article's forum discussion.

      There's also another possibility to take into account. Imagine a complainant uses a CMC for a mis-selling complaint that is rejected, but there is a clause buried in the contract which means they have an obligation to give them money from any future claim.

      If this same person then uses a different CMC for a Plevin claim, there could be an obligation to give money to both CMCs. But to be clear, it's early days and we haven't come across an instance of it yet. When and if we do, we'll let you know here and via our weekly email.

      As a general rule though, our advice remains the same: you don't need to use a claims handler for any type of claim.

    Watch Martin explain why Plevin is a such a game-changer here...

    Video player requires JavaScript enabled. You can watch this video here: https://youtu.be/XgQ0kiDcZqI

    Some Plevin-only cases get ALL their money back going to court

    Judges needn't follow the regulator's guidelines. On 2 July 2018, Manchester County Court ruled that Christopher and Joanne Doran should get all of their PPI premium back plus interest, totalling £17,345. This is four times what would've been paid out under the regulator's rules of only commission over 50% being repaid.

    However, as it's a lower court, it doesn't yet set a legal precedent for others to follow (if it did, it could cost the banks £18 billion more). Our view is for all but the most militant to follow the normal bank and ombudsman complaint route, as you may still be able to go on to court later once, or if, a precedent is set.

    • The couple had been happy to sign up to PPI (it wasn't mis-sold) when taking out a £30,000 loan for house renovations. The judge ruled they should have been told about the huge level of commission on the policy – a whopping 76%. As they were not, the judge ruled that they should get all of the PPI premium back, plus some interest – awarding them £17,345.

      While this was the most public judgment so far, it's rumoured to be the fourth time a court has ruled this way – and there's talk of other cases of banks settling out of court and confidentiality clauses being used. The county court doesn't set a precedent. And it's worth noting, this issue only applies to Plevin-only cases (as if you were mis-sold you are due all the money back anyway).

    • It's likely not to be quick. As there is an estimated £18 billion resting on this, if it was going against the banks it's almost certain they'd take it via the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court, which could take years. In the past this has meant there's been one test case and all other similar cases are put on hold.

      The lender in the Doran case, Paragon Personal Finance, may appeal the case and said in a statement: "We believe this decision is at odds with other cases heard recently and does not create a precedent. The Doran case is one of a handful of legacy cases for Paragon and we are considering our position regarding appeal."

    • No. The regulator cannot put a hold on the courts because they are separate entities. So you could still go to court for PPI mis-selling after the 29 August 2019 deadline. It's just assumed most people won't as it's much more difficult.

    • Assuming the precedent were to be set as in the Doran case (if not, there's likely no point using the court system), it could take years. The fact you've been to the ombudsman doesn't stop you going to court. Yet while you can go back as far as you like with normal PPI reclaiming, there is a statute of limitations of six years for court cases – in other words after that time you can't claim.

      The question is, when does the six years start? Usually, it's six years after signing up for PPI, which would leave most people out in the cold.

      However, where the issue is one which was hidden from you, or of which you were unaware, then lawyers have told us it'd be six years after discovering the issue. So in these Plevin-type cases, it's likely to be six years after you found out what the commission was. But there's no guarantee on this – it's the type of thing that could be argued in court.

    • You could put a claim in via the small claims court, though this is obviously a complex piece of law. You need to make sure you're comfortable with the details of the argument and doing it yourself. Alternatively, you could hire a firm of solicitors (on a no-win, no-fee basis) to do it for you. Clearly this is a more militant route than just going to the ombudsman and there is no guarantee you'll win more.

    • Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority took time and a consultation to decide its stance. Many thought it got this wrong, including us at MSE. Our argument was that it set the ludicrously high benchmark that 50% commission is acceptable. Far from it.

      It seems some county courts agree, and believe that this is not a reasonable figure for commission. If people didn't agree to it when they first took out the policy, they couldn't have had the expectation commission would be so high. Therefore, it is deemed an unfair relationship under consumer law – in which case, county judges are refunding the entire amount.

  3. Anyone who's been mis-sold or even had PPI should act ASAP to beat the rush ahead of the 29 August 2019 deadline

    Last year, the Financial Conduct Authority put in place a deadline for making a claim – 29 August 2019. This means if you've got a mis-selling claim over how PPI was sold, it MUST be received by the firm you're complaining to on or by 29 August 2019. Miss it, and the complaint won't be considered.

    We've campaigned against this deadline but it's here – and now with one year to go, the deadline's going to get a lot of publicity, so there's likely to be an enormous number of people stampeding to do it.

    Quick questions

    • The FCA has fixed 29 August 2019 as the final date for making a PPI reclaim – your complaint MUST be received by the firm you're complaining to on or by this day; miss it, and the complaint won't be considered.

    • No, there are a couple of caveats. If you took out a PPI policy after 29 August 2017, you can still make a subsequent mis-selling complaint after this date.

      Separately, anyone who already has an existing PPI policy in place (i.e. taken out before the 29 August 2017 deadline trigger) who later makes a claim on that policy for a payout (eg, if you become unemployed and claim for cover), if they then find the firm rejects their claim and they want to dispute it on grounds of a mis-sale, the deadline WON'T apply.

