/ Money

Scam watch: PPI refund scam

A cold-calling scam that involves you buying Ukash vouchers is catching people unawares. Here’s how one Which? member was unfortunately caught out.

Caller to the Which? Money Helpline: I was called by a company claiming to be the OFT, saying that I was owed a PPI refund plus other monies. The caller said that there were cheques ready for dispatch.

I was never asked for bank details, but the caller told me I was entitled to a total of ¬£5,000 ‚Äď including compensation from the government because of the time it had taken to resolve the issue.

I was asked to purchase Ukash ‚Äėvouchers‚Äô to cover the cost of the cheques, so I bought two at ¬£500 each, which the caller said I could keep until the cheques had cleared.

I was asked to give both Ukash code numbers to the caller, which I did, but no cheques have arrived.

What we say on PPI refund scam

The Which? Money Helpline has received a few calls about this scam. Unfortunately, your cheques will never appear, as the Office of Fair Trading has now been closed, and did not award compensation for mis-sold PPI or any other financial matter when it did exist.

Cash transfers made through electronic vouchers are impossible to trace or recover. Ukash payments are processed when you hand over your unique code to a third party, so giving this to a cold-caller is the same as giving away the money.

Be aware that Ukash payments don’t have a credit element to them either, so unfortunately there’s no scope to reclaim the money using protection schemes such as Section 75 or chargeback.

Have you been a victim of this scam or a similar one? Do you have any tips for spotting a scam call offering a PPI refund?

Comments

I’d never heard of Ukash (sheltered life) but looking on their website they openly warn about misuse of vouchers – e.g.:
“Types of Scam
Loan / Lottery / Bank Charge Scams
‚ÄĘ Never give Ukash to anyone calling you and asking for a fee to arrange a loan or release any money to you. They will ask you to give them a fee in the form of a Ukash code by email or over the telephone. This is a fraud and you will lose your money.
Genuine companies will never ask for advance fees to be paid in this way.”

I have never understood people who part with money against the promise of refunds, compensation or winnings- income tax refund, PPI, Spanish lottery winnings. I get occasional emails from Nigerians wanting to release to me vast sums of money – if I help them (to get their hands on mine of course).

How do we protect people from themselves?

mick b i had one yesterday saying that she was from easy claim she had my full home address and telephone number she said that i was owed two thousand nine hundred pounds she asked me to go to my local garage and get two paysafe cards one for one hundred and one for seventy five pounds and a Mr john wilton would call yesterday afternoon and bring me the check and the one hundred and seventy five pound would be paid to the government and no I did not get them I told her that i did not have the money and to drop me the cheque off and when it had cleared i would pay the money she replied well let me see what i can do she never rang me back

It was a cold call, which just about says it all really doesn’t it? There is a very simple rule it seems many people have yet to learn. Don’t respond to, play along with or buy anything initiated by a cold call. The next time you get a good deal will be the first time, in other words you won’t. These people being “caught unawares” are either very trusting (or miss-trusting) very vulnerable or a bit mentally challenged. One last time; “have nothing to do with cold calls”.

We teach children not to speak to strangers, for obvious reasons.

Perhaps we should be teaching children and adults not to have anything to do with companies that make unsolicited phone calls and/or send unsolicited email. If we could get that message across it would help to put an end to scams.

Dawn Grover says:
5 January 2015

I have been thinking about exploring ppi misselling as i am sure I have been missold on a few occasions over the past 20yrs – loans and credit cards
I was approached by a company called direct action but before I gave any details I Googled them and read numerous postings saying not to go anywhere near them
Thats enough to put me off
What is the best safest and legal way to look into this?
If people have genuinely been missold then the finance companies need to do the right thing
D

Neil says:
5 January 2015

Hi Dawn we contacted the banks and credit card companies direct and basically they did it for us and told us there and then if we had PPI.

A Mitten says:
7 January 2015

Regarding PPI, A company called Charterhouse Claims cheated me out of £180 about a year ago they represented me regarding PPI. They sent me a Letter saying that they have heard back from Barclays and that they could no longer represent me, They advisd me that if I wanted to continue trying myself through the Ombudsman to get my money back thats what I should do. However I contacted Barclays myself and was eventually sent £500. Barclays made the mistake of informing Charter House claims that they had sent me £500. After two days Charter house Claims sent me a bill for £180 saying that is what I owed them, I informed them that they did not help me as they had terminated the contract.However they pursued me for the £180 insisting that I had signed an agreement and I have to honour it. They sent me letters everyday called me every day until I got so tired of them I gave them the money. These companies that claim to help you get your PPI back are even worse than the Banks that took the money in the first place. I would advise people to try and claim the money they are owed from banks to do it themselves.

