Tens of thousands of customers who started compensation claims over payment protection insurance, PPI, with Barclays bank were given the wrong information.

Barclays have now apologised, admitting people were told they did not hold PPI policies even though they did.

Barclays said a “very small percentage of customers” who contacted it via claims management firms were affected.

It said it would be “proactively contacting” them to put things right.

PPI was offered to people as insurance against falling behind with loan repayments should they lose their jobs or become ill. In hundreds of 1000s of cases it was missold.

According to a report on the BBC, many customers were not aware that PPI had been added to their loans, credit cards or mortgages and in some cases it was sold to people for whom it was unsuitable, such as self-employed people.

To find out, customers can contact their banks, building societies or card issuers to ask directly if they have ever held PPI.

Solicitors and claims management companies can also ask the question on their behalf and that is where Barclays has identified a problem.

Since 2012, Barclays has provided an online PPI checking tool where these firms can submit requests in bulk for up to 50 customers at a time.

The bank said that in “less than 1.1%” of those cases where requests came via claims management companies, customers were wrongly told that they did not have PPI.

Barclays has put it down to an error which meant that those bulk requests were not always checked against some of the records they hold.

In relation to the problem with its bulk request tool, Barclays said: –

“we identified through our own review that a very small percentage of customers were given the wrong information when they contacted Barclays via a Claims Management Company to find out whether they had ever held a PPI policy on their account”.

“Customers do not need to take any action. We are proactively contacting everyone who has been impacted and we will be registering a new complaint on their behalf to put things right as soon as possible. We would like to apologise to these customers for the level of service they received.”

The Financial Conduct Authority says that a total of £32.2bn has been paid to PPI claimants since 2011. The deadline for anyone to submit a claim is 29 August 2019.