Claims management companies Claims management company checklist 

What is Which?’s view on claims handling companies?

If you have a complaint against a financial services company then there is no need to spend money employing a claims handler. There are already simple processes in place for resolving complaints consumers can use themselves without the help of a claims company and the often high upfront fees they charge.

Is there anything consumers should be particularly aware of if they do opt to use a claims handling company?

Consumers should make sure the claims handling company is registered with the Ministry of Justice which they can check at www.claimsregulation.gov.uk/search.aspx.

Consumers should also be aware that while some companies will reimburse your fees if the claim is unsuccessful (no win – no fee), many will not, and should watch out for this in the fee description.    

In short, consumers should be wary of any company that doesn’t qualify its claims and make it clear that the success of any attempt to write off your debt is entirely dependent on your situation.

In particular, consumers should be sceptical of those that point to a 100% or even 70-80% success rates, and should be aware that they are likely to demand upfront fees in excess of £300.

Are there any particular claims handling companies consumers should look out for?

The MOJ has also suspended and cancelled the licences of a number of firms that should be avoided. You can find the full list on the claims regulation website here

A woman tearing up a letter

Is it true that people can get their debt written off due to a legal technicality?

In some cases we understand the courts have ruled that credit agreements are unenforceable because of problems with the terms and conditions. However, this isn’t necessarily true for the majority of credit agreements so consumers should not see it as an opportunity to write off their debts.

Which bit of regulation allows this?

These claims are being made under specific provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

This is good news for thousands of consumers, isn’t it?

Some people will see this as an easy way out of debt but we don’t think consumers should use a technicality to get out of repaying money that they have been lent in good faith. There is an onus on lenders to lend responsibly but borrowers should deal with their debt in a responsible manner, too.

Banks and credit card companies have been ripping us off for years – isn’t this a good chance for a bit of payback?

If people feel they have been mistreated by a financial institution, then they should take their specific grievance to that institution. If they are not satisfied with the firm’s response, they should go to the Financial Ombudsman, which is a free service.

What does Which? advise people to do who are struggling with their debt?

If you are struggling to meet your financial obligations, then the first thing you should do is contact your credit card company or lender. It is in their interest to help you restructure your repayments. If you still find yourself unable to cope, then contact one of the debt advice agencies such as Citizen’s Advice, National Debtline or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

Have you used a claims management company?

If you have used a claims management company to get PPI redress, tell us about your experiences at  news@which.co.uk.

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Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.