Simon Read: Stop clutching at straws and do the decent thing

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The Independent Online

Can we finally put an end to this nonsense and repay people the money they spent on rip-off payment protection insurance? An estimated three million people have a claim against the banks and I suspect there are many more. The case against the banks is rock solid. They flogged PPI to people who didn't need it, or who didn't realise they could turn it down. Even those for whom the cover may have been a good idea would have been better off with a cheaper policy from the open market.

But the banks have fought against doing the decent thing and repaying people all along. Typical of their delaying attitude is the fact that almost nine out of 10 PPI cases taken to the Financial Ombudsman are awarded against the banks, but they still make their customers go through laborious bureaucratic red-tape rather than playing fair.

The banks have 21 days to appeal against yesterday's judgment and there seems little chance that they won't grab the opportunity to throw further obstacles in the way of justice. So I expect an announcement by 11 May that the banks will appeal. The net result of that will mean even more delays, which is simply not fair on those who have already won judgment against the bank, or even on those who have a case for being mis-sold PPI.

It's now six years since Citizens Advice raised its supercomplaint about the PPI scandal and it's time banks stopped clutching at legal straws. Trying to avoid giving proper redress to customers you've treated badly is the sort of behaviour you'd expect from scoundrels.

At a time when banks should be doing all they can to repair their public perception, they appear to be ensuring that they remain the nation's biggest villains. I hope common sense prevails and they concede this one, but judging by their previous actions, their short-termism and self-interest will triumph.

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