Have you been mis-sold PPI? Here’s how to claim

The number of complaints about Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) mis-selling has rocketed, according to the latest complaints report from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – up by a whopping 85% in the second half of 2011 to 977,000.

Widespread mis-selling of PPI came to a head last year when the British Bankers’ Association abandoned its legal fight against new mis-selling rules, opening the gates to consumers who were mis-sold PPI to claim their money back.

If you think you were mis-sold PPI and want to see if you can get your money back, you don’t need to pay anyone to pursue the claim, so steer clear of claims management companies that offer to do the job for you – at a cost.

It is straightforward to handle the claim yourself for free. Here are your options.

Contact the lender directly

Write directly to the lender you think mis-sold you the PPI and explain your claim. Many lenders now have dedicated contact details for PPI claims on their websites.

If you can’t remember who you got your loan or credit card from, you can check your credit report with Experian or Equifax for £2. The details of what you borrowed, from whom and when will be listed.

Tell the lender what product you believe PPI was mis-sold with, when it was purchased and why you think it was mis-sold.

The more documentation you have about what you borrowed the better, but you can still claim if you’ve lost all trace of your documents because the lender will have them on file.

You can also get copies of any credit agreements from lenders, though they sometimes charge a small fee if the account is now closed.

If the credit account is still open but you don’t have your documents, you have a legal right to get a copy of the agreement for £1 under the Consumer Credit Act. You may wish to enclose a cheque for £1 with your letter to speed things up.

If you’re not sure whether or not you bought PPI at the time, check the agreement(s) for terms like ‘protection plan’, ‘loan protection’, ‘loan care’ or simply payment protection insurance.

There’s no time limit for making a claim, but the claim will be simpler if your claim is within six years of the PPI being sold.

The company is legally obligated to write back or contact you within eight weeks of receiving the complaint to tell you if your claim has been successful, or whether they need more information.

Do not go through a claims management company as they will charge you for a service you can do yourself for free.

Most of the legwork of a PPI claim actually falls to the lender, all you need to do is contact them with as much information as possible and help them with any more information they might need.

If you’re unhappy with the lender’s response to your claim, take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service, who may be able to help. The Ombudsman service is independent, free and works to solve disputes between financial services companies and their customers.

You can also contact the service by phone on 0800 023 4567.

Should you wait for the lender to contact you?

Until last year’s ruling, the onus was on the customer to make the complaint and request compensation. Now, however, lenders are required to contact PPI customers who may be eligible for compensation.

Such was the scale of PPI mis-selling, however, that there are a lot of customers to contact, so this option will take longer. You may want to get the ball rolling by contacting the lender directly yourself rather than wait.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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