PPI and store cards – what you need to know.

storecard

Was there PPI on store cards?

We get a lot of questions about store cards as people aren’t sure whether there was PPI on them. The short answer is, yes, there was.

The longer answer is that PPI on store cards is a big issue for several reasons:-

  • it dates back much further than PPI on other credit (up to 40 years),
  • interest rates on store cards have tended to be quite high – so the interest on the PPI was also high and claims can be large,
  • it’s difficult for consumers to know where to go to complain,
  • the regulations on store cards have been different from other credit,
  • banks have wrongly turned away some consumers.

So if you’ve had store cards and not checked for PPI, it’s probably worth reading on to see if you might have a claim (even if you’ve already checked and been rejected).

What are store cards?

Let’s get the basics out of the way. We’ve all been offered a card when we’ve paid for something.  There’s often an incentive on that day’s purchases. It’s important to distinguish between loyalty cards and store cards. Store cards are a means of payment rather than for collecting points. Simply put, if you could pay for stuff with the card (not with points), it’s a store card.

Store cards are really just credit (or possibly charge) cards with a different name. In the past you could often only use them in one store or stores in a group. Today they are more commonly just a credit card with the store’s name on and can be used anywhere like a normal credit card.

The stores themselves don’t usually provide the cards. They just allow their name to be used and take a cut. The cards are actually provided and operated by consumer credit companies.

Which stores had store cards with PPI?

We can’t list all of them, so if yours is not here it’s probably still worth getting in touch. Some of the most popular store cards…

Debenhams, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Argos, Homebase, Laura Ashley, House of Fraser, BHS, Topshop, Burtons, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Asda, B&Q, Toys R Us, River Island, Halfords, and Mothercare among others.

If you’d like some help checking whether you had PPI with your store cards, we can check this for you. Checking is free and we then charge a fee on a no win, no fee* basis only if we go on to get back your money. Of course, that’s assuming that you were mis-sold the PPI. Our fee of 15% + VAT (18% total) is among the lowest you’ll find. You can compare fees with other well-known companies here.

store PPI
image credit: shattha pilabut @ Pexels

Who is actually behind the store cards?

That’s a very good question. A better one is “Who do I complain to?”

Various credit companies actually provided the cards. For example, GE Capital was one of the biggest. Home Retail Group (who own Argos and previously owned Homebase) also sold a lot of PPI policies. But the PPI may have actually been provided by yet another company. That’s because it’s actually just an insurance policy.

You may not have heard of some of the names of companies involved such as New Day and Genworth as they tend to stay behind the scenes. It can make complaining harder.

Is it likely I had PPI with my store cards?

Let’s look at some facts and you can judge for yourself…

  • PPI sales on store cards go back up to 40 years.
  • In 2005 alone, consumers signed up for 850,000 store cards with PPI.
  • It is very easy to have PPI and not realise.

How would I get PPI without even realising?

  • Store cards were sold by retail shop assistants working on behalf of the lenders.
  • At one point, 300,000 shop assistants were authorised to sell store cards.
  • PPI was often automatic unless checked a box to “opt-out”.
  • Stores sold PPI to consumers were while they were under pressure at a till.
  • Do you think about expensive insurance when you’re just paying for some clothes and getting a discount?
  • Shop assistants were often inadequately trained to sell financial products like PPI.

Frankly, selling an insurance policy in this way is pretty much the definition of mis-selling! It’s hardly surprising then that the figures are staggering. In 2002, there were 17.5M store cards in circulation in the UK. We don’t have figures on how many of these had PPI. Given the facts above, we think it’s probably a lot!

Is it simple to claim?

It’s not as simple as it should be and not as simple as for other credit. Why? Well, before 2005, store cards were not regulated (although the insurance provider may have been). So some consumers have tried to claim and been rejected by a store or a credit company. But those companies have then also said that the consumer can’t appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

In other cases, some companies have also said that they are not responsible for the PPI. But they also don’t tell consumers who is responsible and where to complain (even though they know). It’s pretty shameful behaviour and we think a lot of consumers may have complained and given up.

Stores, credit companies, insurance underwriters

Who you complain to, and if you can escalate to the FOS depends on when and where you got the store card. This is because laws changed and companies sold on their store card and PPI businesses over the years. If you’d like us to deal with your claim, we can advise on which claims have some prospect of success and then take care of any complexity after that.

If you’d like some help making a  claim, please get in touch.  The easiest way is just to fill in the form on the right (or below if you’re reading this on a smartphone or tablet). We have one of the most competitive fees around (which you can check and compare to other companies here).