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Regulators 'must get powers' over unwanted PPI alerts

The consumer group Which? said the Government must give regulators more powers to crack down on "unscrupulous claims firms" that contact consumers about mis-sold PPI claims "without permission."

The Citizens Advice Bureau said more than 30 million people have received unwanted messages. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? said, "Consumers can register their frustration with nuisance calls by using our new complaints tool which will send a clear message that more needs to be done to stop this menace."

Mr Lloyd's comments came as the Citizens Advice Bureau said more than 30 million people have received unwanted messages about claiming for mis-sold PPI.

'Ban PPI cold calling' says Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice Bureau wants cold calls about the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) to be banned and said it is "completely unacceptable" for calls to disrupt family time and work meetings.

Over a third of the complaints Citizens Advice handles about financial services stem from a cold call.

There is a particular problem with claims management companies. People are finding that sometimes the promises made over an unexpected phone call aren't delivered.

This means people who have been mis-sold PPI lose out twice: first at the hands of the bank and secondly from the claims firms because they don't get the full compensation they deserve. I want financial services firms to be banned from cold calling.

– chief executive at Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy


'One in four' had a meal interrupted by cold PPI call

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau of the 30 million people who were disturbed by an unwanted cold call about mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI):

  • One-in-four people (27%) received their most recent call during a family meal, while around one-in-seven (14%) received the call at work, including during meetings and presentations.
  • Approximately one-in-eight (13%) were disturbed while enjoying a film or watching TV.
  • Texts to mobiles, telephone calls and automate messages were the three most common ways in which people were contacted about PPI claims.
  • Citizens Advice research found 56% of complaints about PPI claims management stemmed from cold calls.

'More than 30 million' receive unwanted PPI messages

More than 30 million people have received unwanted messages about claiming for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), according to figures released by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Two-thirds of British adults said they have received an unwanted telephone call, text, email or letter about PPI. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Two-thirds of British adults, equivalent to 32 million people, said they have received an unwanted telephone call, text, email or letter about PPI, the figures show.

Of these, 98% did not feel that they had given their permission to be contacted in this way, and 55% estimate that they were contacted more than 10 times in the past 12 months.

Lloyds reveals a further £450m in PPI compensation

Lloyds Banking Group has revealed another £450 million to cover compensation for mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) despite reporting strong half year profits.

The figure takes its total bill for PPI to a mammoth £7.3 billion.

Lloyds revealed it was also under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority over its management of a supplier and PPI complaints handling procedure.

Consumers could lose trust in banks - claim

Citizens Advice says consumers could be thousands of pounds out of pocket, and even more distrustful of banks, because of Lloyds rejecting PPI claims first time.

An investigation by The Times found staff at a Lloyds PPI complaints handling centre were advised that most customers would give up if the claim was not successful first time. Lloyds has since terminated the contract of the company responsible for running the claims unit and is retraining staff.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “The scale of PPI mis-selling was of pandemic proportions.

It is absolutely appalling that Lloyds has not taken its commitment seriously to compensate customers. As a result consumers yet again have lost out on thousands of pounds that was rightfully theirs.

– Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy


City regulator warns firms to treat customers fairly

City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority has warned firms to comply with its rules and treat customers fairly.

It comes after Lloyds Banking Group admitted "issues" with the handling of customers' payment protection insurance complaints.

The FCA has previously said that it was looking into PPI firms' complaint-handling procedures and it plans to publish its findings later this summer.

An FCA statement said: "We expect all firms to comply with our rules and treat their customers fairly.

Firms know that PPI complaints must be thoroughly investigated and that appropriate action, where required, is taken promptly.

– FCA statement

Our rules are very clear that firms are expected to learn from previous complaints. So if there are significant numbers of complaints coming in about the same thing, that is a clear warning sign that something isn't right.

– FCA statement

The FCA said it is aware of the issues raised by TheTimes and it has been working with Lloyds since earlier this year to ensure they are resolved and customers' interests are properly considered.

Lloyds PPI complaint staff 'undergoing re-training'

Lloyds Banking Group said they took "immediate action" after becoming aware of "issues" at their PPI complaints handling centre, run by supplier Deloitte.

Read: Lloyds admits 'issues' with PPI complaints

A spokesman said the centre is now being run by a new supplier, and staff are undergoing re-training.

This site was operated for us by a third party supplier, Deloitte. Following further investigations, we took immediate action, and in May concluded our contract with Deloitte and moved to a new supplier.

Some of the comments made by trainers to The Times reporter are not endorsed by Lloyds Banking Group and we believe they do not reflect our high training standards or our policies. We believe the comments to be isolated and they are now being addressed.

Following the discovery of these issues, and under the guidance of a new supplier, the employees are currently undergoing re-training in line with our policies and procedures.

To date Lloyds has set aside a total £6.7 billion for PPI payouts, and has paid out more than £4.3 billion to 1.3 million customers.

Lloyds admits 'issues' with PPI complaints

The Times sent an undercover reporter to train as a PPI complaint handler. Credit: Press Association

Lloyds Banking Group has admitted "issues" with the handling of customers' payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints, following allegations that staff were told to ignore possible fraud.

An investigation by The Times claimed that contractors employed at the group's PPI complaint handling centre were coached on how to forge information and advised that most customers would drop their complaint if rejected the first time.

The newspaper sent an undercover reported to train with the company as a PPI complaint handler.

A spokesman for Lloyds said the company has terminated its contract with Deloitte, which operated the complaint handling centre on its behalf:

"Earlier this year we became aware of issues at a PPI complaints handling centre called Royal Mint Court in central London."

92% rise in complaints take up by financial ombudsman

Customer dissatisfaction with financial firms has reached a record levels with half a million new complaints dealt with in the last year, the ombudsman service has said.

The Financial Ombudsman Service which settles disputes between consumers and financial firms, said its caseload almost doubled in the year 2012/13, with 508,881 new cases, marking a 92% annual increase.

Many complaints were related to the payment protection insurance scandal.

Four of the UK's big banking groups - Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) - accounted for almost two-thirds (62%) of all complaints received by the ombudsman.

The payment protection insurance scandal drove the upswing in complaints, making up almost three-quarters (74%) of the cases dealt with by the service.

Forty-nine percent of cases were upheld in consumers' favour, including 69% of complaints relating to payment protection insurance (PPI).

Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman, said: "As levels of confidence in financial services have eroded, it is disappointing that we still haven't seen any significant improvement in complaints handling".

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