Marci says:
24 October 2016

Marci says:Today 19:52
The same has happened to me, they bombard me with letters, The 1st letter they sent me had the banks logo, so I thought it was from my old bank, but after I sent it back I was getting letters from charter house claims, they phone me almost every day, which I keep blocking, but they have different area codes, wish I never replied as feel harassed.

Alan Purkiss says:
12 January 2015

I responded to an advert for a bargain priced washer dryer, I was told initially it was cash on delivery with the proviso that I could reject it if not up to spec. This evolved into a requirement for ukash vouchers instead of cash. A document purporting to come from the carrier then required the emailing of a scan or photograph of the ukash receipt to be forwarded before the machine would be released for actual delivery! At this point I, or rather my wife, realized something fishy was up so we backed out. The receipt probably contains the codes. The scammer pretended to be a woman who had bought the wrong kit and was very chatty via emails.I fell initially for it. As they say, if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t! My wife feels rather superior.

Joyce Collings says:
20 January 2015

What is a payment break plan

Jeremy Higgins says:
3 February 2015

If you want to check if you’re owed a PPI refund you should check with the Bank etc yourself. I was charged over ¬£4k for being sent a couple of forms to fill in and then the company (probably the biggest) scanned them and emailed them to my bank. I had to chase them every week as the bank was stalling and even had to inform them that the bank had changed and been bought out so they the. Had the correct information. I could have done all this easily myself. I know I signed to pay 25% of the refund + their 5% VAT but that really is a lot of money for 10 pieces of paper, 5 minutes scanning and a few emails. I’m definitely in the wrong job. DIY is best. Don’t Perdue any claims from cold calls either

i was called today saying my ppi claim had gone through and my cheque was ready ( but i don’t remember asking for a ppi check ) he was asia and said that someone would come to my home with the cheque , i asked why don’t you just post it he said paperwork need’s signing one copy each , he gave me a ref: number he didn’t ask for any bank details he new my name and address and ppi claim , i started asking him questions all of which he answered i asked him about the company he worked for and he told me that and the address’s of two offices and phone numbers ( very convincing so far ) he said when i got the cheque to put it into my account and when it was cleared to phone them and the man would come back for payment of 10% of my cheque only to be paid in ukash vouchers ( now very convincing yes ), i asked for his companys web address i would reserch this first which he said was fine .
i went on the web site which is a true site there was a free phone number so i rang it and spoke to a very nice lady , i told her all about it she asked me for my name and post code then told me their company was not nor did not make a claim for me , she told me to speak to the financial ombudsman which i did and they were not convinced so told me to speak to my bank and ask if a claim has been made against them on my behalf which i will do a.s.a.p. will let you now how i get on

[This comment has been edited for posting an outsourced link – Thanks, mods]

Lauren says:
27 April 2015

Hi Paul how did you get on with this?

I have had a similar phone call I wasn’t asked for bank details or payment of any kind. He said the cheque was there waiting to post it just wondering how this is going to pan out!

Jonty Lovett says:
18 February 2015

I was called by a company called Rock Law yesterday, saying that I could claim PPI. They said I could claim on PPI paid to my past goldfish card and mortgage payments.

The company would make the claim on my behalf and I would not have to pay anything whether I was entitled to PPI or not. All I had to do was give my master card number and £495 would be taken from the account. When the claim was settled the £495 would be refunded back to my mastercard.

Any advice, or is this too good to be true?

I have looked on their website.

I also had a call from Rock Law and when I started querying them he got a bit nasty and finally hung up. I have tried finding some information about them but havent found anything useful as yet.

Jonty – What guarantee is there that you would ever see your money again, let alone any compensation? If you think you might have been charged for Payment Protection Insurance without your approval or on an incorrect basis then write to the bank or other institution concerned. They have procedures for resolving claims that do not require the intevention of external agents. Don’t be distracted by the word ‘law’ in any company’s title. I have seen no evidence that this firm is a law firm or employs lawyers. It is however regulated b the Claims Management Regulator which, as a unit of the Ministry of Justice, is a government-authorised body.

Dorothy Paterson says:
27 April 2015

I foolishly paid £495 to Rock Law Рnot even believing I was owed anything Рthat was August 2014. It is now almost May 2015. I have tried to cancel several times and have been sweet-talked out of it. They now tell me that if I cancel I will lose this money to pay for work already done. No way would have I embarked on this if I had known it would take what could be a year to solve Рif there is something to solve. What a cheek to represent people who have been mis-sold when they are doing the same themselves. Where do I go from here? Martin Lewis? The Press?

Dorothy – I’m not sure you would get any personal redress from writing to the papers about this although they would no doubt appreciate learning about your experience to add to their casebook. As I mentioned in the post immediately above yours, this claims agent is regulated by the Claims Management Regulator so it might be worth having a word with them to see if there is any way in which you can at least stop your loss by revoking your engagements with the firm and limiting the fees payable to the value of the work actually carried out, although I would hazard that you would not see much, if any, change out of ¬£495.

