12Feb

The Claims Management Regulator at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has released details of the enforcement action it took between October and December 2015.

During this period, 273 claims management companies (CMCs) were visited and 82 were formally audited. This resulted in 51 warnings being issued and 33 investigations commencing. Eight companies were stripped of their authorisation for regulatory failings, and four were fined.

The bulletin then breaks down details of the regulator’s actions into three categories: financial claims, nuisance calls and texts and personal injury.

Regarding financial claims, an area that includes mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) and packaged bank accounts, 33 audits were carried out. 11 warnings were issued, three new investigations commenced and three investigations are continuing.

During the quarter, PPI claims company Rock Law Ltd was fined £570,000 and had the terms of its authorisation amended as a result of irregularities in its contracts with clients, and its conduct in pressurising customers to enter into contracts with the company.

In the area of nuisance calls and texts, 30 audits took place, 11 companies were warned and six investigations are ongoing. Breaches of the rules in this area resulted in a number of significant enforcement actions, which included:

• Cancelling the authorisation of Falcon & Pointer Ltd, who made 40 million nuisance calls
• Issuing the MoJ’s highest ever fine (£850,000) to The National Advice Clinic for its six million unsolicited calls
• Fining Complete Claim Solutions £91,845 for making marketing calls to individuals registered with the Telephone Preference Service

Falcon & Pointer’s conduct was described as “the worst excesses of the industry” by Kevin Rousell, head of the Claims Management Regulator. The company also pressured clients into signing contracts, and took payments, without allowing the clients time to understand the contract terms, and was in fact in breach of as many as six sections of the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules.
The bulletin says the MoJ continues to share information with Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office, and that it works closely with these organisations in its efforts to tackle malpractice regarding nuisance calls.

Regarding personal injury, the MoJ audited 45 companies during the three month period and issued 12 warnings. Two investigations are continuing. The regulator also shared information to assist with criminal investigations being carried out by West Midlands Police and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department of the City of London Police. The MoJ also works closely with the Government Agency Intelligence Network and the Insurance Fraud Bureau regarding personal injury claims issues.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.