PPI delays slammed

Those struggling to get debt free whose problems partly stem form more expensive loans that included payment protection insurance (PPI) are frequently…

Those struggling to get debt free whose problems partly stem form more expensive loans that included payment protection insurance (PPI) are frequently not getting their money back soon enough, consumer group Which? has said.

The body noted the rate at which complaints have been upheld varies widely, from just four per cent at Yorkshire Bank to 90 per cent for CitiFinancial Europe.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said progress has been far too slow and shows many banks are “still not dealing with PPI complaints fairly”.

He argued that unless there is a “dramatic” improvement in the situation, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) should impose “tough enforcement action against banks whose complaints handling isn’t up to scratch”.

Mr Lloyd said the delays show that there is not a “properly functioning market” and said the government should use the publication next week of its Independent Commission on Banking report as the start point for major change to improve competition.

Mr Lloyd was commenting after the Ombudsman Service revealed the latest progress on dealing with PPI complaints.

Chief ombudsman Natalie Ceeney noted the number of complaints received that had been successfully upheld in the first half of this year was 47 per cent, compared with 53 per cent in the second half of 2010.

She said the lower figure coincided with the time when banks were launching a legal challenge against the ruling by the FSA and Ombudsman Service against their preferred approach to dealing with the situation.

Therefore, Ms Ceeney noted: “Complaints in this period about PPI were harder fought and harder to resolve – particularly if we found in favour of a consumer.”

By Joe White

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