Abbey National Guide Claiming back your PPI
If you currently have or have had credit it is likely that you also had PPI and if this is the case you may have been mis-sold the policy. Therefore, the first thing to do is to look at the paperwork which was sent to you when you took out your loan, credit card, mortgage or other type of finance agreement.
Check whether PPI has been included on your repayment statements – it might be listed as 'payment protection insurance', 'loan protection cover', 'card protection cover' or something similar.
If you do not have the paperwork or if it is not clear, you should contact your lender or finance provider and ask whether you have PPI.
Call or write to Santander
You can contact Santander by calling their team of specialist PPI complaint handlers on 0845 600 6014* who will discuss the details of your case with you directly.
They ask that you have to hand details of your PPI policy including the policy number or account number so that your concerns can be resolved as quickly as possible.
The easiest way to raise a query about a PPI policy with Santander is to complete a PPI questionnaire form. Once you have done this, you should send it, along with a letter of complaint of which you can download a template here to the address detailed below.
Santander PPI Complaints
PO Box 6197
It is important to ensure that you include a completed PPI questionnaire form with any letter you send to Santander, as they will need this in order to process your complaint.
What happens once you have raised your complaint?
Santander should acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and in line with FSA requirements they will aim to deal with your complaint within 8 weeks. When a decision is made they should write to you clearly explaining their decision. If they are offering you a refund they should make the payment within 14 days following receipt of your acceptance.
They should keep you informed on the progress of your complaint. If they are unable to issue a final response within 8 weeks, they should write to you and inform you of the progress they have made.
Write to the Financial Ombudsman
If your claim is rejected by Santander or you have been waiting longer than 8 weeks to hear from them, you can write a formal letter of complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service who will be able to assist you in reclaiming your money.
The Financial Ombudsman service will investigate each individual case in order to come to a decision about whether you are eligible for a refund. This service is completely free to use and has official powers to mediate between you and financial businesses that you are unhappy with. If they think that you have been treated unfairly they have the power to order the business to refund you accordingly.
In order to help the Financial Ombudsman assist you with your case, they will ask you to complete a complaint form and provide them with:
- some personal details
- your account number or policy numbers etc
- brief details of what has happened and how you think things could be put right for you
If you call the Financial Ombudsman, they can also fill in some of the information on their complaints form for you and will adapt the way they communicate with you according to your needs.
Customers do not have to accept the final decisions made by the Financial Ombudsman and can opt to take their case to court. However, the Ombudsman will not be able to offer you any advice about requirements or restrictions if you do choose to follow this path.
How long does it take?
Each case is individual and there may be different circumstances to be taken into consideration. Therefore, the time the Financial Ombudsman takes to review a case can vary from one person to another depending on factors such as:
- how complex the case is and
- how long it takes them to get the information they need, to get to the bottom of a complaint.
Although the procedure is quite straightforward, PPI cases can take over a year to process so customers should not depend on being reimbursed quickly.
Once you have sent off the appropriate documentation, the Financial Ombudsman should then send you a letter of acknowledgement so that you know that they have accepted your case and are investigating your right to claim.
The Ombudsman receive a high volume of claims which means that the process of investigation can take a long time – customers can expect to wait about a year but it can take longer. However, as long as the Ombudsman has accepted your case, it will be resolved eventually and you can rely on this service to inform you in the future of any offers from your lender.
Being turned down by the Ombudsman
If you have been turned down by the Ombudsman and you believe that their decision is unfair, you may still be able to make a claim. Usually claims requests are processed by an employee at the Financial Ombudsman Service but if they have denied you the right to claim, you can request that a formal decision be made by one of the actual Ombudsmen at the service. Although this process can take several months, if you feel that the initial decision made was unfair, it will be worth the wait.
Although Santander are obliged to accept the Ombudsman’s final decisions, customers do not have to and can still take their lender to court. If you feel that your case has not been handled acceptably, for example, there have been unnecessary delays in reviewing it, you can refer it to the Ombudsman's Service Review Team.
If you would like to complain about the quality of service you have received, you also have the right to go to an independent assessor.
Issues you will not be able to take to the Ombudsman
If a company is not FSA registered, the Ombudsman will not be able to help with any complaints made about them.
PPI sales that were made from January 2005 will be covered by the Ombudsman but if policies were sold earlier than this date, they will not be. However, if a provider was FSA registered before January 2005, they will be covered by the Ombudsman which means that all loans from a bank or building society should be fine.
If you purchased PPI insurance in 2004 or earlier and the provider wasn’t FSA registered, unfortunately, the Ombudsman will not be able to settle your case. In these circumstances, reclaiming money can become more complex but that is not to say that it will not be possible.
If the Ombudsman cannot help you with your claim they may be able to you in touch with others who can help, for example, the Finance and Leasing Association, Association of British Insurers or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if your lender's gone bust.
Using a claims handler
If you have a concern about how your PPI Policy was sold, it's easy for you to contact Santander directly. Whilst you are free to use a claims management company (CMC) you should be aware they generally charge a fee from any compensation that may be paid and may be 25% to 40% of the payment Santander will make to you.
If you contact the bank directly they will assess your complaint in exactly the same way as they would a claim from a CMC and if any refund is paid, then you will be able to keep the whole amount.
If trade organisations will not help you to reclaim your money, taking court action against Santander via the small claims system can serve as an alternative.
This type of claim will be based on the grounds that Santander did not inform you appropriately about their product and therefore mis-represented the contract that was sold.
Although you have to pay around £50 for smaller cases and up to £300 for larger reclaims, the process of taking court action against a PPI provider can be quicker than taking a case to the Ombudsman. It is also important to remember that the amount you pay out for legal costs can be reclaimed if you win your case but there is the chance that you will have to argue your case in court.
Although there are no guarantees, there is a good chance that PPI companies will be forced to settle if this course of action is taken, especially if the claimant has good grounds and understands the legal arguments.