Millions could be owed in additional compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), as Which? reveals banks are failing to properly investigate claimants’ full policy history and inform customers of all the PPI policies they have been sold.
A Which? investigation found that banks routinely dodge potential refunds by not checking all the policies a claimant has held – opting instead to only investigate the individual policies named, without mentioning to the customer that they had other PPI policies that might be eligible for compensation.
When Which? approached the big high street banks – Barclays, HSBC, RBS Group, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Nationwide – all said they would limit their investigation to the policy referenced, unless the customer makes a ‘general complaint’ or explicitly requests they check for all policies sold.
One such claimant, Valerie Henderson, 63, from County Durham, had previously received PPI compensation in 2009 and 2014. She was prompted to make one final check after receiving leaflets which mentioned mis-selling PPI on mortgages. She subsequently discovered that her bank owed refunds on a further 13 policies, totalling over £12,000.
Which? is concerned that this bare minimum approach from banks has meant that many other claimants could have missed out on claiming on all their policies. And with the August 2019 deadline approaching, millions could go unclaimed.
Which? has previously questioned the FCA’s approach to the mis-selling scandal, which allows banks to sit back and not proactively contact customers, relying instead on people knowing whether they had PPI and making a claim.
As a result, there could be countless victims of the PPI scandal still sitting on banks’ databases that might never receive refunds.
Which? is now urging consumers to ensure they make a general complaint to their bank, requiring the firm looks at every product they have held. Previous claimants should also consider lodging new general complaints to ensure all their products have been checked.
Which? can help people submit a free PPI claim online and has made updates so that firms are automatically requested to check all the policies a claimant has held.
Gareth Shaw, Which? Money Expert, said:
“Firms have admitted that they are doing the bare minimum to compensate victims by failing to investigate and flag all the policies a claimant might have held, meaning millions could be left unclaimed.
“As the deadline to claim approaches, we’re encouraging anyone who thinks they might have additional policies to re-lodge a general claim, even if they’ve already had a successful payout on one policy. The banks certainly won’t check other policies for you unless you ask.”
Notes to editors
Valerie Henderson, 63, called the Which? Money Helpline to report:
“A leaflet dropped through my door which mentioned PPI mis-selling on mortgages. I knew I had one with NatWest so I called up and said the magic words – I asked for all of my accounts to be checked.
“I’m now expecting to get £12,784 back. I doubt I would’ve ever got the money if I hadn’t seen that leaflet. Realistically there has to be some cut-off date for PPI claims, and I try not to be cynical, but it makes my blood boil that Natwest could well have alerted me to these policies and unclaimed funds.”
“We are sorry to hear of Mrs Henderson’s experience regarding her PPI complaints and we will be contacting her to ensure this is resolved satisfactorily. In line with our ongoing customer commitments, we have made a number of improvements to our PPI complaints process, including enhancing how customers can get in touch with us, and the support that is available. We would encourage anyone who is yet to check if they had PPI with us to contact us directly.”
Which? Free PPI claimant tool can be found here: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-reclaim-mis-sold-ppi
Find out more about PPI: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/i-think-ive-been-mis-sold-ppi-what-should-i-do
Responses from the FCA and banks:
Which? asked: “Where a customer, or former customer, makes a claim for mis-sold PPI, do you automatically check for all potentially mis-sold products when assessing a single claim? For example, if they were to claim for PPI added to a single credit card, would you investigate all other PPI policies sold to them at the same time (where applicable)?”
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA):
“It is important that consumers are able to check easily whether or not they have had PPI and then decide whether they want to complain. A key objective of our advertising campaign is to make sure that consumers understand that they may have had PPI on a broad range of products. We are working with firms to make it easier for consumers to ask for a PPI check on all brands and products with each firm at the same time.”
“Barclays provides customers with a checking service, to allow them to easily check to see if they have ever had PPI on their Barclays products. The checking service requires the customer to complete a form, which only takes around five minutes to do and can be accessed via our website. The response the customer receives through the checking service details all the products the customer has held with PPI. This allows customers to make an informed decision on the products against which they wish to make a PPI complaint. On receipt of a complaint, we will follow the customer’s request. Where a customer is specific as to which products they wish to complain about, Barclays will investigate these products. Where the customer makes a general complaint, Barclays will undertake a wider investigation across all products the customer holds with Barclays – that are relevant to their complaint.”
“We always seek to investigate PPI complaints fairly and as quickly as possible, and in order to do that we focus on the issues raised by the customer. Customers can find out if they had PPI with Capital One by using our free online checking service to identify all the accounts they held with us that had PPI. Customers can also call and request us to investigate a single specific account or multiple accounts.”
HSBC & First Direct:
“When customers/non-customers complain to HSBC and First Direct about PPI, all policies are investigated where complaint testimonies reference ‘all products’ i.e. loans, credit cards, mortgages or current accounts. If a specific PPI policy number is referenced in a complaint, then only that policy is investigated.”
Lloyds Banking Group:
“Checking for PPI with Lloyds is simple and free, and where customers are unsure of whether they had PPI we encourage them to ask. Our complaints process checks all systems where PPI information may be found that is relevant to the brand and product(s) that the customer has enquired/complained about.
If the customer were to make a claim for PPI added to all products they hold, we will do so. However, some customers know exactly which product they would like claim against, such as a PPI added to a credit card. In these cases we will look at that specific account.”
“If we receive a PPI complaint about a specific account, then only that account is investigated. If they specify all accounts, or are unsure, then we would investigate all.”
“If the customer complains about only one of their PPI products, we’ll investigate just that one as there is nothing to suggest they are not happy with their other PPI policies. If they don’t know what PPI products they had, or ask for us to investigate all their PPI, we do.”
RBS Group (Royal Bank of Scotland & Natwest):
“I can confirm that we assess PPI claims (complaints) in accordance with the instructions from the customer or their third party (where they have a valid authority to act on the customer’s behalf). We would not automatically check across all of our product suite where the claim related to PPI on a specific product(s). In respect of third parties, we only respond to claims on products for which the customer has given them authority. In the event that a third party sends a claim for products that they do not have authority for, we send the outcomes directly to the customer for any such products. We continue to enhance our PPI processes to make it easy to engage with us via a number of channels, by; phone, in writing and online. We welcome and encourage feedback from our customers and we work closely with a number of third parties on our processes. We are due to meet with you over the next few weeks and would welcome any further consumer feedback that is relevant for RBS to help us improve further.”
“We will assess all PPI claims for products specified by customers and check to see if PPI was attached to those products. Where the customer does not specify a product, we will always write to them and ask them to provide more information about the types of products they believe they may have held.”