Call for PPI claim firms regulation

Ken ClarkeBanks and consumer bodies are to press Justice Secretary Ken Clarke for tougher regulation of the claims management companies being used by people to obtain payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation.

The move follows a summit organised by and Which? which saw representatives from major banks and credit card providers meet financial regulators to work out how consumers can claim back their money more easily without using third parties.
The bodies have agreed that complaints procedures across financial services providers should be standardised to make the claims process clearer and simpler for consumers. They also plan to work together to explain to customers why they do not need to use a claims management company and will write to Mr Clarke calling for stronger action.

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said he was "delighted" with the progress made so far to increase consumer awareness, but said tougher regulation is needed. He has said claims management companies often use template letters similar to the ones given out by the consumer bodies for free, with the money generated meaning their adverts are "everywhere".

He said that without stronger regulation of claims management companies "even this new bank/consumer alliance will find it tough", while Which? executive director Richard Lloyd called on the Government to "up its game" and clamp down on unscrupulous firms.

Eric Leenders, executive director of the British Bankers Association (BBA), said: "We are committed to work with consumer groups to make sure all customer complaints are fairly heard."

Campaigners said £5 billion in mis-sold PPI is yet to be claimed and with a typical payout of £2,750, people could end up paying £825 to a claims management company for something they could "easily" do themselves for free.

Which? and MoneySavingExpert both have information on their websites to help consumers claim back PPI for free. They can also obtain information and claim forms from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), which handles disputes between financial services providers and customers.

FOS chief executive Natalie Ceeney said consumers claiming their money back will get the same outcome, just as quickly, as they would if they used a claims management company, and they will be able to keep all of their compensation.

Consumers took out PPI to help repay loans if they fell ill for a long period or became unemployed, but a widespread mis-selling scandal emerged. Some customers took out the policy without realising they did not need it or had felt pressured.

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