A woman who lost her Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaint has had her application for a judicial review of the decision thrown out by the High Court.

Mrs Critchley took out a credit card with Halifax in 2002 – at the same time the bank sold her a PPI policy to protect her repayments if she lost her income.  Mrs Critchley cancelled the card and policy in 2006.

Eleven years later in 2017 she made a complaint through a claims management company, ‘We Fight Any Claim’, that she had been mis-sold the PPI policy.  When the Halifax rejected her claim, she took her complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The Ombudsman also rejected her complaint on causation grounds.  He decided that the policy was suitable for Mrs Critchley and that she would have bought it in any case, even though the bank had not acted fairly or reasonably in its sales process.

Mrs Critchley applied for a judicial review of the Ombudsman’s decision, claiming that the FOS had not followed the FCA’s Dispute Resolution rules.  She also argued that the FOS had failed to consider the restrictions in cover, high cost of the policy and its alleged poor value.

The Court threw out her application.  It agreed with the Ombudsman that the policy was suitable for her needs and that there was evidence that Mrs Critchley would have bought the PPI policy whether it had been sold fairly or not.  The court also decided that the FOS did not need to give much weight to Mrs Critchley’s evidence as she could not remember how she had bought the policy and that her submission was very similar to other claims brought by We Fight Any Claim.

This case shows that the FOS can support providers accused of mis-selling if they can prove that the product was nevertheless suitable and there was a good chance the customer would still have bought the product even if the advice was better. It is also notable that the complainant’s use of a claims management company was a factor in the decision reached,” said James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions.

Comment about the case has been published by CMS Law-Now, Eversheds Sutherland and Freshfields.

Brunel secures competitive professional indemnity insurance cover for financial services professionals.  To find out more visit the Brunel website or call Mark Sommariva on 0203 475 3275.