Questions of Cash: I need to track down any unwanted payment protection insurance over the last decade
Friday 09 November 2012
Q. I have taken out about 10 loan and credit card agreements in the last decade. Whenever I was asked whether I wished to take out a PPI [payment protection insurance] policy, I always declined.
However, I now read that in many cases PPI was simply added on to the agreement without the borrower being asked, or made aware of it. I have now lost track of all the agreements I entered into. Is there a simple way of finding out which loan providers I used? I thought about using a claims management firm, but they typically charge a quarter of anything they recover. SE, by email.
A. There is nothing that the claims management companies will do that you cannot simply do yourself. A good place to start – and where the claims management companies would also probably begin – is to look at the credit reference files held by Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. Between them, these agencies should hold basic details of all your recent loan and credit card agreements. James Jones of Experian explains: "The credit reference files will show any credit agreement in the last six years. It won't include the agreement numbers, but people will be able to obtain those from the lenders."
Most agreements will be shown across all three agencies, though there may be some variations – not every lender uses all three agencies. You won't be the only person using credit reference files for this purpose. Mr Jones says: "We know that we are getting a number of enquiries relating specifically to PPI." Once you know which agreements you had in place, you can write to the lenders to request details on the contracts, including whether they included PPI.
You should also check your own files for the names of any older agreements – you may need a copy of the agreement in order to make a successful claim for a contract which is over six years old (providers are only required to retain their files for six years). If you find that you did pay for PPI without authorising it, we suggest using the Which? pro forma letters for making a claim. Details are available online at www.which.co.uk/campaigns/personal-finance/the-ppi- campaign/claim-back/.
Q. I am a full-time student and so am eligible to purchase an annual student Railcard for £28. But I would like to obtain a three-year student Railcard. I am not allowed to do this because I am a mature student, aged over 25. I am enrolled on a full-time, three-year course at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. The three-year Railcard costs £65, much cheaper than buying three annual Railcards, which currently cost £28 each – £84 over the three years. Also, the three-year Railcard can only be purchased online – and only 16- to 25-year-olds can buy Railcards online! Mature students must purchase Railcards at train stations each and every year while we are studying. Why should our age deny us access to a three-year Railcard? NK, Warwickshire.
A. Atoc – the Association of Train Operating Companies – tells us that there are two reasons for this policy. Younger adults are entitled to Railcards because of their age, not their educational status, and it is concerned that mature students may not complete their courses and so hold Railcards for which they are no longer entitled. A spokeswoman for Atoc explains: "Mature students who are over the age of 25 and in full-time education are eligible for a 16-25 Railcard.
However, mature students need to confirm that they remain in full-time education, which is why they can only buy a Railcard for one year at a time. They can do this by getting the mature student section of the application form endorsed by their college or university and showing a current NUS photocard or college/university photocard with their application. This is different to applicants who are aged 16-25, as they are eligible for the Railcard because of their age rather than their status as a student."
Atoc adds that mature students and those aged nearly 25 are in a comparable position in terms of using Railcards after the age of 25. "Customers can buy a three-year, 16-25 Railcard up to the day before their 24th birthday, meaning that they can continue to use it up to just before their 27th birthday. This is consistent with a customer who is a mature student buying a one-year Railcard the day before their 26th birthday, meaning that they can also use it up to just before their 27th birthday.
In addition, there is no upper age limit on a mature student who meets the qualifying criteria, so someone of any age could get one if they are studying full time." Although mature students must at present buy their Railcards from a staffed station ticket office, or National Rail-licensed travel agent, from the middle of this month they will also be able to buy Railcards online – but still only for one year at a time.
Q. I have just realised that I don't need separate phone lines for broadband and voice. I have asked BT if it can transfer my broadband to my voice landline, so that I pay for only one line rental. In August, an engineer told me he would sort this out and arrange a refund for the prepaid rental on the redundant line.
The change took place at the end of August, but in mid-September I checked and found that the redundant line remained live and I was still incurring charges on it. I spoke to BT's customer services, who assured me it would be resolved within 48 hours and that I would be called back to confirm that this had happened – but I heard no more. I spoke to them again later and was told it had been referred to an adviser to sort out, but the situation remains the same. AM, Birmingham.
A. BT has now closed the redundant line and apologises for the delay in resolving this. It is crediting your next bill with £30 as a goodwill gesture.
Q&A: What’s the best way to invest for our baby?
Crowd-to-let: How crowdfunding sites can give investors a slice of the property market for £500
After the election: What will Britain's financial future look like on 8 May?
Simon Read: 'Seven Families campaign offers an escape from financial and emotional distress'
General Election 2015: How you vote next week could affect your finances
- 5 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...
Day In a Page
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park