Grant Thornton (GT) are sending letters to some people who have completed their IVAs asking them to authorise new PPI claims. Some of those receiving the letters completed their IVAs and received their completion certificate several years ago. Some are sure that any PPI claims have already been completed. If you have received one of these letters, you may wondering why you have been sent it and if you have to sign it.
*** UPDATE June 2015: new article about PPI claims after an IVA has finished which looks at the importance of the recent Green v Wright case ***
This post is about IVAs that have been completed: if you are still in an IVA then you are obliged to help your IVA firm make any PPI claims.
My standard IVA warning: IVAs are individual arrangements. I don’t know the terms of your IVA and I don’t know if you later agreed to any modifications or an assignment relating to PPI. I haven’t seen the letter you received – two people have sent me identical ones, but yours may not be the same. Because of these factors, the points in the article may not be relevant for you. See below for where to get advice about your specific situation.
What is GT asking you to do?
GT is asking you to co-operate with Slater Hayward Law (SHL) who they have appointed to manage PPI claims. This involves you signing a Letter of Authority addressed to each lender.
The Letter of Authority is headed “in respect of [your name] In an Individual Voluntary Arrangement”. It doesn’t mention that your IVA has concluded. It states that any payments should be made to Grant Thornton and not to the debtor and that by signing you agree with the action of the Insolvency Practitioner.
Why are these letters being sent now?
The Frequently Asked Questions enclosed with the letter refer to the fact that PPI claim rejections are being overturned by the Financial Ombudsman in 65% of cases. Certainly banks now appear to be approving a larger percentage of claims, so even if you think any PPI has already been reclaimed, it may be that a new claim could be successful. GT will be able to keep a percentage of any PPI reclaim money they collect.
I have seen it suggested that the timing of these letters has been prompted by a recent court judgment (Green v Wright) concerning PPI claims after the completion of an IVA. The judge found “in favour of the debtor and ordering that the proceeds of the PPI claim be paid to him. Crucial to the decision was documentation confirming the release of the supervisor from his role and cancelling the debtor’s liability to the IVA creditors.” *** UPDATE The Green v Wright appeal will now be heard in Nov 2016. ***
What will happen if you don’t sign?
The letter from GT that I have seen says at the top “As your supervisor, our main purpose is helping you to complete your IVA. Doing so has required your co-operation to investigate [any PPI] – so first may we thank you for that co-operation.” The tenses here are rather odd, but it seems to refer to the period before your IVA completion.
Later the letter says “we should be obliged if you will co-operate with SHL”. It doesn’t say that you are legally required to do this, nor does it say what will happen if you don’t sign the letter.
It may be that either your IVA itself or a variation or assignment that you have later signed does oblige you to co-operate with GT reclaiming PPI after your IVA has completed. But GT aren’t saying this is the case. It may be that nothing at all will happen if you ignore this letter. You could reasonably decide not to sign until GT provides you with a clear written explanation of why you should.
You may prefer to wait until the Green v Wright further appeal has been heard, as this may be relevant to your decision to sign.
If you feel worried about whether you have to sign this, you could go to your local Citizens Advice. Be very clear about the questions you want answered:
– do I legally have to sign this? What will happen if I don’t?
This would be free – take all your IVA documentation and subsequent correspondence with you. Alternatively you could consult a solicitor who deals with personal insolvency matters.
If you receive further letters from GT which suggest that you legally have to sign this documentation, at that point I suggest that you should definitely take some advice.