This advert annoys me - and PPI reclaiming is the slightly-more-modern-day equivalent of chasing ambulances, so it's pretty hideous all round. I watch a channel that has this twerp on every advert break, urging me to do something there is absolutely no point in me doing (taking out PPI - an absolute mug's game). So. Here's some stuff about Gladstone Brookes - and why you shouldn't touch them with a bargepole if you want to reclaim missold PPI.
Chances are that Gladstone Brookes, like all Claims Management Companies who tout for PPI business, will take about a third of what you're owed if you have a case. Here's a hypothetical example:
You bought a dodgy PPI plan and the bank owes you three grand (£3,000). You're entitled to all of that money and can easily reclaim it by sending them a letter. For the privilege of sending that letter on your behalf, Gladstone Brooks will charge you around a thousand quid (actually £900 given Gladstone Brookes' fees of 25% plus VAT).
That's enough for a pretty decent family holiday you're handing to Gladstone Brookes, just for the cost of a stamp and a templated letter. If you want to reclaim, then follow these instructions by Which? and save yourself a packet.
No win, no fee?
Apparently not. From the Gladstone Brookes website:
In some instances, your bank may decide to re-investigate your complaint. If this results in your claim being upheld, you will still be liable for our fees.
Allegations of misselling
Gladstone Brookes is one of six companies that consumer rights group Which? alleges breached regulations on PPI reclamation - telling mystery shoppers that it could get more money for them than if they reclaimed themselves. This, of course, is untrue and completely against the rules. They repeated this claim when the BBC contacted them as part of a similar investigation.
The lesson? Knowledge is power.
The Advertising Standards Authority has already given Gladstone Brookes a slap on the wrist. They said that the banned adverts' claims that the reclaiming process was complex and time-consuming - and that there was a time limit on reclaiming - were 'misleading' and called the reclamation process a 'straightforward process' - it ordered them not to show the advert in its current form again.
Credit cards and loans
The great draw of a PPI reclaim, of course, is that you'll get lots of lovely wonga to splash on cars, cocaine and prostitutes. That's not necessarily the case though - even if you win. And, should a Claims Management Company do it for you, you might actually find yourself out of pocket in the meantime. Here's how:
You are awarded £3,000 compensation, which is deducted from the outstanding balance on your loan or credit card balance - this might not reduce your debt to zero, if the outstanding debt is £5,000 for example. You have to pay the CMC £900. Potentially you have no cash with which to do this, but you must pay them anyway. Conceivably you have to take out another loan to cover the CMC's fees.
What does Gladstone Brookes say?
Here's what Gladstone Brookes says about why you should pay it almost half of money that is rightfully yours, just because they sent your bank a letter for you:
We must also say that the process only seemed easy to you because we made it look easy.
This is not true. The process is extremely simple.
We can assure you that you have saved a lot of time and energy by instructing us to work on your behalf.
That is true, if you think downloading a templated letter, filling it out and posting is hard work. The ASA says that it is 'misleading' to suggest that the process is time-consuming and complex.
We have achieved a victory for you and would expect that you will be happy to pay us for the service you have received.
If you will, you're a mug.
Here's Gladstone Brookes' current advert, which I hate.
Currently you can vote to make it the most hated advert of June - right here:
In the immortal words of Bernard Manning, chuck it back in their face - and tell them to fuck off.