Commentators and Consumers call for PPI deadline extension
Commentators are beginning to suggest that the ‘Arnie’ campaign is failing and the deadline should be extended until the banks have repaid to consumers an agreed total amount (based on comprehensive research into the final bill – likely to be £100bn). This is supported by consumers in a recent independent survey. Nearly half those surveyed (47%) felt the deadline should be extended – only 1 in 5 (18%) disagreed.
The PFCA has been employing the services of Populus to carry out independent research; they have recently completed a survey to assess current consumer opinions. As well as asking new questions, the PFCA also wanted to test if consumer views had changed as a result of the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] Payment Protection Insurance [PPI] deadline awareness campaign.?
Who was interviewed and when?
Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,047 UK adults between 22 January and 23 January 2018. Interviews were conducted across the United Kingdom and the results have been weighted to be representative of all adults. Some comparisons are made with similar research conducted between 4 and 6 March 2016 with 2,016 UK adults and between 29 September and 1 October 2017 with 2,013 UK adults.
What were the findings?
The most worrying response was in relation to a question regarding consumer’s knowledge of the FCA PPI complaint deadline. Despite a total cost estimate of nearly £50m, 50% of those surveyed did not know there was a deadline. In fact, 4 out of 5 adults could not correctly identify the deadline (29 August 2019). Only 21% of adults could correctly identify the date. This figure has increased by only 1% since our October 2017 survey. Needless to say, we wanted to find out how much of the overall deadline marketing budget had been spent to achieve this 1% increase.
Freedom of Information request refused!
Our request under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] was refused on the following grounds, “Your request has now been considered and we can confirm that we hold information that falls within the scope of your request. However, as it is our intention to publish the total costs of the advertising campaign in the future, we are not obliged to provide it to you now because section 22 (Information intended for future publication) of the Act applies for the reasons outlined in Annex A below.” Ironically for the disclosure the FCA stated, “Disclosure of the total costs of the advertising campaign would increase public awareness of this information prior to its publication.”, but stated, “We do not consider it to be in the public interest to release this information in advance of publication, considering it is due to be published in the foreseeable future. So, we will just have to wait for the information.
Support for CMCs at odds with Parliament
Support for Claims Management Companies [CMCs] has grown since October 2017. At that time 65% of those surveyed said that consumers should have access to professional help when submitting a claim – that percentage is now 74%. Only 5% felt that professional help was not needed. These views are clearly at odds with the rhetoric during the debates in Parliament relating to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill [FG&C Bill].
Handling a PPI claim is not easy
Despite the media spin that handling a PPI claim is easy, more than 2 in 5 respondents (44%) were not confident they could personally investigate and reclaim money owed to them as a result of mis-sold PPI.
Creating its own scandal
Clearly, the FCA PPI deadline, the FCA marketing campaign and the fee capping provisions in the FG&C Bill are designed to bring a close to the PPI scandal, but it is beginning to look like the attempts to close off access to redress is creating its own scandal.