Some of Britain’s biggest banks came under fire today after suffering a series of IT failures in the run-up to a long-awaited payment protection insurance (PPI) deadline.
A number of major high-street lenders were rushing to fix website glitches and jammed phone lines this evening following an 11th-hour stampede of consumers making complaints for mis-sold PPI.
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Customers vented their fury on social media as the likes of Santander, RBS, Barclays and The Co-operative Bank all reported temporary issues with their technology.
Several banks blamed an exceptionally high volume of traffic for the difficulties during today’s deadline, which is set to bring down the curtain on a major financial scandal that involved banks and loan providers mis-selling policies to people who did not need them between 1990 and 2010.
“We’ve seen our own traffic to our tool increase by over twentyfold in the last two days since we started the media campaign. And that huge demand is causing even major bank systems to creak and struggle,” said Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com who has been at the forefront of the PPI compensation campaign.
He added: “The obvious first advice is to take time, be prepared and be patient. However, it is simply not fair or right that people who have tried to submit a claim before the deadline and have been disenfranchised by bust bank tech miss out.”
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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which publicised its PPI deadline through an advertising blitz featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, has hinted that providers could extend the deadline if technical difficulties prevented customers from complaining about mis-sold policies.
“We will be expecting firms to follow the principle of treating customers fairly,” the City watchdog said.
It has been estimated by the FCA that roughly £36bn in compensation has been paid out so far, with the typical payout amounting to £2,000.
However, earlier this month think tank New City Agenda predicted that the total PPI bill will likely exceed £50bn.