Hi Dorothy. I have annoyingly done the same thing and have been really annoyed with myself. I paid them £495 back in August 2014 and have had no communication from them. I have emailed Claims Regulator as mentioned by John (thank you John) and they called me back this morning and have raised a case. I have also spoke to the Legal Ombudsman who have sent me information regarding making a complaint. They have also mentioned about applying for a refund on my Credit Card quoting section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. I will keep you updated with any progress.

Lisa says:
8 June 2015

I’ve had Rocklaw on the phone every day this week. They are very pushy and I said that I understood the ¬£495.00 was refundable but over what time frame? They said 28 weeks and no more. Ive read so many comments on this that im now not going to go ahead with this as the man was so pushy on the phone its just put me off!

M.hatt says:
25 June 2015

Unfortunately I have had the same experience, I would like to know did you get your 495 pounds back and how ?

You willl see my earlier post. It is over 10 months now since I paid them £495. I contacted the Financial Ombudman to say that I was unhappy about the service Rock Law provided and they were really helpful, telephone 0300 555 0333 . I complained to Rock Law about their lack of communication and they have refunded £250. They have said they are investigating 3 claims and will have an answer within 8 weeks. They have confirmed if there is total claim fail, I will get my refund. Let me know how you get on.

Chris WA says:
3 August 2015

Please, Please be careful when choosing an honest company to handle your PPI claim
I was contacted by Rock Law, they assured me that I would be owed a large sum of money and they would pursue the claim on my behalf.
They asked me for £450.00 as a deposit which would be refunded once the claim had been processed and awarded. I asked at the time why I would need to pay the money and was told it was due to their chasing and making the claim, often people would not return their percentage of the award.
After several conversations with a “chancer” sales person acting on behalf of “Rock L:aw” I agreed to commission them to review my claim.
I asked how long the process would take, I was advised that the average pay-out was 24 weeks, however most are paid in 16 weeks.
The thought of a refund appealed to me so I went ahead with their services. 1 year later (50 weeks) and after several contacts to them by me, I have been told several different stories, all of which remain unresolved.
I asked to cancel the arrangement and they advised me there would be penalties!!!!!!
Simple answer is that they are untrustworthy, unscrupulous and always blame colleagues who have conveniently left the company. “oh what a surprise”
Please, Please, Please steer well clear of “Rock Law” keep your money, they are just feeding off unsuspecting people, me included.
You have been warned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sue payton says:
4 August 2015

ROCK LAW. stay well away. I was bombarded by them with calls some times four or five a day. I even stopped answering my phone. I finally gave in what a mistake. They took 495 up front from my credit card this was after a long conversation telling me they would only take a fee of 30% once they had got the money also when they finally sent me the paperwork I would need the signature of other people I know longer have contact with. This was never metioned as I wouldn’t have bothered trying to make a claim had I known . Now they refuse to give it back. At last they agreed to refund the money with no charges again after a long exhausting conversation. Imagine my shock when “Kelly” rang this morning to inform me I won’t be getting a penny back, according to her the conversation never happened. If that is the case then how come she knew I had been told I could have the money back ??. Stay away at all costs.

Marilyn murray says:
10 August 2015

I just want my ¬£495 back,it’s been 5months since rock law called me and said they would fast trackmy claim,when l phone them they alwAys tell me give it another month,they said they can’t give it back as legal costs would take most of the money,so l am still waiting l do need this money back,l was foolish to get involved.

Jane says:
26 August 2015

Rock Law are very bad news, all who are problems with this company please contact the legal ombudsman and the claim management regulator, other wise they will continue to get away with this. I also paid this company £495 after they gained my trust in saying i would receive this back once i was paid a ppi settlement they were very distracting on the phone pointing out they are regulated. company. I have officially complained to the ombudsman and regulator. if everyone who is unhappy with this company does this they will be made aware, this company should not be allowed to trade in this manner..

Cerddaf says:
31 March 2015

There’s a very simple way to get your money back.
Just send me £5000 in used fivers to my bank in South Georgia and I absolutely guarantee immediate prosperity.
Well, prosperity for me at least!

More serious:
Never give any information to a cold caller.
Never never give financial information to a cold caller
Never never never pay any money to a cold caller

Bill says:
22 April 2015

Just received a cold call from an Asian claiming to be Ray Jones, from Claims Advisory Group, 137, Finchley road, London, NW3 6JG.
He claimed that a cheque numbered 603721 for £3,000-00 would be delivered to my door by a Mr.Gary Smith (not very original on their surnames are they?)
All I have to do is buy a UKASH Voucher for £150-00 and give him the voucher number.
He is ringing back tomorrow and my idea is to supply him with a false number, only trouble is I don’t know how many letters/digits the UKASH Vouchers have? Can anybody supply details?

ros says:
30 April 2015

As others, cold called by foreign sounding guy with poor English, telling me I was going to get ppi refund by cheque, delivered to my home.
He knew my name and address, but first I had to get Ukash Voucers and give codes to delivery guy when cheque was delivered to show I had money and wouldn’t cheat them out of their commision ‘what a cheek’ .
When I said I didn’t have cash to buy voucers his attitude changed and advised me to borrow money from friends or relatives as I couldn’t get cheque without voucer codes. All sounded too good to be true and it is. Luckily didn’t fall for it hope no one else will.

