Martin Lewis – the founder of Money Saving Expert – offered his thoughts on the mis-sold Payment Protection Service (PPI). The Times reported last August that companies have paid out as much as £36billion in one of the biggest scandals the financial sector has ever seen. Mr Lewis and his website have helped customers claim back £10bn. One Times reader, businessman Mike Weaver, claimed back £247,000 – the largest sum reported so far.
PPI was sold alongside credit cards, loans and other finance agreements, ostensibly to ensure payments would still be made if the borrower fell ill or lost their job.
As many as 64million policies have been sold in the UK since the 1970s — except many were sold by banks to people who didn’t want or need them, or who could not use them.
In a 2019 interview with the Times, Mr Lewis said: “There were benefits to the PPI scandal. It made us stop trusting the things these big financial institutions say are true.
“We have a level of scepticism now. These companies lied to us. They told us things that weren’t true in order to make money.
“The average commission was 67 percent. For every pound you paid, 67p simply paid the bank commission for selling it to you.
“Nothing to do with the policy itself. The remaining 33p went to the insurers.”
Not only did Lewis want compensation for those affected by the scandal, but he also wanted to see prosecutions.
He added: “How come £36bn, a Brexit- settlement amount of money, has been defrauded from the British public and yet nobody has been prosecuted for fraud?”
“My gift is more prosaic: I can look at the way companies are operating and see how people are being screwed. It’s not the most sexy gift in the world, but it is a gift.”
Lewis’s compulsion to prevent people being taken advantage of perhaps stems from his time growing up in Delamere Forest, Cheshire, where his father was headmaster of a special-needs school.
“I spent my weekends there and we had school dinners there too.
“I remember one boy who, at the age of 15, finally managed to learn to tie his shoelaces.
“I will never climb a mountain like he had to. That was graft. You learn there is a privilege to being bright and having a brain that functions well. I didn’t take it for granted.”
Published at Sat, 16 May 2020 15:23:00 +0000