James Walker of Resolver: The ‘claims vultures’ who could put your PPI payout at risk

James Walker, from Resolver. Picture: Resolver.co.uk

James Walker, from Resolver. Picture: Resolver.co.uk - Credit: Archant

I've had a great response to my last column on PPI and why millions of people still don't know if they've been mis-sold – so thank you!

High Angle View Of Call Center Operators Working On Computers In Office

High Angle View Of Call Center Operators Working On Computers In Office - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A big theme that I've seen in what you've told me is confusion about claims managers – not to mention a few problems with them too.

Regular readers will know that I'm no fan of these businesses that take your hard-earned cash while pretending they'll make your complaint easier.

They don't. And the really bad ones rip-you off even more with outrageous fees for shoddy service.

I honestly can't warn people enough about these claims vultures – so spread the word!

Using a claims manager does not improve your chances of winning your complaint. In fact, their 'cut and paste' approach to making the complaint can actually make things worse.

The scale of the industry is staggering too. In the last two years, claims managers made an extraordinary £1.5bn!

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So now the countdown to the final date for making a PPI complaint is ticking, I'm worried.

There are now estimated to be up to 64 million PPI policies out there. Twelve million people have complained – out of around 30 million. So claims companies are going to make one last almighty push to get their hands on your cash.

Remember, it's quick and easy to make a complaint for free using Resolver.

We can even contact the business and ask them to locate your documents if you're not sure if they sold you PPI.

And we can help you make a new claim for excessive commission if you've been turned down previously.

Sadly, many of the people I've spoken to have found the hard way about the terrible level of service some claims managers provide.

One depressingly common complaint is where people sign up with claims managers who do absolutely nothing with their case.

In desperation, the people affected eventually make the complaint themselves and in many cases win… only for the claims manager to pursue them afterwards for their 'cut' of the compensation. This is despite clearly failing to do anything to help win the case!

I've seen debt managers and threats of legal action in these cases – all of which are totally unacceptable.

A wider problem is the 'cut and paste' approach that claims managers take to the complaints themselves.

Most will get you to fill in a complaint form which is exactly the same as that of the ombudsman.

So basically, you're doing all the work, while they're getting money for nothing. This generic approach to complaints damages your chances.

The fact of the matter is standard responses aren't what win complaints – it's telling the business your own story in your own words that does. You don't need to be an expert – just tell them what you know.

It's important to remember that you still have rights in these cases. Claims managers are regulated by the Claims Manager Regulator, part of the Ministry of Justice.

You should report any poor service or behaviour to the regulator. Last year they withdrew licences of 69 claims managers, issued fines of £1.1m and issued nearly 200 warnings. So they have some pretty formidable powers… if they know what's happened.

You can also make a complaint for free to the Legal Ombudsman.

Not many people realise they can do this – so I'd strongly recommend you do if you get treated badly. The ombudsman is a free service too.

Of course, the best thing to do is not to sign up in the first place. So spread the word!

If you're not sure how to get started with a PPI problem, it's all at www.resolver.co.uk/rights-guide/ppi-reclaim