Reclaimed PPI? Here are three more you can try
If, like most of us, you have been disturbed by flurries of calls urging you to reclaim mis-sold payment protection insurance (known universally as PPI), you may have realised that compensation is becoming big business. In fact, it is keeping the whole economy afloat, according to a recent survey by ING.
According to the internet bank, PPI refunds are playing a “significant role” in keeping the nation’s savings balances from disappearing, with millions of people receiving a “windfall” of an average £2,600.
If you never had PPI, it can be tempting to feel aggrieved that you don’t have this type of money coming to you. Times are tight, after all, and who wouldn’t appreciate an unexpected few thousand pounds. However, it is important to bear in mind that those thousands of pounds represent monthly payments that should never have been made in the first place.
There is no time limit for reclaiming PPI at present, but the banks are hoping to impose one. If you have even the most niggling doubt that you may have paid for this insurance then it is best to get a complaint in as soon as possible.
It may be the biggest financial mis-selling scandal in history, but PPI is far from the only compensation game in town. There are other products that have been mis-sold, and you could end up with some cash back. If you are one of those people who have been affected, it makes sense to find out how you could claim. It can be easier than you think.
Financial product: PPI
What is it? PPI is fast becoming a byword for mis-selling. These insurance products were sold alongside nearly half of personal loans and a fifth of credit cards. The insurance was meant to cover repayments on the debt if you were ill or unemployed.
Why was it mis-sold? Many people could not claim on a policy because they were self-employed or for medical reasons. Some others did not even realise that they had been sold the insurance. You can also make a claim if you were not told that the cost of the policy would be added to your loan and would incur interest. Lloyds disclosed this week that it received 1.4 million complaints about PPI in 2012 and some analysts have predicted the eventual total bill for mis-selling could reach about £25bn.
What can I do to claim? There is more information in the Action Points (right). Which? has a complaints letter template on its website (which.co.uk ) that you can use to write to the company that sold you PPI and an online tool to help claim compensation. If unsuccessful, try the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0800 023 4567.
Financial product: Packaged accounts
What are they? Packaged accounts are current accounts for which you pay a monthly fee in order to have extra benefits added. These often include travel and mobile phone insurance, as well as extra overdrafts. Fees for the perks can run to hundreds of pounds a year.
Why were they mis-sold? The City regulator is clamping down on these accounts amid fears that some people did not understand that they were being sold them, or that they are not eligible for the insurance because, for example, they are too old to be able to use it. The banks are being forced to send out eligibility letters to customers to warn them if the accounts’ benefits are not suited to them.
What can I do to claim? If you receive a letter saying that you are not eligible for the benefits on your accounts which will be sent out from next month you may be able to reclaim money. Start by informing the bank that you believe you were sold an unsuitable product and ask for fees to be refunded. If the bank does not react to your complaint positively you can inform the ombudsman.
Claims management companies are just getting into the packaged account reclaiming business. Christian Isaksen, sales and marketing director of iSmart Consumer Solutions, which is one of these companies, said: “We have already been able to claim back these fees on behalf of customers because they have been mis-sold and we believe there are many people out there who could claim.”
However, there is no need to use a claims management company. You are just as likely to be successful making a claim on your own and will be able to keep all the cash.
Product: Care home costs
What are they? While the news is full of the cost of going into a care home in later life, the NHS’s Continuing Healthcare scheme is not well publicised. Under this scheme those who are particularly ill as well as old should have their costs covered under the NHS, rather than having them means tested and often paying the lion’s share themselves.
Why can I claim money back? The Department of Health has acknowledged that many people who were eligible for continuing care have either not been assessed for it or been assessed incorrectly. The eligibility criteria are complicated, and different local authorities have different criteria. If you or a relative were incorrectly assessed you can claim the money back.
What can I do to claim? The Government has put deadlines on these claims so that you can now only claim back care fees paid since April 2011. However, given that the average care home in the South East costs more than £36,000 a year, this is still a lot of money. You can also claim for a deceased relative.
This is a complicated area, and one of the few where most experts will advise you to use a legal firm, whether on a no win, no fee basis or by hourly charges. To lodge an initial complaint with your primary care trust all you need is your relative’s name, the address of the care home and dates you are claiming for. Later on though, the process gets more complicated and you will need medical records and details of assessments carried out by a local authority.
If you want help from a lawyer, one of the places to start is Solicitors for the Elderly (0844 567 617; solicitorsfortheelderly.com).
Financial product: Identity theft insurance
What is it? CPP sells identity theft and card protection insurance.
Why was it mis-sold? CCP has agreed to pay back £14.5m after the regulator found it had been mis-selling products between January 2005 and March 2011. This is thought to have affected millions of people, some of whom could be owed hundreds of pounds.
What can I do to claim? CCP is still wrangling with the regulator over how to pay redress after its ruling. However, if you had a policy you can call CPP on 0808 156 0199. If you are unhappy with the response, you can go to the ombudsman.