      However, these new rules also mean that if you currently have a live PPI policy in place, and you want to make a mis-selling claim WITHOUT having claimed on the policy, the deadline WILL still apply.

    • Yes, and it's a real worry. Claims cannot just be limited to those who can get their money back by themselves. Some who are due PPI reclaims have mental capacity problems, mental illness, literacy issues and more. MSE pushed hard on this in pre-meetings with the FCA about the deadline. 

      Thankfully it has factored it in to an extent. If consumers contact the FCA helpline on 0800 101 8800 and its staff feel they need face-to-face support, it will offer that. Yet sadly the deadline still applies, so it relies on people to get in touch with the FCA. Charities and others will be forced to pick up the slack.

    • The deadline is a mistake. The stats are plain. Flabbergastingly, in over half of all cases (54% in the last 12 months) where after the bank rejects a PPI reclaim people take it to the independent ombudsman, the bank's rejection is overturned.

      Until we can trust banks to deal with complaints fairly in the first instance, this move to protect their balance sheets should not happen. It is putting the protection of the financial industry ahead of consumers. 

      Worse still, many banks make it outrageously hard for people to find out if they ever had PPI. In meetings with the head of the FCA, we pushed hard to ensure that was changed if it imposed this deadline. We can't see that anything has changed. Let's hope it'll do this behind the scenes.

  4. 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?

      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.

    • Don't have any paperwork at all? Check your credit report

      If you don't have any documentation or simply can't remember which lenders you've borrowed from, don't worry – you can check your credit report. It lists loans, mortgages or other debts that were live within the last six years, even if they're now closed.

      Sadly, though, it's not quite that simple – while you'll be able to see which lenders you've had accounts with, your credit report WON'T tell you if the accounts had PPI or not. But at least you'll know which lenders to check with.

      Check your credit report for free at our MSE Credit Club.

      Don't think it's unlikely – take the following successes as brilliant examples:

    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

    I never thought I would be eligible for any PPI refunds especially as I had claimed on one of them. I saw Martin on TV discussing Plevin and put in a claim with literally no idea of loan account numbers or dates. The application took me five minutes and the money started flooding in. I am currently up to £26,000. Thank you so much.
    - Cath

    • 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).

    Here's a template letter to send off to ask your bank.

    With the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), lenders should provide you with a copy of your agreement for free, whether your account is open or closed – though the information may be more difficult to find if it's closed. You can ask for a full breakdown of your whole account, specifically including the insurance. If it takes longer than one month, you can report the firm to the Information Commissioner.

    PPI template letter 

    • 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.

    • LENDER PHONE NUMBER
      Barclays 0800 282 390, lines open 24/7
      Barclaycard

      0800 015 4210, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm

      Capital One 0800 422 0478, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-3pm
      Co-op 0345 721 2212, lines open 24/7
      HSBC 0345 740 4404, 8am-8pm daily
      Lloyds Banking Group 0800 151 0292 (Lloyds), 0800 151 0293 (Halifax/Bank of Scot), Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm
      MBNA 0800 917 6592, Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-4pm
      Nationwide 0800 302 015, lines open 24/7 or via this link
      NatWest and RBS 0800 015 0319, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm
      Santander 0800 171 2171, Mon-Fri 8.30am-5.30pm

    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 a new data regulation introduced in May 2018 (known as GDPR), if your account's still open, you've a legal right to get your agreement from the lender for free.

    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.

    Quick questions

    • 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.

    • 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.

  5. There's NO time limit on how far back you can go to make a traditional 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.

    • There is a time-limit on Plevin claims: Although the Plevin rule means almost everyone was mis-sold PPI and is therefore eligible to claim, your policy has to have been active since April 2008.

    We've had many successes for traditional claims 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

    Quick questions

    • Yes – though be aware any refunds may come off your balance (but it means you'll owe less if that happens).

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • £5,000 loan for 5 years at 5% should be £95 a month.
      • £10,000 loan for 10 years at 10% should be £130 a month.
      • £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
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Yes. You can reclaim PPI whether or not you've already reclaimed bank charges.

    • It's likely you'll 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 it's taxed like savings interest. But, since all the interest is 'earned' in the tax year you get your PPI refund, it's 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 you'll only need to pay tax on it if it pushed you over the £1,000 threshold for the year (if you're a basic-rate taxpayer).

      However basic-rate tax will be taken off your PPI payment automatically, so if you're 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.

  6. PPI reclaim been 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.

    - Rejected in the last six months? If so, you've got a right to take your case straight to the ombudsman. Follow the steps below to carry on.

    - Been rejected but MORE than six months ago? 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 so what you'll have to do is restart your claim – unless, for example, a severe illness may have prevented you from being able to write to the ombudsman or you couldn't find original documents as part of a claim – and later found some.

    So, for most, your only choice is to restart your case. Whether you're allowed to do that or not is complicated – generally, as stated above, you'll need a major reason why you didn't – but the Plevin case (see point 5) may help you here. If you're not sure whether you can restart, the best thing to do is call the ombudsman helpline on 0300 123 9123.

