Rise in complaints about loan insurance

Taz says he feels PPI wasn't explained to him properly before he signed up

There's been a record increase in the number of people complaining about Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) to the watchdog the Financial Ombudsman Service.

They have heard from 50,000 people in a year and say that could be the tip of the iceberg.

PPI isn't a bad idea in itself.

The point is that it covers you if you take out a loan or credit card and then can't make the payments because you're sick or have been made redundant.

Taz thought it seemed like a sensible option.

He took out a couple of loans to do up his house and buy a new car.

He said: "I was talking to the branch manager, he said it was good to take out, it would help with the loan approval.

"I feel as if it wasn't really explained to me properly. I felt like he was trying to sell me something, thinking of his own pocket, not my benefits."

'Common' problem

So he agreed, and as well as his loan payments, he was shelling out £40 a month for the PPI.

The Financial Ombudsman Service says this situation is all too common.

Natalie Ceeney is the Chief Ombudsman and says they're getting more people than ever complaining.

"A third of every complaint we get in the door is about PPI. We started to see complaints about four years ago and it's gone up really steeply every year since.

"It's increased by 58% this year."

One big issue is that many companies sell you PPI at the same time you get credit or take out a loan.

'Know the facts'

That can mean customers don't know all the downsides, like the fact that it's expensive but you can shop around for better deals.

And people might not understand limits on what is and isn't covered.

The best advice is, if you think you do need PPI, make sure you know all the facts.

Taz's mate told him he could complain to his bank about how he was sold PPI.

Now they've agreed to refund his money but there is a catch.

He got a claims management company to look after his case, and so he needs to pay them a chunk of the cash.

But it is easy to cut out the middle man.

First off, you need to go straight to the company you bought the insurance from.

If they turn down your complaint, then it's time to talk to the Ombudsman.

They say it's a simple process, you can either ring them or fill in a form online.

And in 90% of PPI cases, they're agreeing with customers and forcing businesses to pay the cash back.