When I was 22 I worked for a bank in their sales department. This involved selling loans, credit cards and bank accounts and along with the finance we would lend we’d offer payment protection – you’ll probably know it now as PPI. Just as I was leaving the bank for pastures new, they stopped offering this service due to a global miss-selling scandal.
Being ‘behind the scenes’ in the financial world at the time I knew that miss-selling occurred. PPI was a targeted item to sell and up-sell and you’d get a lot of points for selling it. So people would ‘forget’ to mention it or just add it on and hope the customer wouldn’t notice when they signed. I was always transparent with my customers. We were encouraged to quote for loans including the protection but would always state this when verbalising the numbers to the customer. The trouble with this is the customer isn’t always listening. We were encouraged to ‘objection handle’ if they didn’t want to take PPI but I would always do what the customer finally wanted. And if they changed their mind on the way to the bank, their quote could be altered at the signing stage. It was all in the control of the customer.
Since then, with all of the companies that provide refunds for those who were miss-sold this cover, PPI and those who sold it have become a big evil. This cover is helpful to some, unhelpful to others but will now always be something people didn’t want – even if they did.
Today a company called me. They asked if I had heard of PPI and did I know that I could claim back on any cover I have had on my loans and credit cards? I said I had heard of it. She asked how many loans I had taken. I said zero (the truth). She remained silent, then asked “even no credit cards?” To which I responded “One but I’m happy with the protection on it”. More silence. So I decided to break it by saying “And in actual fact, I used to sell payment protection.” Her response: “OH So you know all about it then?” – as if I was now part of the secret club. I asked where she’d got my details from and she said it was provided by some company at some point. I told her to have a good day. It’s not her fault she’s on the dark side.
I remember a friend saying that her partner had had a call from one of these companies. They had actually quoted him an amount they said they believed he was eligible to claim back. Happy and surprised by this he said brilliant send the cheque my way – knowing that he hadn’t taken any protection in the past, but free money is free money. When the company asked him to provide them with information on his loans, he shot back that they must already have all this information in order to quote his refund and they should just send the money on through. I understand that what continued was some kind of slagging match – but in a really mature way I’m sure.
What annoys me most is that I know there are people out there who I would have sold PPI to and who would have claimed it back saying it was miss-sold even if they wanted it just to get some money back – because it’s just what everyone’s doing now isn’t it? And when someone loses their job unexpectedly and can’t pay their loan payments, it’s the tax payers who essentially end up paying the bill. We’ve created an even bigger nation of scroungers. Well done us.