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.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...
Day In a Page
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 deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
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
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads