Payment Protection Insurance has been mis-sold; however, I found the level of advertising by claims companies seeking to recover it to be excessive – until I realised the extent of the scandal.
PPI is an add-on to payment-in-instalment plans to cover some (or all) payments if you are unable for a (valid) reason, to meet them on time. So – assuming lending-at-interest is not immoral – PPI isn’t inherently wrong, and might even be good: for example, having some safety net against defaulting on a mortgage if you are made redundant in the future increases the ability of the average worker to buy a house.
And I had considered the mis-selling was related to risk-levels and informed consent: that PPI was either offered at a cost vastly above what the risk of default would be, or that it was added on without the customer knowing either what it was or that it was there at all.
Which made the constant barrage of advertisements for companies seeking to recover mis-sold PPI seem extreme.
However, over the last month, I’ve discovered the problem is much larger and more pervasive than I thought. Over the last week alone I’ve seen online adverts for PPI recovery firms which displayed pictures of the following:
A Bag of Chips;
A Small Cake;
A Stamped Addressed Envelope;
The idea that a chip shop might have added PPI to my order without telling me, that I might have been charged a premium on fairy cakes for my money disappearing magically between ordering afternoon tea and paying the bill, is mind-boggling.
I didn’t click on the adverts, so – of course – I might be misinterpreting the intent of the images: they might be seeking to attract people who had bought their postage on an instalment plan rather than paying for the entire stamp in one go.
Or, as the most extreme fringe of conspiracy theorists will no doubt allege, that there isn’t an eye-catching image for insurance malfeasance.