Everything you always wanted to know about PPI but were afraid to ask

In one month's, time PPI complaints will all be over forever.

Now, while you might be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief after years of being badgered about it, the banks will be breathe a far bigger one.

That's because they're being let off the hook for billions of compensation that is still owed to honest consumers who were conned into paying for a product that was of little-to-no use to them.

And many of the people I speak to are still really confused about PPI, despite all the coverage, so I've decided to answer the top ten questions we receive to help inspire you to get started with your claim.

1. Surely everyone should know about, and claimed back, PPI by now?

Lots of people make this assumption, but the simple fact of the matter is PPI policies were mis-sold on a massive scale.

Estimates suggest upwards of 62 million policies were sold but no one really knows for sure.

Many people were never told that PPI had been added to their loans or credit cards, which is why so many people potentially don’t know if they were affected.

2. I don’t know if I was mis sold PPI, what should I do?

If you’re not sure if you had PPI, then you’ll need to contact the business that sold you the loan or credit agreement and ask them what documents or information they have on file.

They business has to tell you the truth, but the older your policy, the harder it may be to track things down.

Resolver can help you make contact with the business so get started here:

Sadly, if you can’t remember who you had loans or credit agreements with, then you’re out of luck.

There’s no ‘central database’ for PPI sales, so you’ll have to cast your mind back or raid those drawers stuffed with old paperwork.

3. I’ve not got my documents; can I still complain?

Yes, you can, but you’ll need to find some proof of the sale. Get in touch with the firm and ask them to check their records.

They may have file notes, scans, copies of original documents or other references to your loan or credit agreement, all of which could indicate if PPI was sold with the policy.

4. What if the business refuses to give me my documents?

If the business is being difficult, you can make a request under the Data Protection Act for the information.

This is known as a ‘subject access request’ and the firm is obliged to comply with it. They can charge you up to £10 to do this.

Here’s some information from the Information Commissioner’s Office on how to get started.

An easier way around this is to ‘escalate’ your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The business has to give the ombudsman the documents they need to investigate the complaint, so you’ll get them anyway.

5. How do I find out who to complain to?

You’d think this would be simple and in many cases it is. But things do get tricky sometimes because of the way PPI sales were subcontracted to various other businesses.

So complaining about PPI on a storecard can be very complicated at first glance, because loads of businesses might actually be responsible for the sale, depending on the date you were sold the card.

In simple terms, if you have the rough date you took out the credit agreement and the name of the company you bought if from, it’s possible to search a database of regulated firms to find out who should deal with your complaint.

This isn’t always easy to do so you can call the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). They can check the database for you.

But do this now now now! Time is running out!

6. How does the complaint process work?

It’s so easy to make a complaint, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before.

First, fill in a simple form (our version is here). It’ll take a few minutes, but we’d encourage you to write down as much as you can remember – every little bit helps.

Then send the information to the business at their head office and they’ll investigate your complaint.

They have a maximum of eight weeks from the moment we contact them to resolve your complaint.

If they don’t respond, you can automatically appeal to the financial ombudsman.

If you’re not happy with the response from the firm, you can automatically go to the ombudsman too.

The ombudsman is free, so you don’t lose out by taking it further.

7. The business says they don’t have any records because it was over six years ago, what can I do?

As a general rule, a financial business will keep documents and records for up to six years after the loan or credit agreement has ended.

But that doesn’t mean that after this point nothing will remain on file.

Financial businesses often have documents kicking around from much further back – and we expect them to thoroughly check.

If nothing turns up you can still go to the ombudsman – they might unearth more information.

But being realistic, if ultimately no evidence can be found, your claim is likely to fail.

8. What if the business that sold me PPI has gone bust?

If the firm that sold you the PPI was regulated at the point it sold you the policy – and if it has formally filed for bankruptcy – then the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) can potentially look at your case.

The FSCS was set up to help people in exactly this situation and they can pay out up to £85,000 from a fund to cover bust businesses.

But they still need to investigate your situation as a complaint – so you’ll need to explain why the policy was mis-sold to you.

9. What do people complain about?

Most people make the following complaints:

  • “I didn’t know I had been sold PPI”.
  • “I was told I had to take out PPI in order to get a loan or credit”.
  • “My circumstances meant that the policy was unsuitable for me and a claim would not have been successful”.
  • “I didn’t know how expensive it would be”.
  • “My claim has been turned down”.

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