PPI Scandal: '25%' Claim Fees Under Fire

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Firms that offer help with payment protection insurance claims are facing demands for tighter regulation as they are accused of cashing in on mis-selling practices.

A summit of banks and consumer groups is being held to help raise awareness about the issue as research suggests that a quarter of people are unaware that claims management companies (CMCs) charge a fee.

[Related feature: How to claim back PPI without using a CMC]

According to the survey for Which? and MoneySavingExpert.com, 25% were unaware that CMCs cost them money - usually 25% of their claim plus VAT.

Only half of those questioned knew that using a CMC would be no more successful than making the claim themselves, the groups said.

More than half of those who had used a CMC to get back mis-sold PPI said they would be unlikely to use one again, the research found.

The biggest complaint was about value for money, with 37% of consumers unhappy.

UK banks and other credit card lenders have been compelled to contact potential victims of PPI mis-selling and together the industry faces a bill above £10bn according to estimates.

The mis-selling of PPI, which covers a person's financial liabilities in the event of sickness or redundancy, prompted a wealth of CMCs to launch a flurry of advertising campaigns.

Which? and MoneySavingExpert.com, who are attending a meeting with ministers and representatives of the banks, are launching an advertising campaign aimed at informing the public on how simple it is to make a claim.

The groups believe trust has been lost on the reclaiming process and they blame CMCs.

Martin Lewis, of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "Sadly PPI has become a cash bonanza for unscrupulous claims companies, who through a series of lies and misdirection are persuading people they are the only option for getting their PPI money back.

"Even I've been texted to be told I'm owed £3,000 PPI - though I've never had the product."

The consumer groups are calling for the CMC industry to be better regulated.

Richard Lloyd, Executive Director of Which? added: "They're saying (the CMCs) come to us and we'll get you more compensation, faster. It's simply not true.

"What people are ending up doing is paying a massive chunk...of their compensation in fees to commercial companies to do something you can do straightforwardly yourself for free."