PPI, Act Now

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With a little less than 2 years left in which to claim back mis-sold PPI act now!

When I took out my first bank loan I was told that I couldn’t have it unless I took out the payment protection policy and not understanding what my legal options were, I agreed to take it out!

This practise was not unusual so why did banks and building societies press their customers to take out these unwanted policies? It would appear that the member of staff was given a bonus for each policy that was taken out so there was a real incentive for them to insist that customer agreed to take them!

The banks and building societies were not alone in this practise as many high street electrical suppliers were also similarly ‘encouraged’ to take out unnecessary extended warranties!

However the banks have accepted that they were wrong to pursue these practises and have been repaying their customers for the mis-sold policies.

Do you remember taking out payment protection that you didn’t need or hadn’t been fully explained to you? If so contact Compi Claims today on 01942 619911 or by email at info@compiclaims.com and we can advise you what your options are.

Remember by not acting now you are still letting the banks win!


Ryanair cancels flights after ‘messing up’ pilot holidays

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Ryanair cancelled 82 flights on Sunday after admitting it had “messed up” the planning of its pilots’ holidays.

The budget airline said on Saturday that it would cancel 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks.

Marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said affected customers with bookings up to 20 September had been informed.

“We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that,” he said.

Most of the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff leave which has seen large numbers of the airline’s staff book holidays towards the end of the year.

The airline is changing its holiday year, which currently runs from April to March, to run from January to December instead.

Rynanair said the shift meant it had to allocate annual leave to pilots in September and October.

Passenger complaints

The cancellations could affect up to 285,000 passengers, who will be offered alternative flights or refunds.

Mr Jacobs said affected customers would have been sent an email.

“We advise customers to check the email address used to make their booking,” he added.

A page on the Ryanair website details flights cancelled up until 20 September. It says 56 flights are cancelled on Monday, 55 on Tuesday, and 53 on Wednesday.

Ryanair has said that less than 2% of its flights would be cancelled and the move would help it hit its annual punctuality target of 90%.

But passengers have complained about the resulting uncertainty. Gary Cummings was due to fly from Leeds to Bratislava on Friday morning.

On Thursday night he received a text message from Ryanair, saying his flight had been cancelled.

The only alternative flight he was offered was on Monday – when he was originally due to be returning to Leeds.

“We were left in limbo really,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

UK Aviation Minister Lord Callanan said he expected “all airlines to fulfil their obligations to their customers”.

“In the event of any disruption or cancellation airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements.”

Customers do have rights under the European Passenger Rights legislation.

“The rules say if the airline doesn’t have a suitable alternative flight, you have to be booked on a rival airline,” said Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent.

He said passengers should also be able to claim compensation for the cancellations.

“It’s a really odd thing in terms of customer care, to say we want to improve the operation by keeping more planes on the ground,” he told the BBC.


Equifax had ‘admin’ as login and password in Argentina

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The credit report provider Equifax has been accused of a fresh data security breach, this time affecting its Argentine operations.

Cyber-crime blogger Brian Krebs said that an online employee tool used in the country could be accessed by typing “admin” as both a login and password.

He added that this gave access to records that included thousands of customers’ national identity numbers.

Last week, the firm revealed a separate attack affecting millions in the US.

After being notified of the latest breach, Equifax temporarily shut the affected website.

“We learned of a potential vulnerability in an internal portal in Argentina which was not in any way connected to the cyber-security event that occurred in the United States last week,” an Equifax spokeswoman told the BBC.

“We immediately acted to remediate the situation, which affected a limited amount of information strictly related to Equifax employees.

“We have no evidence at this time that any consumers or customers have been negatively affected, and we will continue to test and improve all security measures in the region.”

The discovery came less than a week after Equifax revealed that a separate breach meant about 143 million US consumers and an undisclosed number of British and Canadian residents might have had personal details exposed.

The firm took six weeks to make the discovery public after first learning of a problem.

On Tuesday, 36 US senators called for a federal investigation into how three company executives came to sell nearly $2m (£1.5m) worth of shares in the company in the interim.

Equifax is also facing dozens of legal claims over the matter. Mr Krebs wrote that the Argentine matter involved Equifax’s local business Veraz.

Specifically, a web application – referred to as Ayuda, the Spanish for “help” – appears to have been weakly guarded.

“[It] was wide open, protected by perhaps the most easy-to-guess password combination ever: admin/admin,” wrote Mr Krebs.

The discovery was made by the US cyber-security firm Hold Security, which Mr Krebs advises.

Its researchers explored the portal and within found a list of more 100 Argentina-based employees, the blogger disclosed.

Using this list they were able to uncover the workers’ company usernames and passwords, which turned out to be matching words in each instance.

Each example amounted to either solely the worker’s last name or a combination of their surname and their first initial, which made them fairly easy to guess anyway, Mr Krebs added.

‘Extraordinary’

“But wait, it gets worse,” he blogged.

“From the main page of the Equifax.com.ar employee portal was a listing of some 715 pages worth of complaints and disputes filed by Argentinians who had at one point over the past decade contacted Equifax via fax, phone or email to dispute issues with their credit reports.

“The site also lists each person’s DNI [documento nacional de identidad]- the Argentinian equivalent of the social security number – again, in plain text.”

