Mr & Mrs Higgs are a classic example of a couple who required the assistance, experience and professionalism of a personal loan company who could arrange finance at a very important time in their lives.
Mrs Higgs had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy when she approached Loans.co.uk to arrange finance to consolidate some existing debts. The loan would also provide funds to assist with household bills and expenses as Mr Higgs was the only breadwinner during her illness.
The loan was arranged in early 2006, a very sensitive and emotional time for both Mr & Mrs Higgs. They needed to be sure their needs would be met at such a pivotal time in their lives and trusted Loans.co.uk implicitly to do what was right for them.
Unfortunately, on top of the £35,000 they agreed to take out (with the lender, First National), Loans.co.uk felt Mr & Mrs Higgs needed to borrow a further £9517.50 to fund the cost of a Payment Protection Insurance policy ! This was a huge extra cost to the loan at a time when the monthly payments should have been kept low.
When Mrs Higgs challenged the insurance during the call, the advisor simply told her that adding the insurance was just “the way they did it” and it could not be removed. Mrs Higgs felt she was backed into a corner and had no choice but to take the loan out with the insurance. To argue about the insurance at that time may have affected her chances of securing the finance.
What made things worse was that the poor quality sales advisor at the company organised ‘Joint Cover’ for Mr & Mrs Higgs, even though Mrs Higgs was not working at the time. Furthermore, Mr Higgs already had life and critical illness cover through his work which could have covered the loan should the worst have happened.
Mrs Higgs even told the advisor that she would not be covered under the insurance if she did claim on the policy as a result of her pre-existing illness. In response, the company confirmed that she would be covered in those circumstances.
The final insult came in 2008 when Mr & Mrs Higgs realised that they were paying a huge amount for insurance which they did not require. Mrs Higgs rang to cancel the insurance as a result. Unfortunately, due to the unfair way in which the policy was added to the loan, the actual cost of the loan barely reduced.
Commenting recently, Mr & Mrs Higgs say they are delighted with the outcome of their claim with Goldsmith Williams Solicitors.
“We didn’t expect to get any compensation” Mr & Mrs Higgs said. “We just filled in the forms and realised we had nothing to lose. As it happened, Goldsmith Williams were able to secure a full refund of the insurance plus interest and recovered just under £15,000 in settlement of the claim”.
“The claim was done on a ‘whim’ and we are delighted with the outcome. Although we intend to go on a short break with some of the money, we are going to keep the majority of the compensation safe for the future”
David Burley, manager of the Financial Claims Department at Goldsmith Williams Solicitors commented on the case as another victory for victims of PPI mis-selling. “Once again, we see big loan companies taking advantage of borrowers in difficult circumstances. Rather than completely assess what Mr & Mrs Higgs wanted from their loan account, they followed the usual ‘script’ and lumbered our clients with a product they simply didn’t require” said David. “We hope Mr & Mrs Higgs case gives some flavour of what these companies are capable of and highlight that we can recover thousands of pounds for people who have been ripped off by this insurance”.
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