Neil Liversidge: Winning the battle against PPI claims chasers

The FCA’s payment protection insurance deadline of 29 August 2019 has been met with fury among the fraternity of Claims Manufacturing Crooks – or CMCs as they like to be known.

I have had many loans and cards over the years and always declined PPI. Not once was it added without my permission. So how did millions of claimants supposedly get it without their knowledge? I would suggest most knowingly accepted it but, when free money was on offer, deliberately modified their memories.

Not every PPI sale was legitimate. We have piloted a handful of complaints through for public sector employees who had been sold PPI when their employment entitled them to six months’ full pay and six months’ half pay, making the sickness element useless.

Accepting that the redundancy cover was fair enough, we claimed and received prompt refunds for the cost of the sickness element. Similarly, we have obtained refunds for self-employed individuals who had no chance of claiming on the unemployment cover but for whom the sickness cover was certainly valid. They were a minority. For every legitimate claim processed we turned away dozens of try-ons.

Shopping for scams

We have all received calls telling us we can claim PPI compensation. I used one to mystery shop the system, telling the caller about a loan I had had from RBS in 2005. I declined PPI and RBS left it off as requested. Despite making it clear there had been no PPI sale I subsequently received more calls quoting the loan details I had supplied. All told me I could still claim and was guaranteed a payout.

After batting dozens away, I finally played along with one to see what would happen. The caller coached me to say that I had had PPI without being previously aware of it; that I had never wanted it and consequently had not claimed on it. The call centre was located in the Indian subcontinent. His coaching done, the agent patched me through to a UK call centre which sent me forms to sign, boxes pre-ticked to complete the scam smoothly.

“For every legitimate claim processed we turned away dozens of try-ons.”

Claims, passed down the line

I binned them but the billions paid out suggests most signed and returned them, regardless of the fact their PPI sale – if they ever had it – was legitimate. Those people, millions of our fellow citizens, are now the beneficiaries of fraud.

That was several years ago. Recently, I was called and told the PPI claim I had never made had been approved. One of his company’s agents would be calling with a cheque for £2,000. All I had to do was load £200 on a Paysafecard and give them the PIN. The call centre that had first elicited details of my RBS loan had sold on the details to the scammers. Everyone who has similarly passed on their details to a CMC call centre should now assume they are at similar risk.

Some PPI was undoubtedly mis-sold but I do not believe the scale of mis-selling justified anything near the amount of money paid out.  The FCA is right to call time on claims. Some will say that nobody loves the banks and they deserve all they get. However, considering the banks’ shares are held by most of our pension funds, we are all now the victims of the real PPI scam.

Neil Liversidge is managing director of West Riding Personal Financial Solutions