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Santander pledges to process PPI claims

Spanish banking giant not part of judicial review


Consumers have been overcharged by £1.4bn on PPI, according to the Competition Commission

In a welcome move for consumers, Santander has confirmed that it is still processing Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims and will not be joining other UK banks in their judicial review of the PPI market.

A Santander spokesperson said ‘We are not involved in the legal action being pursued by a number of UK banks with regards to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). We will continue to deal with any issues our customers put to us regarding PPI in accordance with FSA rules.’

Judicial review of PPI complaints – background

In October 2010, the British Bankers Association (BBA) announced that it was seeking a judicial review of the Financial Services Authority’s complaint-handling rules on Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) laid down in August.

The FSA will contest the review when it comes to court. Some banks have said they are not going to deal with complaints until the review is over.

However, Which? argues that the rules have not actually changed. The FSA has merely set out clearly, in more prescriptive terms, what the firms should have been doing in the first place.

What is PPI?

You may have been sold PPI at some point when you applied for a credit product of some sort – a credit card, loan or even a finance agreement for a sofa, for example.

PPI is supposed to cover the debt if you fall sick or lose your job. However, Which? has had concerns for many years that PPI is poorly designed, bad quality and frequently mis-sold.

The FSA has fined over 20 firms now for failings in the sales of PPI, and various other reports and investigations conclude that there are real problems in the market.

What action can consumers take?

It is yet to be officially agreed whether complaints will be put on hold by other banks during the judicial review, and the review is unlikely to receive a hearing until next year. However, our investigations have revealed that some banks are saying they will not be dealing with complaints until the review has been decided.

We are encouraging people who feel that they may have been mis-sold PPI to continue to make a complaint as soon as possible.

Follow these steps if you think you have been mis-sold PPI.

  • Get together your credit and PPI information.
  • Always take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if your PPI provider rejects your complaint or does not respond with a final decision within eight weeks.
  • Be aware that your complaint may be put on hold and remain unresolved until after the review, but it will eventually be dealt with and it is wise to get the complaint into the system when it is fresh in your mind.

Which? believes that banks should continue to deal with all PPI complaints. Using the judicial review as an excuse to put legitimate complaints on hold seems like a shameless attempt to duck out of giving consumers the redress they are entitled to. Santander’s statement that it will continue to process PPI claims, and that it is not part of the legal proceedings by other banks, is a welcome move that Which? thinks should be copied by other banks and building societies.

For more on PPI, see the Which? campaign guide.

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