Ombudsman opens door to claims management complaints

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The Legal Ombudsman has begun accepting complaints about claims management companies (CMCs).

It now has powers to order compensation, make firms reimburse costs or to provide other forms of suitable redress where it finds there has been poor service. The Ombudsman has said that it also wants to help the industry to improve its reputation by monitoring recurring problems and working with firms and the the Claims Management Regulator to address underlying causes.

The Legal Ombudsman’s head of CMCs, Simon Tunnicliffe (pictured), said that he and his colleagues were looking forward to working together with the industry and regulator to help improve standards.

“We have put information on our website to help claims management firms understand our new role, and improve their complaint handling procedures,” he said.

Justice minister, Lord Faulks, said: “People should not have their time wasted by the poor services of some claims firms. The new complaints service will make use of the Legal Ombudsman’s expertise and provide a new avenue for redress for those who have received poor service. Our work to drive out poor standards and practices has made a clear impact, with benefit to consumers.”

The change will enable the Claims Management Regulator to focus its resources on working with the industry to improve standards and take wider action against CMCs that consistently break the rules.

Head of the regulator, Kevin Rousell, said: “This is a win for consumers and provides another tool to help stamp out malpractice in the industry. We will work in partnership with the Legal Ombudsman to root out those CMCs that take advantage of consumers.”

Around 9,000 complaints were made to the regulator about CMCs last year.

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk