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PPI: the facts you need to know


PPI has been a hot topic for a while now, and with so many companies contacting individuals unsolicited, it can be hard to know whether you actually have a case to reclaim money, or whether you're being drawn in by an organisation who may or may not be able to help... Luckily, we have Campaigns Manager at Moneysavingexpert, Wendy Alcock, to guide us in the right direction.

MoneySavingExpert.com has been shouting 'reclaim your PPI' for years. We've all had the texts, emails, phone calls and seen the adverts on TV, in newspapers and magazines - it's everywhere! But what does it mean, does it apply to you and how do you stop the annoying spam getting through in the first place? Here's a quick explanation of what you can do...

What is PPI?

It stands for Payment Protection Insurance and is a product often provided alongside loans, credit cards, store cards, mortgages, car finance, overdrafts, catalogues – any form of credit. The insurance protects payments on these products if you're unable to pay due to job loss or sickness. It can be a good product if you decide it's right for you but the problem we have at the moment is that banks were mis-selling it to people for years. And if that was you, you can ask for the money back, easily and for free.

What counts as mis-selling?

The PPI seller needed to check the product was suitable for you at the time you got it. In many cases it didn't do this, which is why the financial regulator's fined several banks and told all of them to pay the money back. Typical examples of what went wrong include: people being told the cover was compulsory to get a loan, it being added without permission, unemployment cover being unnecessarily sold to the self-employed, unemployed or retired, and failure to give information on the exclusion of pre-existing medical conditions. In general, if you weren't given the correct information about the policy, you can complain.


You don't need to pay to reclaim

This is where the adverts come in. As there's such a lot of money owed to consumers, claims management companies are getting in on the act. They promote themselves as 'no win, no fee' but don't explain this means taking around a third of any refund from you. But reclaiming is easier than you think. Claims handlers aren't necessarily quicker or easier - you'll still need to send them the details of your complaint. Instead, it could just take one call or letter to your bank. Give them a call to see if you had the insurance and to find out its complaints procedure. You could be rewarded with £100s or £1,000s in return.

For more information, including over 60 FAQs and free template letters, go to MoneySavingExpert.com’s Reclaim PPI for Free guide

How to stop the spam

man shouting on the phone

It's impossible to stop it 100% but things can be done to reduce spam.

Phone calls: If you feel like you're being bombarded with random calls you're not alone. They are just that though, randomly dialled computer generated numbers. The rule seems to be, the more calls made the more chance someone will pick up. If you want to stop random calls from UK companies, register your home and mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service (online here or call 0845 070 0707). This makes it illegal for UK firms to spam call but not from firms overseas unfortunately.

Mail: The Mail Preference Service isn't as enforceable at the telephone version, but should substantially cut junk mail. Register here or call 0207 291 3310.

Texts: If you get spam texts (ie, from unknown senders), don't reply 'stop' - it shows you are real. Forward the text to 7726 (87726 on Vodafone). If enough people do it, the number can be blocked.

At home: If you get lots of cold callers to your home, a No Cold Callers sign can help. Stick one to your door and energy salesmen are banned from knocking, while other callers should be put off. If they're not, just point to it politely and say “No cold callers please” and close the door.

Find a free No Cold Callers sign and more spam stopping tips in the MoneySavingExpert.com's Stop spam texts, calls & mail guide.










Images: Shutterstock

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