SLIM PPI-CKINGS! Barmy bankers offer mis-selling payout of ...THREE PENCE.
NEVER expected to make a fortune. But I honestly thought I might be offered more - quite a bit more.
In the end, I pocketed ... just 3p.
That's right, THREE PENCE. I had no intention of ever putting in a claim for the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) in the first place.
In fact, I felt I was above the tumult which has now cost the banking industry a staggering PS18 billion - and still rising.
But when PPI was all the rage in the 1990s, I knew that the 'protection' it seemed to offer was no protection at all.
Well, at least not to me. After all, I was in a salaried job with up to 12 months' security if I became sick or was injured, so I had little to fear about paying my household bills.
Bob | Neither was redundancy a likely prospect. So, fast-forward two decades by which time the whole world had gone bonkers, with ambulance-chasing PPI claims firms cluttering up the TV ads, and incessantly on the phone to sign up would-be beneficiaries.
Claimants were all assured they could receive a tidy old sum - PS28,000 was the biggest payout I saw - if they jumped on the bandwagon.
But I stood aloof and, to be frank, slightly envious.
Everything changed when I received a letter from Lloyds Bank in June 2014.
It said I had taken out PPI on a credit card whose number I failed to recognise.
Hardly surprising as, by then, I was a customer of TSB.
The bank switch was none of my choosing as I was dumped when Lloyds LSB split asunder, and I was dumped on TSB.
In the Lloyds letter, I was invited to submit a PPI claim if I thought I had been mis-sold.
I knew I must have been because I had never applied for PPI and, if it had been offered, I would have refused it because I knew it would have afforded me no protection at all.
Initially, Lloyds Bank rejected my claim on the basis that I never had PPI in the first place.
I responded by saying that I had absolutely no evidence I had taken out PPI, but was totally relying on the bank's own assertion that I did.
Cue a long silence. Then, I received a telephone call from a Lloyds PPI investigator who put me through a 45-minute interrogation about my lifestyle and financial circumstances. The inquisitor reluctantly disclosed that I HAD had PPI on specified dates between 2005 and 2007 although he couldn't - or wouldn't - say under what circumstances it had been sold to me, by whom or when. Neither could he explain why PPI had started in 2005 or why it had ended in 2007.
This worried me because I had been a customer of Lloyds Bank, in its many corporate disguises, since I left school.
I applied for - and was granted - credit cards from the first time they became available. So, if I had PPI on cards from 2005-2007, what about all the years before or after? The Lloyds inquisitor could offer no help on this crucial point, simply saying: "I'm only looking into 2005-2007."
I flattered myself that I had acquitted myself quite well in the telephone interrogation and awaited the outcome of my PPI claim with bated breath.
In my mind, I knew the payout - if there was to be a payout at all - was unlikely to fund a Caribbean cruise.
If I'm honest, I had PS100 to PS200 in mind. So I was delighted when I received a letter from Lloyds Bank saying that my mis-selling claim had been upheld.
Then - I took a big breath - the letter read: As a final response I'd like to offer you a payment of PS0.03 to put you back in the position which you would have been if you had not purchased the policy.
Pardon me? I was flabbergasted. I read - and re-read - the adjudication several times. But there it was in black and white: I was 3p better off, surely the lowest PPI payout in Britain.
To make a farcical situation even more comic, I was told that the 3p was taxable and that I owed Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the princely sum of 0.015p.
I won't pay up. I'll barricade my modest home against the bailiffs, if necessary.
It took a few days to get to the bottom of this fiasco.
It turns out that during this particular two-year period I had a Lloyds credit card, there was a zero balance on the account. It transpires that - uniquely in the insurance industry, I think - P P I premiums were only debited from customers' accounts if they went into debit. I was baffled.
This is like saying that householders will only be charged for household insurance AFTER their house has burned down and if they stay firefree, no premium would be payable! If true, all insurance companies would go bust overnight.
I use credit cards routinely, although I always pay off the balance as quickly as possible and usually at the end of the month.
But Lloyds Bank has all my records - and I sadly do not. So I'm sunk.
A few days after the letter arrived, I was sent a cheque for 3p.
I won't be cashing it - I'll frame it as a symbol of pointlessness, a total waste of time and as an epitaph to Britain's barmy banking industry.
To make a farcical situation even more comic, I was told the 3p was taxable and I owed the princely sum of 0.015p
The cheque from Lloyds Bank for three pence
Bob Haywood was offered just three pence in compensation from his bank