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Crackdown on the PPI claims sharks flouting the rules

In some cases, they were found using unfair contracts, taking victims’ money without permission in outright scams and fraud.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show 209 CMCs had their authorisation to trade cancelled between April and November last year.

That is the equivalent of 26 a month. If this rate continues, one in ten of the 3,000 claims management firms in existence will be shut down within a year. Another 539 firms gave up their licence and ceased trading voluntarily.

The vast majority — more than 93 per cent — of complaints received by the Claims Management Regulation Unit were for financial products and services that included PPI companies.

Justice minister Helen Grant says: ‘We will not tolerate claims management companies that rip off consumers and flout the rules — 352 claims management companies shut down, suspended or warned for bad practice shows we mean business.’

Complaints include giving misleading information during telesales calls, not giving customers written terms and conditions and false claims on how much money customers will get and how quickly.

Some companies were found to be breaking the rules on handling clients’ money, demanding upfront fees, taking money without authorisation and failing to refund customers when a contract is cancelled.

Earlier this year, campaigners called for a ban on claims management companies taking upfront fees amid a deluge of complaints. Citizens Advice said innocent victims — many of whom have already lost out when they were mis-sold PPI in the first place — were suffering again.

A poll found two-thirds of companies didn’t say how much they would charge for services, and 80 per cent didn’t give information about consumers’ cancellation rights.

The average upfront fee is £600, but many customers sign up without knowing if they have any chance of success. One customer was hit for £3,300 in fees before they were paid a penny.

Article taken from – This is Money

Posted by Jay Beecher on 04 Jan 2013

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