    Don't give up – the fact you were rejected in the past does NOT mean you weren't mis-sold.

    - Been turned down by the ombudsman for a traditional claim? Claim again under Plevin

    This is the case even if you applied a few years ago and here's where Plevin will likely come into its own. If you've been turned down previously by the ombudsman and the evidence is the same, it's unlikely your original case will be heard and unlikely the decision will change.

    However, the Plevin case should help you here. There's a whopping 1.2 million of you whose claims had previously been rejected who can now claim again under Plevin. Our Plevin PPI Reclaim tool will help.

    Quick questions

  7. 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 is 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

    Quick questions

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Contact the company that sold you the insurance – it may refer you to the debt collection agency if it has your files.

    • 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 got 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.

  8. 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 for more info. 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

    Quick questions

  9. 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 reclaiming tools. They used to take about 25% of the proceeds, plus VAT, but the Financial Guidance and Claims Act now provides a 20% cap plus VAT. This cap'll remain in place until the FCA uses its own powers to impose a cap, although we don't yet know exactly when this will be.

    Even with this cap, using a claims firm is still costly – claiming is easy to do yourself to avoid being charged. 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.

    Quick questions

    • 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 PPI on a car finance deal. 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 one. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 newish 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.

    • 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.

    • Check what they tell you against our picking a claims handler checklist.

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?" 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.

Here are the key mis-selling categories in our checklist. If you fit one or more of these, you probably have a case. And with the introduction of the new Plevin rule, even just having had PPI now means you could be entitled to a payout...

Free PPI reclaiming tools

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.

OK, if you're here, we reckon you're ready to make a claim! However, we're making two big assumptions. In particular, that:

  • You have found out as much as you can about your PPI, who the lender was, what policy you had and when – if not, see need-to-knows 4 and 5 above.

  • You know what the reason is for the mis-selling, including Plevin – if not, see the Mis-selling Checklist above.

If you've got all the information above – or as much of it as you can – then you're ready to start using the appropriate tool below...

Never claimed for PPI before or think you were mis-sold? Use this reclaim tool

This is the tool to use if you think you were mis-sold a PPI policy because – for example – you were told it was compulsory to get a credit deal, they didn't tell you it was included or you're self-employed and it included employment cover. See our full Mis-selling Checklist above.

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.

Plevin-only cases. If you're reclaiming due to Plevin, use the tool 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. 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.

Had a PPI claim rejected or simply have a policy (or had one)? Use this Plevin reclaim tool

This is the tool to use if you were previously rejected for a PPI mis-selling claim by a bank, building society, other major financial lender or the Financial Ombudsman. Now the Plevin rule means you could be entitled to a payout.

Free Plevin PPI reclaiming tool from MoneySavingExpert

Our free online tool helps draft a Plevin complaint letter (which you can alter before sending), sends it, tells you when you've a response, keeps track of your complaint and will escalate 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.

All you need is a few personal details, why you qualify for a Plevin payout (see the Mis-selling Checklist above), and as much information about your old policy, such as an account number and date you took out the product. Don't worry if you can't find all the details; Resolver says banks have prepared to process applications with just a few bits of key information. Any copies of your statements or other relevant documents (Resolver lets you attach these before sending off the complaint) will also be helpful.

  • 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. 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 letter

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 and are making an ordinary mis-selling claim, we have a template letter 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 template to guide your conversation.

For those wanting to make a Plevin claim using a template, you can use the Plevin reclaim tool above. We don't currently have a template letter but will let you know here and in our weekly email as soon as we do. In the meantime, you can send a letter following our Plevin guidance explaining you want to make a claim in light of the new rules.

  • 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...

    Plevin-only cases. If you're reclaiming due to Plevin we've added a Plevin reclaiming tool above.

    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

    • LENDER PHONE NUMBER
      Barclays 0800 282 390, lines open 24/7
      Barclaycard

      0800 015 4210, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm

      Capital One 0800 422 0478, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-3pm
      Co-op 0345 721 2212, lines open 24/7
      HSBC 0345 740 4404, 8am-8pm daily
      Lloyds Banking Group 0800 151 0292 (Lloyds), 0800 151 0293 (Halifax/Bank of Scot), Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm
      MBNA 0800 917 6592, Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-4pm
      Nationwide 0800 302 015, lines open 24/7 or via this link
      NatWest and RBS 0800 015 0319, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm
      Santander 0800 171 2171, Mon-Fri 8.30am-5.30pm

      Find additional details for the banks on their websites: Bank of ScotlandBarclaysClydesdaleCo-opHalifaxHSBCLloydsNationwideNatWest/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.

Help as your case progresses

Whether you apply using our new free tool or the template, 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 a mis-selling offer from your bank? Make sure it's fair

If you're making a mis-selling claim (not Plevin) then 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...

  • 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.

    Quick questions

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 (incl NatWest and Ulster Bank) has offered comparative redress since early 2013.

      The following providers have confirmed that they've never used comparative redress:

      • Nationwide
      • Santander

      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, 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, whether it's from an old mis-selling claim or Plevin claim 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 letter, 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.

  • 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 letter 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 installers 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 AssociationAssociation 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.

Quick questions

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.