The introduction of “No Win no fee” conditional fee agreements, was pivotal in the evolution of Claims Management Companies (”CMCs”) in the early 2000s.
What is a Claims Management Company?
CMCs are businesses that offer claims advice and management services to the public and are paid purely on results. These services consist of advice in respect of claims for compensation, restitution repayment or any other remedy for loss or damage. CMCs have grown to handle the bulk of the payment protection insurance (‘PPI’) claims market, with CMCs reported having made up to £5bn from PPI pay-outs alone. The equivalent of £1 for every £5 recovered.
CMCs grew in number to a peak of around 3,300 during 2009/2010. Like many fast growing business areas, there were good well run CMCs and some really bad CMCs and this lead to increasing levels of regulation and oversight.
Things that CMCs sometimes do
1. Purchasing of private data from scammers to allow cold calling of affected clients;
2. Repeated calling of clients to convince clients to make claims;
3. Not telling the client how much the CMC will charge; and
4. Paying for referrals from lead generators without letting the client know.
In 2012, there was quite a damning report by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) entitled ‘no win, no fee, no chance’, which found that 2 out of 3 CMCs didn’t tell clients how much they charge. While 72% didn’t indicate when their fees will be paid, 4 out of every 5 CMCs fail to notify consumers of their cancellation rights, and less than 50% gave a clear assessment of the consumer’s chances of success. The MoJ which regulates many of these companies have ensured through site visits and ongoing monitoring, that regulated CMCs have improved their customer experience and the reputation of the industry.
The claims that CMCs make fall into two legal categories, regulated and non-regulated. Regulated CMCs can do both types of claim and is overseen by a Regulator who ensures that the CMC treats its clients correctly. Non-regulated CMCs can operate without any oversight and limit on what they do and can treat clients badly.
Up until April 2019, the regulation has been quite a light touch with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) being responsible. Under the MoJ the number of CMCs has decreased to around 1,200 but with the FCA taking over regulation in April 2019 this number is likely to fall further as things become more demanding of the CMC’s to comply with the regulator.
Some CMC’s advertise on radio stations or TV, whilst others may try and engage with potential clients by sending emails, text messages or by cold calling. For those that “cold call” the question is always where did they get your details from? you can read more about this in our blog ‘Why do they have your data?’
Skills and claims
Many Claims Management Companies are often operated by individuals with no legal skills, and often employ individuals with similar characteristics, meaning that advice received may be incorrect from time to time, and is not as consistently reliable as that provided via a solicitor.
A CMC’s process
Typically CMC’s will take details of your claim and will then write to make a claim on your behalf but they are restricted in what they can do. If the case needs to go to court for example then they will need to refer your case to a solicitor. This is because CMC’s have limited powers and are unable to pursue a claim through the Court system.
Customers in this instance will have to have re-sign agreements and may have to make a witness statement to the appointed solicitor, which will add more time to complete the claim. From a consumer’s perspective, if a solicitor is subsequently assigned a case that was previously pursued by a CMC then there is always the potential that the CMC may have failed to have submitted the case to the lender in an appropriate manner, which may jeopardise the potential outcome. In this instance, the solicitor may need to address the flaws in the arguments put forward by the CMC, which may or may not be accepted by the lender, and thus, there is more potential that the claim may fail.
Why are Solicitors any different?
A Solicitors has a code of conduct to which they must abide, which is enforced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which requires them to act in their client’s best interests. They must act with integrity, independence and protect clients’ money and assets at all times. Furthermore, a consumer who uses a solicitor can also rely upon the solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance, should a mistake be made and of course the solicitor can do everything a CMC can do and also progress your case through the court’s system.
Using a solicitors practice to progress your claim is like a one stop shop and you will not be passed from company to company to get the compensation that you deserve.
So who are you and what do you do?
We are Lincoln Green Solicitors a regulated and trusted legal institution with a team of legal experts who work tirelessly for our clients.
We are dedicated to the protection of consumers’ rights across the board and help consumers who have been treated poorly reclaim their money and be compensated for their loss.
We hold ourselves to the highest standards so you can be confident our dealings with you will be fair, honest and professional.
How can I contact you?
If you think you have been mis-sold a product, please contact us and talk to a member of our team.
Or, fill out one of our website forms and we will call you back within 2 business days.
The information on our website is intended to provide an overview of the services that we provide and does not constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss your particular circumstances please contact us.
Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority SRA No. 650601
Registered office: Artemis House, 4 Bramley Rd, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK1 1PT