All told, there were more than 14,000 such records, Mr Krebs said, concluding that the firm had been “sloppy”.

Unlike social security numbers in the US, DNIs are publically available in Argentina.

But one UK-based cyber-security expert agreed the case raised questions about how Equifax protects the data it holds.

“This kind of security vulnerability is extraordinary as even the most basic of checks should reveal this,” Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey told the BBC.

“It’s outrageous that any organisation that holds such sensitive personal data can build a portal with this kind of basic security vulnerability.

“It simply shouldn’t happen and responding that they have now fixed the issue is not the point: it puts a huge question mark over whether Equifax have been applying the appropriate resources to online security elsewhere.”


Car insurance market dysfunctional, says Aviva

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The car insurance market is “dysfunctional” and does not reward loyal customers, said the chief executive of Aviva, Mark Wilson.

He said firms were tempting in new customers with prices that were “too low”, which put prices up for existing customers.

Car insurance premiums have gone up by 11% in the last year, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The typical bill for an annual policy is now £484, it said.

“I think that the UK car insurance market is dysfunctional, I don’t think it works properly,” Mr Wilson told the BBC’s Today Programme.

“The entry level is too low and then it gets put up for all existing customers,” he said.

Aviva has developed a “suite” of products to be launched before the end of the year, which will help reward loyal customers.

“Let’s see how it goes,” Mr Wilson said.

Car insurance is just 2% of Aviva’s total business.

Pay

Shares in Aviva rose by about 0.5%, after the company reported operating profits up by 8% in the first half of 2017.

Sales of annuities, bulk annuities and equity release products all rose, with growth particularly strong in the UK.

The dividend was up by 13%.

However, Mr Wilson refused to say whether he thought he was paid too much.

“I think I’ll let the shareholders answer that one,” he told the BBC.

He said the company was happy to publish the ratio of its highest paid employee to its lowest, as soon as the government had determined how such a ratio should be expressed.

Aviva already pays its employees the National Living Wage and requires all its contractors to do likewise.


Lloyds sets aside another £700m for PPI insurance claims

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Lloyds Banking Group has set aside another £1bn to cover the cost of insurance mis-selling and the treatment of mortgage customers.

Another £700m will cover payment protection insurance (PPI) claims and £283m will be used to repay about 590,000 mortgage holders.

The bank had already put away an extra £350m this year to cover PPI costs.

It came as Lloyds posted half-year pre-tax profits of £2.5bn, 4% higher than last year.

The results are the first since the government sold its stake in the bank.

The repayment to mortgage customers comes after they were charged from 2009 to 2016 for going into arrears.

The Financial Conduct Authority had been investigating the issue, concluding that the charges should not have been applied as the bank did not always do enough to understand customers’ circumstances and check that their arrears payment plans were affordable and sustainable.

The FCA says Lloyds will refund all fees charged for arrears management and broken payment arrangements, and it will also pay any litigation fees that were applied unfairly to customers who were involved in related legal action.

On top of that, it will also offer payments for potential distress and inconvenience.

The bank will itself approach customers to prompt them to make a claim.

Fraud probe

Lloyds became the UK’s biggest force in personal banking as a result of its absorption of HBOS – the former Halifax and Bank of Scotland – at the height of the financial crisis and was bailed out by the government at a cost of about £20bn.

Lloyds is also having to compensate some of its small business customers, who suffered as a result of widespread fraud at its former HBOS branch in Reading.

Victims saw their businesses taken over by so-called specialists recommended by the branch between the years 2003-07.

These “specialists” destroyed a number of the businesses, squandering the money they made on prostitutes and luxury holidays.

Lloyds is in the process of paying compensation to the victims of the fraud, for which it set aside £100m in the first quarter.

It is also currently undertaking a review of what happened.

Crisis legacy

It is the PPI mis-selling scandal, though, that dwarfs all others.

Lloyds has now increased provisions for claims some 17 times. Its chief financial officer, George Culmer, said it was “disappointing” to be having to do it again.

He also offered no guarantee that there would be no further increases in provisions, although he did say the number “looked appropriate in terms of covering us between now and August 2019”.

Lloyds alone has now set aside £18bn. In total, UK lenders have been forced to set aside more than £30bn to cover PPI compensation costs.

PPI became controversial after it was revealed that many customers had been sold it without understanding that the cost was being added to their loan repayments.

The bank’s chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osario, said of the various pots of money set aside for customer redress: “We have a commitment as a management team of putting these legacy charges behind us as soon as possible.”

He admitted, though, that there would “always be redress costs” when running a banking business.

‘Strength’

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown, said that despite the size of the provisions for the various types of misconduct, Lloyds’ performance was satisfactory.

“It’s a sign of Lloyds’ strength that it can shrug off £1.6bn of misconduct charges to post a strong rise in profits,” he said.

“Overall, this is a strong set of numbers from Lloyds, blighted, but not overshadowed, by misconduct costs. The government has exited the bank and is now no longer selling stock in the market, which removes a significant downward pressure on the share price.”

The government had been steadily offloading its Lloyds stake, resulting in about £21bn being returned to the taxpayer.

The government still owns 73% of Royal Bank of Scotland, which was rescu


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