If you wish to reclaim Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), then yes, you can use the Financial Ombudsman Service. However, before you approach them, you will have to go through the full complaint process with your Lender. Should you know whether you have had PPI, or not, you can approach whoever you have borrowing with and ask them to provide details of the facilities that you have had with them (either open or closed in the past) and ascertain from this information whether Payment Protection Insurance was attached. Unfortunately, the majority of Lenders tend to use this as an opportunity to deflect complaints by not being able to find the information, and after some time of using negative responses such as “we only keep information for up to 6 years”, clients invariably give up – which is ultimately what the Banks wants to achieve.
If the Bank does however provide information and, from this information you are able to clarify that Payment Protection Insurance was attached to the facilities with them, you can then make a formal complaint to the Bank. The formal complaint is a process which you have to take with them, before submitting to the Ombudsman. This can take up to, and in some cases over, 8 weeks. You will need to complete paperwork and also detail why you believe that the Payment Protection Insurance was mis-sold at the point of sale. Again, the Banks use this as an excellent opportunity to deflect the complaint so that the client does not pursue the matter any further. There are many ways of doing this, but their favourite is to just ignore the complaint after confirming a response, or by producing considerable quantities of written material that will justify why the policy was sold and state that you incorrectly believed that it was mis-sold. This paperwork includes tremendous amounts of Bank legislation and legal information, all of which is used to deflect the claim.
If a final response is provided and the response is negative, (as in the majority of cases it is) the option then is to take the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman where you will complete further paperwork and provide evidence for the Ombudsman. In addition to this, when going to the Ombudsman Service (due to their backlog) you will need to monitor and keep in touch with them for a period of 18 months to 2 years. This is due to the backlog that they have in dealing with complaints of this nature. Sometimes there are technical issues, such as who is responsible for the sale of the policy. This is because some Lenders (prior to 2005) were not legislated by the Financial Ombudsman Service. If this is the case, you will need to establish who the Underwriter of the policy is in order to look at making any form of claim. Of course, once this is established the claims process with the Lender must then start again, and the Underwriter again given the 8 week period to address the issues.
Dealing with any form of complaint against a Bank, in particular PPI, can be a long-winded and frustrating process for an individual to take on. We have been dealing with complaints now since 1999. Even for ourselves, they can be frustrating. However, this is our role, and whilst as frustrating as they are, we will continue to manage and pursue the Lender through whatever means we have in order to seek a satisfactory conclusion on your behalf. All of this we do on a “No Win No Fee” basis, so ultimately if we are unsuccessful, there is no fee to pay.