So, you’ve had a financial product with PPI (also known as Payment Protection Insurance) attached, and you would like to claim? Here’s a brief guide to making a complaint to have your costs refunded.
Firstly, you should put a written complaint into the product provider (usually, these tend to be banking institutions, but investment companies can also be claimed against in some circumstances). There are many websites that will provide a template letter for getting the ball rolling (such as Martin Lewis’ site www.moneysavingexpert.com). Whilst a template letter makes the start of the formal complaint easier, it’s more productive in some instances to write your own – every case is individual after all.
You do not need to have maintained statements for the account, or have copies of your terms and conditions to commence a complaint – it is the firms’ responsibility to respond to your case, and they will usually provide suitable evidence of the terms & conditions or sums involved. If you feel that the facts of the case need to be verified, you can make a Subject Access Request for information under the Data Protection Act (for further guidance on making a Subject Access Request, you should contact the Information Commissioners’ Office – see their website at www.ico.gov.uk.)
Every bank is obliged to provide details of their complaints’ department on request, with many providing details on how to complain on in-branch literature. Additionally, there is additional support available through the Financial Ombudsman Service, who are the independent arbitration service for the UK’s financial industry (please see www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk for further information).
The financial institution you are complaining about will respond to your complaint, usually in writing, and may request further information about the circumstances’ surrounding the sale of your policy; the resolution of a PPI claim is a two-way process of negotiation, so you should keep copies of any documentable evidence of your complaint to the company, their responses’, and any further correspondence.
Under the rules of the Financial Services Authority, the firm is entitled to a period of up to 8 weeks to address your concerns before you can refer your case for arbitration at the Financial Ombudsman Service. In many instances, a firm will make an offer in “full and final settlement” of your claim – should you accept this, the Financial Ombudsman has no authority to overturn any settlement offered. As such, it is advisable to consider any offer carefully, and it may be worth contacting the firm to request further explanation of the sum offered.
In the event that you are unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion to your complaint, you may refer you case to the Financial Ombudsman Service for further review. They will need to see evidence of your complaint, and that the firm have had over 8 weeks to address your concerns, or have issued the final decision letter (this will always state that you have a period of “six months from the date of this letter” to refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service).
From there, the Financial Ombudsman Service will review the process of your complaint, request information from the firm (if necessary), and assess whether the bank has made a fair and reasonable offer to resolve your concerns. Should they find that the offer made is unsuitable, they are capable of awarding a sum of compensation they deem fair, payable by the financial firm you are complaining about. As such, documented evidence of your complaint is vital.
With regards to what the appropriate response is to any offer, you need only ask if the sum offered by the firm restores you to the financial position you would have been in had you not taken PPI in the first instance. Most offers will include a portion for interest accrued on the sum in dispute, and you always have the right to write back to the firm asking for further explanation of the offer if you feel it is unsatisfactory or unclear. If you can’t arrival at a satisfactory conclusion, then you may refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
To summarise, the process of a claim for PPI is straightforward – you should simply:
1.) Write or e-mail the complaints department of the firm you are in dispute with.
2.) Keep copies of your letters or e-mails of complaint, and the firms’ responses.
3.) Ask any questions you may have regarding your case to the firm directly.
4.) Refer to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are unable to resolve the case directly with the firm.