Claims management companies
This fact sheet covers England & Wales. We also have a version for Scotland if you need it.
Use this fact sheet to:
- help you make a complaint about a claims management company; and
- find out who you can refer your complaint to.
Claims management companies
Many companies say that they can get your debts written off, or get you compensation by claiming that your credit agreements are unenforceable.
Many credit agreements do meet the legal requirements under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and are not easy to challenge as unenforceable.
We are a free, independent, confidential advice agency and we can give you advice about your credit agreements and whether they are likely to be unenforceable. We can tell you if there may be genuine grounds for a challenge.
Please think very carefully before paying money that you may not be able to afford to a claims management company. If you are worried about debts, this is unlikely to be your best option to deal with your creditors. It could make your debt problems worse. We can help you look at all the options you have for dealing with your debts. Before signing up with a claims management company, contact us for advice.
Be careful. There is no guarantee that a claims management company will be successful in challenging your agreements. If the agreement you have made with the claims management company allows it, they may still charge you a fee for their services.
The fee that a claims management company can charge you should be reasonable. In some cases, such as for Payment protection insurance (PPI) claims and non-PPI financial product and service claims, the fee is capped by special rules that are linked to how much redress (compensation) is agreed. For more information, go to www.fca.org.uk and search for ‘Using claims management companies’.
The claims management company should also explain how they will calculate their fees in their pre-contract information.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken over as the regulator of claims management companies. The FCA has listed a number of principles that claims management companies should follow. For example, a firm must:
- act honestly, fairly and professionally;
- not engage in high-pressure selling in relation to regulated claims management activity;
- publish the standard terms and conditions it enters into with customers on its website; and
- have clear and effective procedures to identify and protect vulnerable customers.
If you have a complaint about the behaviour of a claims management company, you will need to complain directly to the company first. Write to the claims management company and:
- set out the reasons for your complaint as clearly as you can;
- tell them what you are unhappy with;
- tell them what you want them to do about it; and
- ask for a copy of their complaints policy.
If you have any evidence that supports your complaint, also send a copy to the claims management company.
The claims management company has up to eight weeks to respond to your complaint.
If you are unhappy with their response, or they do not reply within this timescale, you can refer your complaint to the Claims Management Ombudsman (CMO). See Useful contacts at the end of this fact sheet.
The CMO is part of the Financial Ombudsman Service and looks at complaints between claims management companies and their customers. The CMO does this in a fair and impartial way and also has the power to put things right.
You must complain to the company first. The CMO can only look at your complaint if you have first complained directly to the claims management company and given them eight weeks to reply.
You usually have six months to refer your complaint to the CMO from the date of the claim management company's final response. If you do not complain to the CMO within six months of the final response, the CMO may not be able to look at your complaint. Time limits may also apply if what you are complaining about happened some time ago. For more information, contact us for advice.
Financial Conduct Authority Phone: 0800 111 6768 www.fca.org.uk
Claims Management Ombudsman Phone: 0800 023 4567 cmc.financial-ombudsman.org.uk