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Consumers urged to stake PPI claims to avoid last-minute delays

Billions of pounds remain unclaimed.

The animatronic head of Arnold Schwarzenegger being placed in a hydraulic press during an advert to remind people the deadline to complain about PPI (Financial Conduct Authority/PA)
The animatronic head of Arnold Schwarzenegger being placed in a hydraulic press during an advert to remind people the deadline to complain about PPI (Financial Conduct Authority/PA)

By Thomas Hornall, PA

People have been warned they could miss out on PPI refunds as a flurry of last-minute claims could see phone lines overwhelmed and websites crash.

Consumers were told “this is big money, don’t leave it to chance” as Thursday’s 11.59pm deadline draws nearer, with “many billions” of pounds remaining unclaimed.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, told the PA news agency: “Over £36 billion has already been repaid but the banks persuaded the regulator to put a deadline on.

“That deadline is tomorrow night … don’t leave it until the last second.

“The fact is, if you do websites could crash when you’re trying to process your information.

“You could get a call centre and they’re totally busy.

“You could be a small company closing its doors earlier so they can process it.

“Or frankly you might just find you’re missing a little bit of information and there isn’t enough time to get it.

“The sooner you do this the better.

“This is big money. Don’t leave it to chance.”

An estimated 64 million PPI (payment protection insurance) policies were sold in the UK – many in the 1990s and early 2000s.

PPI was routinely added to products such as store cards, credit cards or mortgages.

It was intended to protect people if they could not keep up with their payments, due to illness or unemployment for example.

But it was widely-mis-sold.

People were pressured into buying it, did not know they had it, or it was unsuitable.

It is the most complained-about financial product that the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has ever seen, receiving more than two million complaints.

Mr Lewis added: “The deadline is about starting a claim and most lenders actually define now starting a claim as asking ‘did I have PPI’? So that’s all you really need to do.

“There’s clearly many billions.

“Many thousands of millions of pounds of money still sitting out there for people to get back on PPI that was mis-sold to them.

“If you’ve had any form of debt in the last 30 years you need to check.

“You need to then to ask ‘did I have PPI?’

“A typical pay-out is £3,000. The biggest I’ve ever heard of: £240,000. You don’t need to pay anyone to do this.

“There are free tools online to enable you to reclaim PPI.”

Crucially, even if people do not think they were mis-sold, there is also now another reason to complain about PPI.

Following a court case known as Plevin, people can also complain on the basis that a high level of commission was earned from the sale of the policy – but they were not told about it.

People can complain about commission even if they have had a previous complaint about mis-selling of PPI rejected.

The FCA’s website includes a list of providers that have sold PPI at www.fca.org.uk/ppi/how-to-complain/search-for-provider.

This includes high street stores, catalogue firms, building societies and supermarkets.

There is also plenty of free help available for making a PPI claim on websites including MoneySavingExpert.com, Resolver.co.uk and the Which? website.

PA

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