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Consumers Continue to be Cheated by the UK Banking Industry

Posted on: February 15th, 2014 | Author:

UK Banking consumers face further obstacles when trying to recover their mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). Crystal Legal Services, which represents consumers in bringing PPI claims against banks has written an open letter of complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to highlight the poor practices uncovered by the Claims Management Company.

Under the Data Protection Act consumers are allowed, under law to obtain copies of personal information held by the bank, (these are better known as a Subject Access Request) for which they are charged a £10 fee.

According to the ICO banks must respond to a Subject Access Request (SAR) promptly and in any event they must respond within 40 calendar days. The information provided on the SAR can often highlight where PPI has been added to loans, credit cards and mortgages, often without the clients knowledge.

The company has found that banks including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds and Halifax are systematically rejecting, returning and ignoring these requests submitted by Crystal Legal Services on behalf of their clients which makes the process of claiming back what is rightfully theirs even more difficult.

Banks have begun to respond to these requests with a “mini response” even when it has been clearly stated that a full SAR has been requested. The information provided in these mini responses are less than adequate and often missing vital information including account numbers, account start dates, loan and PPI amounts. These insufficient responses are unacceptable and impose a post-sale barrier for consumers who wish to make a complaint.

Tony Shields, Managing Director of Crystal Legal Services stated, “Our clients have already been taken advantage of by these banks when they were sold unnecessary and expensive PPI policies. This type of practice is both unlawful and immoral and results in claims taking longer to get resolved.” Shields went on to say, “Banks are also in breach of obligations under the FSA Treating Customers Fairly regime and we intend to highlight this practice and ensure fair treatment for all potential claimants.”

Lloyds has already been fined £4.3 million this year for delaying PPI compensation claims but nothing has been done about the repeated obstructions by the UK banking sector who are failing to respond adequately to a client’s right to access the personal information an organization holds about them.