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Help me please - I've been conned. PPI claim back.

(35 Posts)
CompleteMug Wed 14-Sep-11 09:49:26

I was telephoned yesterday by Lifestyle Claims - a company that works to claim back PPI's and other charges. It sounded kosher and the caller estimated that I'd get as much as £2000 back. I'm so strapped for cash at the minute and I'm looking at loads of ways of getting some money ready for Christmas, so I agreed to it.

It meant paying £359 or so up front (with a guarantee to get it back should there be no claim to pursue) so I used a credit card mostly, and had to pay about £100 on debit because I'd reached the limit on the credit card. I used DH's card too and even though they didn't have the permission from him, they took payment anyway.

Straight after talking to them, I googled them and loads of stuff came back from Money Savings Expert - not good news at all. I feel sick to the stomach and incredibly, INCREDIBLY stupid.

The claims pack is in the post - they said it would arrive today or tomorrow but without me knowing, even though I've paid this much up front, you have to pay an additional £11 per claim, and I have at least 5.

People who fall for this don't seem to get their £359 back either. My DH doesn;t know sad I thought I was being clever and would be able to surprise him with extra cash when the claims come back.

The company is only 5 miles away from me - I'm tempted to go in in person and ask to terminate the agreement. I have a 14 day cooling off period but still other people havn't had their money back.

I need to sort this ASAP, DH is going to go spare if he finds out. He'll never trust me to pick the phone up again.

Please help me. Feel free to complete tear me up, it's no more than I deserve for being so utterly, utterly gullible.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 14-Sep-11 10:32:43

It wouldn't be appropriate to tear you up. These companies are very plausible... have to be or they wouldn't make any money. If you think you won't get your money back from the cooling-off period get straight onto the credit-card company and get them to cancel the payment. You will need to tell DH in order to do this, seeing as it his card. It will be difficult, but swallowing a bit of humble pie is 10 x better than paying £359 and getting nothing.

If you have genuine PPI claims there are templates on Moneysavingexpert that will tell you how to get the cash back without using an agency or paying a fee. If I were you, I would send those off first. Then, when you tell DH about the mistake you can offset it by saying 'but I've put in the claims and we should get some money back'...

Good luck

CompleteMug Wed 14-Sep-11 11:09:39

Thank you CogitoErgoSometimes. I'm grateful for your advice.

I think they've taken the payment immediately (which is apparently in breach of some code) because when they tried to process payment, my card was declined and I remembered that I only had about £250 left on my limit. So can I still contact (well, can DH after I tell him sad) the CC to cancel payment if it's already gone through? Also, will my debit card cancel payment?

I need to write this company a letter to terminate any agreements - should I hand deliver it or leave it to Royal Mail special delivery to sort? I'm tempted to telephone the helpline they gave out to verbally record a cancellation before putting it in writing.

Stomach is in absolute knots as we speak.

CompleteMug Wed 14-Sep-11 11:10:27

I'm going to look at the MSE templates now. Thank you.

wannaBe Wed 14-Sep-11 11:24:04

if you've paid on a credit card they should be able to cancel the it's unlikely debit card company will do the same though.

Sn0wGoose Wed 14-Sep-11 11:29:43

Deliver it by RM recorded/Next Day - that way you have proof it's been delivered, rather than just your word against theirs that you dropped it by.

If you have any trouble getting a refund, I'd ring trading standards.

Hth

Tanif Wed 14-Sep-11 12:16:24

Just to add if you want to claim back your PPI charges for goodness sake do it yourself, don't hand over a chunk of your money to some unscrupulous set up. You don't NEED legal representation to do it and template letters for how to go about it are all over the internet.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 14-Sep-11 14:11:06

Talk about a coincidence.... Just got a cold-call on my mobile from a company that were calling because 'we believe you have been missold PPI and could make a claim for thousands of pounds!' I've never paid PPI in my life so it was obviously a load of rubbish. I started to politely turn them down when I thought of you OP and told them to bugger off instead smile

Hope you get it resolved. They're a bunch of sharks, aren't they?

