The deadline for submitting PPI (payment protection insurance if you’re not a fan of acronyms) claims has long passed though that has not stopped complaints coming through to Resolver, even as recently as last month.
But can you still make a claim – and will it be looked at? In short, not if you’re submitting a new claim to a lender, or you’ve already had a decision from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), but there may be exceptional circumstances where your claim could have legs.
In case you missed it – what was the PPI scandal?
PPI is heralded as the biggest financial services scandal of modern times. It’s a form of insurance sold to people with financial products such as credit cards, store cards or loans that in theory means you are covered if you’re unable to make payments because you had, for example, lost your job or had a period of ill health.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimates that at least 64 million PPI policies were in circulation. However, many of these were found to be mis-sold and useless to the customer, and for more than a decade you couldn’t turn on the TV or the pages of consumer sites and publications without seeing a call to arms to ‘check and claim if you’ve been mis-sold PPI.
This went further in 2014 when a ruling known as ‘Plevin’ found that customer Susan Plevin had been unfairly treated as she wasn’t made aware of the high level of commission paid to her lender as a result of her being sold a PPI policy. It then meant that even simply having a PPI policy could entitle you to some cash regardless of whether you were mis-sold or not.
The FCA set a deadline of 29 August 2019 for PPI claims to be submitted to lenders, making it clear that unless circumstances were exceptional, claims made after this date would not be considered.
PPI in numbers – Resolver’s data
PPI claims made using Resolver have topped 2.5 million, with predictably almost half of those submitted in 2019 owing to the deadline. The average claim among consumers during 2019 was around £1,625, rising to £2,000 a year later. Throughout 2019, 9% (more than 115,000) of cases through Resolver were escalated to FOS.
Despite the deadline for submitting PPI claims passing more than 18 months ago, Resolver saw more than 150 complaints throughout 2020 and even a handful as recently as last month. In the main, these related to customers ‘not realising’ that it was a PPI policy they were paying for – and so didn’t think to make a claim at the time. There were also complaints last year from those who had claims rejected by their lenders but were adamant that they could show not only that they in fact did have a policy, but that it was mis-sold. Worryingly, the claims process for some of these customers went back years.
What if I checked and was told I didn’t have PPI?
If you did not make a claim because you had ‘checked’ if you had PPI (either by contacting your lender or using an online PPI checker) and were told (wrongly) you were not, we’d argue that had you been told correctly that you had a policy upfront then you’d have likely gone ahead and submitted a claim. The key (as with any PPI claim you might want to make in reality) is evidence – make sure you have as much as possible and be prepared, as it’s a new claim, for a lender not to investigate.
If you were intending to make a claim before the 2019 deadline but circumstances meant you simply couldn’t (for example ill health) then you may still be able to submit a claim under ‘exceptional circumstances’. You will almost certainly be asked to explain these circumstances in detail.
What if my original claim was (wrongly) rejected?
There’s been plenty of PPI claims rejected because of missing documents – this was particularly common during the final decade of the investigation.
If you submitted your original claim before the August 2019 deadline and you were told in error that you didn’t have a policy, the lender should still process any claim made subsequently as it was in the wrong, not you.
What if I was too late to escalate to the ombudsman?
You would have had six months from receiving a final response from the lender (or six months from making the complaint if there was no response) to escalate your case to FOS. If you are late due to exceptional circumstances such as ill health or a bereavement, the ombudsman may accept your escalation.
If you’ve gone over the six month period for bringing the complaint to the ombudsman for other reasons, you will need to demonstrate why the delay is ‘exceptional’. This might be because:
Can I still claim if I think I have PPI?
If you’re looking to make a claim against a lender for the first time it’s almost certainly not going to be considered, particularly if you’re not sure you have a PPI policy in the first place and are submitting a claim to check. Equally, if your case has already been escalated to FOS and you had a response after it had been investigated, you won’t be able to reclaim.
You can take your case to a small claims court, but it’s a drawn out process and you may well have to be comfortable arguing your case unless you hire a solicitor.
There’s nothing stopping you from submitting a new claim to your lender if you have discovered evidence such as paperwork that you do have a PPI policy, though be prepared to have to chase if you’re determined and for your case not to be considered.
Take a look at Resolver CEO Alex Neill’s blog or listen on BBC Moneybox (from 13.34 seconds) for her advice on what to do if you realise you’ve got PPI – or you’ve been wrongly told you haven’t.