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PPI win allows Sally to travel to China to see her son get married

Thanks to the efforts of Brunel Franklin, I can now attend my own son’s wedding in China and even after paying Brunel Franklin’s fees, I can fund some other projects close to my heart in Kenya.

A charity volunteer from the Isle of Wight used to transforming the lives of others, has had her own life transformed, thanks to the recovery of thousands of pounds* in mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), thanks to consumer champion Brunel Franklin. Sally Sears, 63 from Binstead, feared she would be unable to afford to attend her son’s wedding in China in August, until the good PPI news arrived. Ms Sears has been unemployed for three years and has been living off her savings, but as the money began to run out, she was at her wits end worrying about how she would ever reach her son’s wedding, or how she would be able to continue to support the charitable projects that remain very close to her heart. 

“The PPI refund is absolutely amazing,” said Ms Sears. “I wasn’t expecting it and I am very grateful to Brunel Franklin as it has transformed my life. After three years, my savings were gone, so this money has come just at the right time! My son is getting married to his Chinese girlfriend Carrie in Urumqi, in northern China, in August and without this win, I simply wouldn’t have been able to go.”

Ms Sears explained that Carrie’s father works for the Chinese government, and her brother is in the army, so as neither is permitted to leave the country, there was no option but to hold the wedding there.

“This left me with a big problem, as being unemployed with no money, how could I possibly pay the £600 air fare?” said Ms Sears. “Then I needed a dress, shoes, accommodation, money etc. It looked impossible, but thanks to the efforts of Brunel Franklin, I can now attend my own son’s wedding and even after paying Brunel Franklin’s fees, I can fund some other projects close to my heart.” Brunel Franklin investigated three loans, all with Lloyds bank, dating back 10-15 years when Ms Sears worked as a property lettings manager and as a support worker. In total she was awarded over £6000*. As Ms Sears explained, it all began with a loan she never realised she needed until it was sold to her.

“Years ago, my bank manager called me in and said; you never have a holiday, you spend a lot on your car, why not take out a loan and you can buy a new car and treat yourself to a holiday?” explained Sally. “I did need a car for work, so I agreed and took out a £5,000 loan. That got me a nearly new Ford Ka and left the £1,000 I needed to visit my son who was in Thailand at the time. They then persuaded me I needed a credit card, just for expenses when you are abroad, you know!”

This lead to a snowballing of loans and debts than many people are familiar with and while Sally has paid it all off, she has a familiar cautionary tale to tell of being too trusting of the banks.

“I never wanted any of it really, the loans, credit card or the PPI that went with them but they convince you,” added Ms Sears. “I have never been one for percentages and interest rates or how it worked so I unwittingly just paid the interest for years. It just builds up and at one point I realised it was £16,000. I paid it all off and would never, ever do it again, but you just trust what the bank says, or I did, like I trusted them when they said I needed PPI. They sold it to me like they sold everything else, but at least some good is coming out of it.”

Sally remains active in volunteer work, particularly in Kenya for the Charity Mission Direct. Sally was out there for several months recently doing what she could. She used a £2,000 donation to build a chicken house and filled it with chickens, but the water problems are such that all the chickens died. Sally has not given up. After her son’s wedding in August 2017, she is returning for a further five month stint working on the Street Boys project and to keep a promise to a very special young boy.

Mission Direct are confident they can help with the water, which will allow me to use money that has been donated to me to help further,” added Sally. “The money I have left thanks to Brunel Franklin I am using to buy a cow, requested by a young boy called Enoch. He is severely disabled with no feet, and like his friends lives on rice and beans. It is a hard life anyway, but more so with disabilities. Before I left last time, Enoch said to me ‘don’t forget us’ and it broke my heart. He said they would really like a cow as they are fed up with drinking black tea! So it is something I can now do for Enoch and his friends.”

“Sally is an inspirational figure who has done so much for charity over the years that she fully deserves her bit of good fortune and we are delighted our efforts mean she can make her son’s wedding,” said Brunel Franklin MD, David Phillips. “Going abroad is a common use people find for the money, but I think buying a cow is a first for us! We were so inspired by Mrs Sears that we are increasing our support to similarly needy projects both at home and overseas, whether that is buying livestock to help make people self-sufficient or buying equipment for projects where the organisations rely on unpaid volunteers.      

Sally’s story has a happy ending, but also a warning for those who may not have claimed PPI, or think they do not have it, or are too fearful to go it alone.”

Brunel Franklin always makes clear that people can go it alone when making a claim for a PPI refund, but this can be an unnerving experience for some and as Ms Sears discovered, the banks can make things difficult.

“I wouldn’t have claimed PPI on my own,” explained Sally. “I’m a quiet person and when the claim started, the bank called and made me feel bullied on the phone, telling me all sorts of things; like I had to speak to them, or else. I was very upset and called Brunel Franklin who told me not to worry and they resolved it. I give Brunel Franklin all praise for having the hard determination to see it through for me. The banks are now getting their comeuppance I suppose. I worry about ordinary people at the banks losing their jobs, but at least some good has come out of it.”

(*Before Brunel Franklin’s fees are deducted; see below).

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