CompleteMug Wed 14-Sep-11 14:57:57

Ah thanks Cogito - smile
Going to call them today (before school run shortly) and then telling my DH tonight so that he can cancel the payment going through. Wish me luck...sad

charl2503 Wed 14-Sep-11 15:04:54

CompleteMug - I used to work for one of these companies. I would do the cold calling and take the fee and another department would take the rest from there. I quit when i took a claim on for DPs friend, took 300 pound off him. It turned out he didnt have a claim. he did not get his money back, even though we were told to say that a refund was guaranteed. This resulted in DP losing a very close friendship. I looked through a lot of notes on the companys system and most "claims" ended up this way.
You need to phone the company, they will ask for a notice of your cancellation in writing. Send your notice Recorded/special delivery. Phone every single day until you get every penny back. They will try offering you deals, like giving you half your money back but keep the other half and carrying on with the claims. Stand your ground and insist on having every penny back.
If you think you have taken out ppi on credit cards/loans/mortgage, then i can tell you how to do it yourself. Its so easy.

charl2503 Wed 14-Sep-11 15:07:52

Just googled lifestyle claims. If you live near them you live about 10miles away from me smile
They look v dodgy - their website is a clone of the company I worked for. Phone them straight away! Ask to speak to the call centre manager.

CompleteMug Wed 14-Sep-11 22:41:48

Charlo2503 - thanks SO much for your advice.
Yes, I live literally 5 minutes away towards Swansea valley so the temptation to go in person is very strong.
I telephoned today. The Swansea number was finally answered by their Sales Team who tried to tell me that it was disgruntled ex-employees who were discrediting the company. I insisited that I wanted an immediate termination of the contract and that this telephone call would be followed up in writing, but he told me that I needed to call the 0844 number to get my case dealt with.
Cue me waiting for 20 minutes and no-one coming back to me but I was able to leave a message. When I got home, my MIL took 3 messages from the lady who sold me the contract, trying to contact me. She's now going to phone back tomorrow.

I'm still waiting for DH to come home too - he has had a call out just as he was leaving so won't be back for some time. I'm plucking up the courage to tell him for him to cancel the transaction. sad

I want to word my letter as strongly as possible so that they see me as a potential pain in their arse and refund me quickly. Is this likely?

I'm so annoyed with the lady that's trying to contact me. She WAS pushy and I stated my nervousness since last month (believe it or not....God I sound a right Mug sad) barclays fraud dept spotted fraudulent activity on my account and had to cancel my card. She was SO reassuring. Surely she must know how unscrupulous this lot are? I feel like letting rip but she's just another employee....

I'll ask to speak to the Manager tomorrow?

CompleteMug Wed 14-Sep-11 22:44:42

Charl2503 - thanks for the offer about getting PPI stuff sorted. I may just take you up on that if I get through this week without a) ending up under the patio or b) getting myself arrested for harassing this sodding company.

HonestlyBanking Thu 15-Sep-11 08:29:36

The excellent service provided by Which might be of help. Have a look at www.which.co.uk/money/insurance/guides/claims-management-companies/claims-made-by-cmcs/

Basically you have a right to cancel.

You also might want to think about registering yourself with the Telephone Preference Service to stop sales calls. www.mpsonline.org.uk/.

We successful brought a claim to the Data Protection Registers recently for breeching their rules. Worth doing.

Just 'fess up to the old man - your intentions were honourable!

Good Luck.

charl2503 Thu 15-Sep-11 08:33:02

Ah youre not far from me - I'm in Bridgend.

In all fairness to the girl who took your money, she is just doing her job. I bet she has no idea what goes on once she takes on the claim. I never did until i took on a claim for DPs friend. I felt sick that i had unknowingly ripped off hundreds of people. Literally the second I found out, i walked in the managers office, told them what I thought of their scam, and walked out.

My company policy was that if a customer called for a refund, the salesperson who took on the claim would have to call the customer and try to "save" the refund, so that is why the girl is ringing you.
Another bit of advice - DO NOT sign any thing they send you in the post. We were told to say "fill in the form, sign it, return it to us and we will take your claim from there, if at that point you still want a refund, then no problem". By signing a form, you are actually signing away your 14day cooling off period and then there is no chance of a refund.
Stick to your guns and im sure they will refund you. Do it quick though because I'm pretty sure that my company's policy was only a 7day cooling off period. Ask for an email address for the call centre manager, send a copy of your termination via email aswell.

They are very persuasive, its how we were trained to be. Don't feel like a mug. It happens to so many people. It makes me feel sick when i think that I took money off pensioners and single mothers who will never see their money again.

How did DH take it?

CompleteMug Thu 15-Sep-11 10:33:24

I've 'fessed up, he was ok.
He's called the CC company and the money has already been taken. I'm certain it says in their governing body reg's (Ministry of Justice) that no funds should be taken until the actual process of PPI recovery starts.
I have a 14 day cooling off period but I've just re-read the T&A's that this starts the minute the verbal agreement is made. So this is the 3rd day. I also have to send the whole pack back, without doing so I'm likely to not have a leg to stand on. I will sign NOTHING Charl. I'm also in the process of emailing the complaints dept, putting it all in writing on hard copy, enclosing the pack they sent, and am tempted to hand deliver it since I cannot, cannot get an answer from the 0844 number they gave me. I'm getting so angry.
The lady that sold it to me initially has tried to ring again this morning, but I was on the school run. I'm not going to blast her, but I will be telling her on no uncertain terms that her efforts to get me to change my mind are futile.
Thanks for keeping posting Charl and HonestlyBanking. I don't feel so alone now I must admit.