PR says:
5 June 2015

Had a phone call from Chargeback Ltd saying a ppi claim of £2000 from 2005 had been approved and they wanted to deliver either the cash or a cheque to my home.I have not made a claim but he said it was linked to a loan I had taken out with Blackhorse which may have been feasible but it is not always possible to remember what loans were taken out ten years ago .
He said they would take 10% commission of the ¬£2000, so I said take the ¬£200 off the amount and send a cheque for ¬£1800.He said he couldn’t do that because of government rules as they were not allowed to be seen to be taking it in this manner but an officer of their company would deliver the cash to my home and he would need a form completing to authorise the ¬£200 payment and I could keep the ¬£1800.It seemed very dubious but he said check their website out and then ring him back.The only website appears to be an American company but he was ringing from a London number.I have not taken it any further because of it’s dubious nature.How can this company be checked out for it’s legitimacy?

[Hi Peter, we’ve had to tweak some of the content in your comment because you’ve posted personal details. When you get a chance, feel free to have a read through our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

ronnie says:
8 June 2015

Hi there. I need some advise!!! I gave my name and address to a company called claim4u. they forwarded me ppi forms which I filled out with names of banks I had loans with and signed my name allowing them to contact banks on my behalf over missold ppis. That was 3 weeks ago and ive heard nothing since . How long does this process take. Should I have heard from them before now? I feel stupid and worried, have I set myself up??

1st PPI says:
4 July 2015

To all the people being harassed by PPI companies, do not fall for it. No matter who they are its a scam. PPI claims can be made by yourselves without the need to pay anyone money. Just write to the financial institution you had PPI from and claim it back.
If you do not know if you took out PPI, or forgotten with whom, forget it. What you cannot get back, you will not miss. If PPI was not judged as being mis-sold, no would have got a penny. Put it down to experience about keeping details of all financial agreements you enter into.

I settled my claim by taking the bank who had sold it as part of my loan to court. The bank settled out of court, but I had to wait 10 years before going public.
After 10 years the details were given to CAB who raised a Super Complaint with the OFT.
The rest is history.
It is a pity the government does not stop these claims companies scamming people. Some of them even quote my case on their websites, I am not sure why, as none of them had anything to do with it. These scammers are an unfortunate result of all the work, the OFT, CAB and myself carried out.
With PPI remember DIY, Do It Yourself

PPI refunds has to be my number 1 of nuisance callers.

They are now all recorded messages and supposedly originate from a different number each time, but they all sound the same. They called 3 times in 1 hour the other day.

Some years ago when we were travelling a lot, we took out CCP (Credit Card Protection). I think it was about £20 a year for a company to keep a record of all our credit cards. If one of us lost a wallet or purse, one phone call would take care of cancellations and arrange for us to get money if we needed it when we were abroad.

Luckily, we never needed to use the service but it was our choice to take out this insurance and I certainly don’t think we are entitled to a refund and have not claimed it. But the company did inform us we were entitled to a refund when PPI mis-selling started.

roz says:
27 July 2015

received a call – foreign accent but claimed to be in Manchester. Asked for me by inaccurate name. Knew it was a scam so told them the person had died. Said the late person had overpaid ¬£2100 on a loan by Lloyds TSB and PPI between 2004 and 2009 and I that could have the money. I expressed interest and asked the name of the company and he said it was ‘PPI Reclaim’. Told me not to worry about the details, they would send me a cheque tomorrow. When I said it would have to go through probate they clearly hadn’t a clue what I meant. I tried to get a name and contact number for reporting them, but they rang off.

';;bopyinmjmn says:
6 August 2015

called from 0159465626 which i reported to info commissioner, like all these scam calls need to be reported to the info commissioner via their website, quick and easy to use. use call blockers as well

andrew knowles says:
7 August 2015

I had a message on the phone saying I have a credit card at tsb which I have and I would get a cheque for PPI and would revive a money for 20400 and said I ad to get some ukash vouchers which I did for 123 pound so I did.that was yesterday the 6th of August so today he said the person I spoke to yesterday he ad give the wrong info and that I had to get three ukash vouchers for 196 pound and I will have the Recife the checque in an hour.

roz says:
7 August 2015

Don’t do it Andrew!