Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Protection Racket

Right now in the UK one of the news items that we constantly hear about is that of PPI, or Payment Protection Insurance. Specifically, the PPI that was 'mis-sold'. We do not have to worry about the definition of 'mis-sold' because there are literally dozens of companies that have sprung up in order to help the consumer reclaim this 'mis-sold PPI', and their adverts on the telly are so ubiquitous that we cannot help but understand the definition of 'mis-sold', because EVERY commercial contains the line 'PPI was mis-sold if you didn't want, need, or ask for it'. Apparently we the British public are so dumbed down that we need this explained to us.
So are you still confused about what PPI actually is? Read on:
 In all types of insurance some claims are accepted and some are rejected, however in the case of PPI the number of rejected claims is high compared to other types of insurance. A primary reason for this is that, as with many forms of general insurance, the insurance is not underwritten at the sales stage and is sometimes taken out by customers without careful consideration as to whether it is right for their circumstances and without careful attention to the policy eligibility conditions. Individuals who seek out and purchase a policy without advice have little recourse if and when a policy does not benefit them. However most PPI policies are not sought out by consumers and in some cases consumers claim to be unaware that they even have the insurance.
These ads are absolutely riveting. I mean, they glue you to the screen. Forget Hollywood, this is BAFTA standard stuff.

However in researching this it turns out that the above company Gladstone Brookes has been using the PPI scandal to their advantage, charging a small fee upfront (usually £50) and saying that their service is 'no win, no fee'. People have used the service, been told that they can't get their money refunded and then Gladstone Brookes refuses to hand the 50 quid back. Watch:

And now we have the case in the news recently of Lloyds Bank. Now, the more observant among you will know that I have a general distrust of banks. To me banks of all kinds have just had that same air of sleaziness about them that is usually associated with ambulance-chasing lawyers, pimps, and politicians. Now that distrust has become complete.

Earlier this month Lloyds announced it was using new powers to claw back £1.5m of earlier executive bonuses – including £580,000 from the former chief executive Eric Daniels – because of its PPI mis-selling. The company has cut annual bonuses for its 100,000 staff by less than a third to a total of £375million, with scores of senior bankers likely to receive huge payouts.

So let me get this straight - these people are still getting bonuses? OK, so they're not as big as they once were. Whoop-te-doo. They are also selling off 600 of their branches, to Co-op Bank. So what, are we supposed to feel sorry for them?

Anyhoo, it seems that companies and banks alike are using the mis-sold PPI scandal and subsequent repayments as another excuse to fleece the public, because there are so many different people out there offering to get your money back for you. This is because humans like a quick fix. If something seems like it's going to be difficult or confusing to do, and someone comes along and offers to do it for you and makes it sound like it's going to be easy, then we lazy humans will jump at the chance. Truth is, it's not that hard.

If you want to find out how to reclaim your PPI the first and only place you should go is to Martin Lewis and his website MoneySaving He's got a page specifically to tell you how to go about it, at You are welcome.

And if you keep seeing those ads on TV, it means you are watching too much daytime telly, because that's when the bulk of them are on, during Jeremy Kyle or Judge Judy. Get out in the sunshine, grow some veggies, walk in the park, whatever. But turn the bleeding telly off. Unplug the thing. Read a book. Or write a blog.

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