CompleteMug Thu 15-Sep-11 11:27:57

The lady who sold me this has just telephoned - she was very reassuring and said she was concerned about my anxiety. She said that Lifestyle Claims are huge employers now and that I should be reassured that she herself has persuaded friends and family to follow this process..... and have done so successfully.

SO persuasive, BUT I just want my money back. I said I couldn't get an answer at the number they gave me so she has promised that someone WILL call me back, but not until tomorrow. The clock is ticking and I can't help but feel that they are buying themselves time so that I lose out.

ChristinedePizan Thu 15-Sep-11 12:12:22

If you cancel in writing, then that's cancelled isn't it? Why do you need to speak to them over the phone?

Even the companies that aren't total con artists (like this one) are a total rip-off. Most of them take 25-30% of any money you are able to reclaim as an admin fee and they are very oblique about it

sleepevader Thu 15-Sep-11 12:19:48

You MUST send it recorded delivery. If you hand deliver it you have no proof.

Yes you have been stupid but it would be even stupider to hand deliver anything!

NotFromConcentrate Thu 15-Sep-11 12:20:32

AFAIK these companies are regulated by the Ministry of Justice, who were very helpful when I had a problem with a company who claimed PPI on my behalf, then witheld my money claiming they hadn't received it (when I had documents proving the contrary) but insisted on me pay

NotFromConcentrate Thu 15-Sep-11 12:25:11

Sorry, damn iPhone. They insisted on me paying my fee to them (£300) plus a £300 late payment charge, despite them having my money.

Ring back today and speak to a manager. Be armed with all the advice you've received here re: your rights (sorry I just skimmed as I'm rushing off) and ask to cancel under the terms of your cooling off period. What helped me was: telling them I'd raised a complaint with the MoJ, telling them I'd instructed my solicitor to begin action to reclaim my money which they were withholding (I hadn't) and telling them I'd been in touch with the press, who were aware of the many other cases similar to mine (I hadn't). The money was paid by BACS within two hours.

Good luck. Be insistent and don't allow them to talk their way out of it.

HonestlyBanking Thu 15-Sep-11 12:52:16

Life Style Claims are currently regulated by the Min of Justice. The holding company is called CLIENT CONNECTION LIMITED. There was a court case between the company and Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert in June of this year Details at: www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2011/1627.html

There is good information on the Min of Justice website - read the leaflets carefully on www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/inspection-and-monitoring/claims-management-regulation/index.htm and see if they have breached any of the rules.

Good luck. Take no grief from them. You have the whole of Mumsnet behind you I hope - please keep us posted!

Yours

HB

HonestlyBanking Thu 15-Sep-11 12:55:17

Sorry forgot to add this bit from the MoJ's site:

Authorised businesses that offer to help you make a compensation claim must follow strict conduct rules. For example, they must:

- not engage in face to face ‘cold calling’, or in any form of high pressure selling;

- give you written information on how you can pursue a claim and the costs involved before a contract is agreed;

- allow a ‘cooling off’ period of at least 14 days after you sign a contract in case you change your mind;

- operate a customer complaints scheme.

Any of this sound familiar?

HB

CompleteMug Thu 15-Sep-11 13:51:47

HB Thanks. yes, it sounds familiar now. I've read this 'Rule 11' in the Conduct of Business section of the MoJ and they've definitely breached it. I've stated so in my email to them and am in the process of printing off a hard copy.

I was very tempted (in order to not waste another day relying on Royal Mail) to hand deliver it and ask for a receipt on company headed paper to state they'd received it. Is this a bad idea? Sleepevader thanks for your input - If I asked for a receipt, would this still be a daft idea (genuine question - I feel under pressure to sort this ASAP because of their time clause).

CompleteMug Thu 15-Sep-11 14:23:44

NotfromConcentrate thanks for your advice. I'm glad you were able to get your money back. I've sent a strongly worded letter including that they've breached one of their rules of conduct by taking immediate payment from a col-call, and I've also taken the quote directly from the MoJ. I've also said that I've discussed the matter with the MoJ and that they are awaiting to hear what happens with interest.

I feel such a mug. I hope they refund.

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