Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is charged by banks in case a customer defaults on loans, mortgages or credit cards such as in cases of redundancy. Thousands of cases have arisen where customers have been mis-sold PPI and have initiated cases to reclaim monies lost. Current events indicate that banks may be stalling in PPI compensation payouts.
Complaints about banks to Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) rise
Complaints to FOS about the improper handling of mis-sold PPI claims have nearly doubled to 85,562 during the first six months of 2012, an increase of approximately 75 per cent when compared to 49,419 in the final six months of 2011, but similar to the first half of 2011.
During 2011, regulators gave banks more time to assess claims for PPI compensation. With banks having more time to assess claims, some commentators are suggesting that they may have stalled the claim process. The fact that FOS has decided about 72 per cent of PPI complaints in the customer’s favour indicates that banks may have stalled the payback process too.
The complaints were about banks’ use of technical claim forms, turning away valid complaints, poor claims handling and stalling payments. The most complaints were about Barclays followed by Lloyds TSB, MBNA, Lloyds TSB Black Horse, Capital One and HSBC.
Changes in banks’ PPI responsibilities
The authorities have reviewed the conduct of parties involved on behalf of consumers trying to reclaim PPI. The result is that banks have been given a deadline by which to process PPI claims and improve their complaints handling. The fact that the FSA have given such a deadline may also indicate that banks have taken longer than they should have in processing PPI claims.
Banks have raised alerts about fraudulent claims for PPI mis-selling. Out of approximately 3,000 PPI complaint calls to FOS daily, half are investigated by the Ombudsman. Some cases have been in the favour of banks. Yorkshire Building Society, for example, has won 93 per cent of cases.
Investigating claims and fraudulent activity takes time. This factor may contribute to a delay in banks processing mis-sold PPI. The appeals by banks to avoid the large payments of compensation to so many consumers also delays payouts.
Self-claim versus use of claim management companies
Claim management companies use intensive marketing to encourage people to reclaim PPI that may have been mis-sold to them. These companies act as an agent or middle-man and take a large proportion of the PPI compensation claims and may potentially slow down the PPI claims process.
Since last year, consumers have received more information through the media about PPI, how to identify PPI mis-selling, and steps to take in order to claim. The spike in complaints and self-representation may be due to consumers having more knowledge about PPI and the claims process, who are therefore coming forward to make their own cases.
A simpler claims process with easier forms to complete may add to consumers being able to handle claims themselves. Self-representation for claiming PPI, or complaining about how claims are processed, saves consumers the fees charged by the claims management companies.