Provident has at last done the right thing and is paying customers who have cheques from Provident that are too old to be banked.
Good! I expect this may affect several thousand people who have cheques ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds.
If you have one of these cheques, Provident should have sent you an email about it. Here is an example of what a Debt Camel reader’s email said:
If you have one of these old cheques but haven’t been sent an email about it, phone Provident on 0800 121 8034 and explain this. Also make sure Provident has your current email address – if they haven’t, you may not be getting notifications about the Provident Scheme and it is now urgent that you make a claim to the Scheme, see below.
Why is this happening?
This may sound odd – why would large numbers of people not have banked a cheque from Provident?
It goes back to the very poor offers Provident often made to people from 2018-20 who had made affordability complaints. They frequently used to offer to refund just a few loans, often not the largest or the most recent.
For example, in one case with a large number of loans, Provident upheld a loan for £1,000 but decided the next loan for £2,500 was affordable.
That’s not unusual – many lenders have made very odd offers. But Provident gave this unfair practice an extra twist by enclosing a cheque with its offer.
These cheques were being sent to people who were often in need of money and who weren’t sure what a good refund would be. So many people cashed the cheques. That meant they could not take their complaints to the Financial Ombudsman (FOS) as they had accepted the cheque in full settlement of their complaint.
But others kept the cheque and sent their complaint to FOS.
When the Scheme was announced, they tried to cash the cheques but for some, the cheque they had kept was too old to be bankable. Until now Provident has refused to send out a new cheque.
Can you do this if you have made a claim in the Scheme?
Yes. If someone has made a claim in the Scheme they should still ask for their uncashed cheque amount to be refunded now.
This is an invented example that shows what could happen:
- Mrs A has an uncashed cheque for £1,200 which was a refund on just 5 of her 22 Provident loans and she makes a claim to the Scheme.
- She can now ask for that £1,200 to be paid into her bank account.
- In the Scheme they will assess all her 22 loans. Suppose they decide that 15 should be refunded with a total value of £6,000.
- If she has already been paid the £1,200, they will take that off the £6,000 leaving a refund of £4,800. She may then be paid 10% of that – £480.
What if you haven’t yet made a claim to the Scheme?
In the example above, Mrs A should ask for the cheque money to be paid to her now AND she should make a claim to the Scheme. She was given a very poor offer originally and can get hundreds more by also making a claim.
See 4 million must claim a refund before end Feb 2022 which looks at how to make a claim.
This is now urgent – claims have to be in by the end of February.
If you are having problems submitting a claim, leave a comment below this article.