PPI ( Payment Protection Insurance ) has been a hot potato in the UK
for some years. There has long been widespread concern that the
insurance, frequently added on to loans, mortgages and overdrafts, was
frequently sold in circumstances inappropriate to the needs of the
customer, while offering disproportionately large benefits to the
lender/insurance provider (especially banks). In consequence, there has
in recent years been pressure on financial institutions to review their
sales practice and repay customers for mis-sold PPI services.
the last year or so, I’ve noticed an upsurge of nuisance messages
relating to PPI rebates: these range from automated phone calls
pressuring the recipient to press a button to talk to a salesman in
order to meet a non-existent deadline for a non-existent claim, to calls
from Indian call centres – those seem to have replaced support scams
for a while, to Twitter and comment spam. (Actually, banks have been
pushing for a deadline on payouts, but the automated messages I’ve heard
have talked about ‘today’ or ‘tomorrow’, not April 2014…)
given the quantity of comments I moderate, I hadn’t personally come
across this as comment spam, but ESET Ireland ‘s Urban Schrott sent me a
link included in a comment to one of his own blogs. While I find it hard
to put much faith in firms that advertise by comment spam and describe
themselves as Mis-Selling Specialists, I can’t say it’s an out-and-out
scam without further investigation: Permanent TSB is one of several lenders ordered by Ireland’s central
bank to review all PPI sales since August 2007. However, there are some
pretty good reasons for avoiding this kind of offer, even on the basis
of No Win No Fee.
For more information on why using a claims company is usually a bad idea (and when it might not be a bad idea, Martin Lewis has examined the issue in some depth at MoneySavingExpert.com including this MSE Reclaim PPI for Free guide. Not to mention his 10 things you need to know if using a PPI claims firm blog. The main agency pressuring financial institutions to recognize legitimate PPI claims is the Financial Services Agency , which has a great deal of information on its web site.
by the way, that PPI is quite different to income protection insurance,
which is intended to protect the customer from lack of income, rather
than protecting the lender. Though that doesn’t mean I’d necessarily
recommend income protection either.
David Harley ESET Senior Research Fellow
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