Why use a PPI claim company?
Mention a PPI claim company to the everyday person on the street and you are likely to receive an answer which involves the frustration of nuisance calls.
A very valid point it is, and companies who employ such tactics have given the industry a bad rep which is a shame for those of us who go about their business in a far more professional and moral way.
However, despite this reputation people continue to use the services of claims firms so we have a look into the reasons why.
You cannot trust banks and lenders
PPI generally started being sold in the 1980’s but the scandal only really became apparent to the regulator in 2005.
Although there are no figures regarding exactly how many PPI policies were sold, we do know that 34 million PPI policies, worth £50 billion, have been sold since 2001.
The profits on offer for selling what turned out to be useless policies in the main were far too tempting for the banking sector to pass by, and various tactics were used to sell them to unsuspecting members of the public.
Tens of millions of complaints have been made since the scandal broke, but banks and lenders have continued to fail their customers again by rejecting millions of valid claims.
We know this as the Financial Ombudsman Service release data about claims taken to them once it has been rejected by the bank.
This data has consistently shown the Ombudsman overturning a majority of previously rejected claims.
Banks and lenders employed various tactics when dealing with claims, including not disclosing all account information to customers which has resulted in claims not even being made against PPI policies.
The jargon used by banks and the content of their final responses to claims are, in our opinion, designed to cause as much confusion as possible to the customer in order to discourage them from taking the matter any further.
The obstacles and tactics that have to be overcome in order to get the end result clearly puts many people off, and let’s be honest, would you trust the institution who cheated you in the first instance to put matters right?
You cannot rely upon the regulator
Previously the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulated the banking industry, until the birth of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2013.
So, what was different about this new regulator? Nobody knows, it employs the same people and is just as toothless as it’s predecessor.
As previously mentioned, we know that 34 million PPI policies have been sold since 2001, worth £50bn.
Add interest onto this figure and the profits generated by banks for mis-selling the product were enormous.
Surely the regulator would impose sanctions and fines that are relative to the profits generated via the systematic mis-selling culture?
Let’s take the Lloyds Banking Group as an example shall we, which accounts for approximately 40% of the scandal.
Taking the £50bn worth of policies since 2001 alone, that sees Lloyds have a £20bn share of the policies (not including interest).
The Lloyds Banking Group have consistently seen 90% of rejected complaints being overturned by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
So, what fines have the Lloyds Banking Group faced for their £20bn slice of the PPI mis-selling pie and continued failure to then treat claims in the manner we would all expect?
The total fines handed to the group is £121.7m, which equates to 0.61% of the £20bn PPI policies sold.
Does that sound like a deterrent to you?
It is perhaps of little wonder why banks continue to manipulate and cheat their customers given the ramifications for doing so.
The rewards far far far outweigh the risks to banks so it isn’t likely to change.
You cannot rely upon the media
Journalists are not industry experts, believe it or not, and they generally like to tow the line of claims company bashing rather than actually experiencing first hand what is happening within the industry.
So called consumer champions will have you believe that making a claim is simple and that the very nice people at the bank will pay you the compensation you deserve.
If only that were the case, but unfortunately the statistics and facts as highlighted above show otherwise.
Some of the advice handed out by these consumer champions is simply not true, such as your bank only retaining records for six years once an account is closed, thus meaning you cannot make a claim if your accounts are older… THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!
The claims management regulator
The rise of claims companies occurred once it became clear that the FSA / FCA had not taken the tough stance that was required when the scandal broke, coupled with banks continuing to cheat customers who made their claims independently.
Had either of the above been carried out in the manner it should there would be no requirement for claims companies in the first instance.
Now this is perhaps a risk for us to write this, given we are taking a swipe at the people who regulate us, but much more could and should have been done within our industry.
Many unscrupulous companies sprung up hoping to make a quick buck, taking advantage of the ability to charge upfront fees, the ability to solicit consumers via telephone, SMS text message and email.
When it became apparent that the false statements and misleading sales pitches used to try and obtain the business of customers the regulator did little to stamp it out.
When it became apparent that referral fees were being passed around for leads and data, prompting the millions of nuisance telephone calls that most of us receive, the regulator did little to stamp it out.
When it became apparent that millions of false claims were being made by some companies the regulator did little to stamp it out.
Only now that the cowboys in the PPI claims industry have made their money is the regulator looking at what they can do to clamp down, but the horse has already bolted a long time ago.
What should be done
The Financial Conduct Authority needs to implement tough sanctions, and fines in line with profits, on banks that see anything above 20% of claims that are initially rejected then be overturned by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
This would ensure banks and lenders start to treat complaints in the manner they should be.
The Claims Management Regulator needs to ban upfront fees, nuisance calls and SMS / email marketing, ensuring the first contact made in every instance is initiated by the customer.
The Claims Management Regulator should revoke licenses from claims companies that are found to be lodging false claims.
Putting right the whole sector is relatively straight forward, and could almost be achieved overnight, but will we ever see it?
It is unlikely, so people will continue to turn to claims companies to assist in the battle to recover compensation that is rightfully theirs.
Complaints by and against claim companies
We are not all bad guys, and the statistics prove that to be true.
Figures show that approximately 164,000 claims claims received by the Financial Ombudsman Service in the last financial year were brought by claims companies, accounting for nearly 80%.
The BBC suggests that 12 million people have received compensation to date, so if claims companies have accounted for 80% of these claims that sees a figure of 9.6m.
So how many complaints against claims companies were accepted by the Legal Ombudsman in the last six months, the body who deal with such complaints……. just 648 !!!
Choosing the right company
First point….. do not use the services of a claims company that cold calls you, sends you SMS texts or emails.
Do not use a company who state you have definitely had PPI, or even go as far as to quote a figure you may be entitled to, as no company is able to confirm any of that information without you expressly giving you permission to check via a signature.
Do not use a company that charges an upfront fee, or who’s Terms of Engagement are not readily available.
If you get the feeling you are being coerced or pressured into using a company, this is a warning sign.
Companies must abide by rules that clearly state they cannot suggest or state that you are more likely to be successful with your claim doing it via a claim company rather than independently….. a company cannot know your knowledge of how to build and make a claim, or whether you have the time available to learn the knowledge and deal with tactics used by banks.
Similarly, claims companies cannot state that you are more likely to obtain more compensation doing it via a company rather than doing the claim independently…. banks have clear guidelines on how they must calculate compensation offers, and they are not allowed to alter that dependent on who brings the claim.
The benefits of using a reputable company is simple, we look to take the strain and the hassle away from customers.
Some of us have systems set up with banks that allows us to obtain information about your accounts quickly and efficiently.
Your Money Claim builds cases based on your experiences of the sale of PPI, couple with a more technical argument based on Consumer Contract Law and Insurance Sales Regulation, ensuring the strongest possible case is put forward, if it is found there is a potential case for mis-sale.
Get a feel for a company, speak to them, ask questions and ensure you are clear about the fees and service on offer.
There are some good claims companies out there, it is just a case of finding us.