A CLAIMS industry expert has assisted with the development of an affordable app to help the public claim back thousands of pounds for mis-sold loans and credit card insurance – without paying hefty fees to Claims Management Companies (CMC’s).
It is believed millions of people across the UK could be due compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) and British banks have set aside a £9billion war chest to compensate victims.
But many customers are put off by the complex form filling, while others turn to CMC’s which can siphon off up to a third of any successful payout.
Julie Lee, who handles a range of complex Insolvency PPI claims by day, decided to act because consumers still seemed confused, despite advice from the Financial Ombudsman and consumer champions, advising the public not to pay to reclaim.
Now she has used her years of industry knowledge to assist with the creation of a £3.99 DIY PPI app for iPhone and iPad users, which walks claimants step-by-step through the process of getting their compensation.
She said: “I’ve experienced many calls from people who have straightforward claims and don’t need to use the services of a claims management company, so I thought that an app for the iPhone/ iPad would be a great way for them to do it themselves.
“The average successful loan claim is about £3995 and most of the CMC’s will take between 25-30 per cent plus VAT – so they’d be earning up to £1438 just for filling in some forms.
“To me this seems almost as big a scandal as the original PPI mis-selling and it’s also taking place on an industrial scale. Everyone from consumer magazine Which? to the Financial Ombudsman is advising the public to avoid these CMC’s.
“However, as you might expect, the forms look complex and difficult and that puts a lot of people off, or pushes them into the arms of the CMC’s.
“I’ve spent many years working in this industry so thought developing an iPhone/iPad app for this would put my knowledge and experience to good use. I checked what apps were already available, but there was nothing apart from a very basic ‘calculator’ to help people work out how much they might be due.
“That’s all very well, but what customers really need is no-nonsense help and advice to walk them through the process and help them realise the reasons why they may have been mis-sold.”
With just a single click, the DIY PPI App lets users make a call to the lender to register a complaint. Some complaints will be upheld quickly and the lender will offer a settlement, based on Financial Ombudsman guidelines.
However, in the majority of cases, the lender will send customers a FOS Questionnaire, which has recently been increased from eight to 11 pages – and that’s where many potential claimants either give up or turn to CMC’s.
However, the DIY PPI app takes the user through a simple series of YES or NO questions, to establish if they were probably mis-sold PPI.
The app even suggests some simple ways to word the most appropriate explanation and tells users exactly where to put their responses on the form.
Once the form is completed, the user posts it to the lender and awaits the response. Lenders must make a decision – and explain it – within eight weeks.
Julie added: “If it comes down to paying £3.99 for the app or £1438 in fees, I’m hoping the public will make the right decision. We’ve made it as easy as possible for mis-sold borrowers to get what they are due with the minimum of hassle and without having to pay any middle men.”
A lot of effort and money has been used in developing the app and if it proves popular on the iPhone and iPad, an Android version will be launched and possibly other platforms.
DIY PPI app is now available to download from the Apple app store for £3.99.