It?s February, 2003. I?m 24, just about to start a new job for an Internet Service Provider in Rochdale, and I?m an idiot.
For the past few months I?ve been driving a battered Ford Escort which needs regular top-ups of water to stop it overheating. On the trip to work from Latchford to Birchwood in Warrington it uses about a litre of water. It?s not worth repairing so I figure I should get myself something more reliable.
I?d been a fool with money at this point in my life – I didn?t have a particularly good credit rating and had some outstanding debts on credit cards. It hadn?t helped I?d worked for two years as a journalist for a pittance – and the salary from the Warrington-based ISP I worked for, while a 50% increase, was still far from what you?d call a decent wage.
I decided to compound my foolishness by going in to Yes Car Credit (YCC), the trading name of Direct Auto Finance (DAF), to get a car. A Fiat Brava (but…but… you said you wanted something reliable??). When I was completing the loan agreement I was told I had to take some kind of insurance on my payments. Being the idiot I was – who was somewhat amazed somebody was giving him a loan in the first place given my credit history and the fact I was just about to change job – and was desperate for a car – I didn?t know that I didn?t have to take the insurance (payment protection insurance, or PPI). They had me by the proverbial, or so it felt at the time. I also hadn?t realised quite how much it was adding to the costs of the loan.
In the great debt clearance of 2005 – when I managed to clear most of my debts (or had agreements in place to deal with the rest) I handed the car back to YCC – meaning I didn?t have to pay the remaining two years for the car. Unfortunately I did have to keep paying for the loan that had paid for the PPI. The outstanding amount was £1549.97 (which meant, as it was the half-way point, the same amount had already been paid just for the PPI alone). I checked my contract at this point as it just didn?t seem right (or fair) – but it was what it was. 2003 me was an idiot. 2005 me was getting better, but still had a lot to learn. I probably should have disputed at that point. The lesson of course here was don?t take what a salesman says as gospel.
I didn?t take PPI out when I bought my last car.
A little while ago I became aware that the kind of practices employed by YCC to have me take out the PPI have been ruled to have been against the rules; however what I read at the time seemed to imply that because the agreement was entered in to prior to 2005 it wasn?t governed by the FSA so I couldn?t make a claim. After reading a piece on MoneySavingExpert.com on how to claim PPI I?ve discovered that isn?t the case. I was worried DAF wouldn?t have records as the agreement was over 6 years old – but the cover itself would have ended in 2007 (when the full loan was paid off and agreed until) so they should still have records.
I don?t know what my chances are, but my situation seems similar to others who have successfully claimed for PPI mis-sold to them. Tomorrow I?ll be posting off my request for DAFs records and a copy of the T&Cs from the original agreement. Lets see how it goes…