Consumers making last-minute claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) have reported technical problems and jammed phone lines as banks struggle to cope with an 11th-hour surge in complaints.
The final deadline for making a claim is 11.59pm on Thursday 29 August and it appears that a large number of people have decided to submit a late complaint or try their luck.
Santander apologised for “a brief technical issue earlier this morning [29 August]”, which meant customers were unable to access its online PPI claim form. The bank said: “This has now been resolved and we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused to customers.”
It is understood Santander has blamed exceptionally high traffic to its claim page for the glitch.
A number of people had taken to Twitter to report problems with Santander’s website and form.
Meanwhile, customers of several banks have reported very long waiting times to get through on the phone.
On Twitter, one customer asked Royal Bank of Scotland: “why can’t I get through to your PPI line????????? Says busy kept trying! Ongoing claim….not good enough!”
The bank replied: “This is due to the high call volumes. Please try again later …”
Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert.com website, had warned that some websites could crash and said consumers unable to make a claim because of technical problems must be given time to do so.
He said: “As predicted, there is unprecedented last-minute demand for reclaiming PPI … And that huge demand is causing even major bank systems to creak and struggle.
“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.
“Take a timed screenshot if possible of any page that isn’t working and, if not, at least take notes of what you did and when you tried because almost certainly the regulator will have to ensure that people who miss the deadline because of bad bank tech will still be able to get their claim in and we will be pushing for it to do so.”
PPI is Britain’s costliest consumer scandal, with £36bn paid out by UK banks to compensate people who bought often-worthless insurance cover, thinking it would help them repay debts in the event of sickness or unemployment. The average payout has been about £2,000. Of the total, £340m was paid out in June alone.