Have you ever followed up one of those calls or texts from a firm saying they can help you with your claim for PPI compensation or an accident you may have had? Quite a few people have done this and regretted it.
Firms that tout for business in this way are called claims management companies (CMCs) and they have a very poor reputation. Not only are they the cause of the majority of unwanted unsolicited marketing calls and texts, but they are often accused of ‘ambulance chasing’ personal injury claims and encouraging unmerited financial claims.
Annoyed by ambulance chasers
We try and minimise the amount of use you’ll have for a claims handler by equipping you with the tools to make these complaints yourself – from mis-sold payment protection insurance to potentially unnecessary ID theft insurance. But we do understand that some people prefer to use a CMC or find themselves lured into the promise of a ‘no win no fee’ result. Considering a CMC gets a cut of your well-deserved compensation we’re sure you’ll be pleased to hear our good news….
From next year if a CMC lets you down – for example with unclear fees, poor service or unfair contract terms – you will be able to complain to an independent complaints body, the statutory Legal Ombudsman.
Legal Ombudsman long overdue
In fact forcing CMCs to offer independent compensation to their clients was included in the Legal Services Act 2007 and it could have been in force from about 2010, but for a number of reasons the relevant legislation was not implemented. We’ve been lobbying away with others, such as Citizen’s Advice, to ensure the Government takes action on this. It looked like it would be 2015 or 2016 before any progress would be made.
Well, that all changed last month when the Government said they were taking new powers to fine CMCs for their business failures. This meant we were able to push the Government to implement compulsory redress at the same time. With the support of Baroness Hayter, spearheading this issue in the House of Lords, we achieved our win.
We’ll be working to ensure the scheme is in place by the end of 2014. Then those who decide to use CMCs will be able to complain about any poor service. The result should be that standards should rise so that those who choose to use a claims management handler are better protected.