Payment Protection Insurance – Wider Implications
‘Wider implications’ is a technical term used by the Financial Ombudsman Service [FOS]. Wider implications issues include cases where the underlying issue is one that affects a large number of consumers or firms and in September of 2008 the Ombudsman raised PPI as a wider implications issue with the Financial Services Authority [FSA] to decide whether a regulatory solution imposed on the industry might be more fitting than decisions being made on individual cases by the Ombudsman. Just as there was a great brouhaha over the penalty charges that banks made to customers and deemed as unreasonable – making profit from penalties, PPIs might suffer the same fate if the industry doesn’t self-regulate and behave in a more reasonable manner to those claimants who believe they have been mis-sold a product.
It’s great having all this information after the fact but too often the public trusts salesmen and women to do their job honestly and be fair in their conduct and pieces of paper that might be essential to making a claim against a firm could have been consigned to the bin years ago. Merely the policy document remains in your file or drawer or wherever you keep it. Red tape, bureaucracy and providing evidence can make many claims against firms nearly impossible when you are no longer in possession of records that might be useful. Who would have foreseen that PPIs might become an issue of wider implications or that paperwork has to be kept in archive for several years? There simply isn’t the space for all the bits of paper an average household would need if they have house insurance, buildings and contents insurance, car insurance, P60s, bank statements, credit card statements, benefits information and invoices or receipts for purchases made on their credit cards. Many companies want the original paperwork and most people don’t have it. We’re told not to store information about personal finances on our computers for fear of identity theft and even if you did, retrieving it does not provide the ‘original’ paperwork that companies ask for to back up a claim. Even though they may have a record of the transaction so often we are told ‘it’s company policy’ that original documentation is provided to support any claim and that they have to, “adhere to policy, I’m afraid. Sorry!”
Unless individuals have lost huge sums of money or are of a Victor Meldrew mindset, they will probably give up pursuing their claim as it involves too much administration, annoying phone calls [that often can only be made during business hours – hard to do if you’re at work too] that keep you on hold listening to muzaak or automated services that do not have an option to suit your query and no live operator to speak to. It’s easier to drop the case than to be continuously frustrated in your efforts to solve the problem and it makes more sense to ‘get a life’ and forget about being screwed over. The FSA and the FOS are trying to lessen those frustrations and are worthwhile places to start if you do wish to make a claim against a mis-sold PPI.
Steven Mcdouglass is an employee of Which Network – A Mortgage Network consultancy company
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