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ASA upholds complaints against two claims firms

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints against two claims management companies for making misleading claims about the time it takes to complain and for suggesting that using a claims firm increases the chance of success.

The first complaint relates to statements made by Consumer Finance Claims on its website about payment protection insurance which said: “We are well versed in dealing with lenders and know which pitfalls to look for which make your case stronger!”

The ASA upheld the complaint, saying “the claim was likely to mislead”.

It noted a joint statement from the Claims Management Regulator, the FSA, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which stated decisions on claims are not considered more or less favourably because the claim was brought by a CMC.

The second complaint relates to a television advert from Gladstone Brookes which said: “Reclaiming PPI takes up your time – fact.” A clock with the hands turning quickly then appeared on the screen.

The ASA said the process of complaining to a provider and the FOS is straightforward, with advice available online.

The ASA says: “We considered a claim implying it is a time-consuming and possibly complex process likely to require the services of a third party was likely to mislead.”

Neither claim can appear again in its current form.

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “I am glad these complaints were upheld, but there is nothing to stop these firms creating similar adverts in future.”

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Comments

There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I would have thought a complaint to the MoJ about such matters would have been the first point of call. But the CMC industry seems to be such a many-tentacled monster (a cancer according to Martin Wheatley) that the MoJ, although it’s banned quite a few of them, seems to be having some difficulty with policing its own rules. I still receive a regular assortment of unsolicited e-mails, text messages and phone calls which I’d thought CMC’s are specifically banned from sending out, even though many of them get round this rule by sub-contracting their cold calling to unregulated “marketing” companies. Shouldn’t this be banned too?

    I received an odd call yesterday though. When I picked up the receiver there was a few seconds of silence then what sounded like a recorded female voice said Goodbye and the line went dead. What was that all about?

  2. I think Julian is right, but if we want to win the war against unscrupulous ambulance chasers, we are going to have to join in.

    That is why, when I get a complaint from one to deal with I look at their website and if there are grounds for complaint about it I take it up with the ASA.

    As Alan says, they may create similar ads but every time one is upheld their position is undermined.

    If you get a PPI complaint where there is none you should report it to business@claimsregulation.gov.uk.

    If you get a PPI complaint without the FOS questionnaire, scan it in and send it to the same address.

    I also recently got an unsolicited call from a firm and decided to play mystery shopper. They sent a non-FOS questionnaire to me to sign and return, having ticked boxes saying things that were not true (apart from the Credit Card actually existing).

    It is all now with the MOJ.

  3. It is good that the ASA upheld the complaints against these two firms but unless the fines are considerably large then there is little to stop the firm from committing similar offences in the future. The fact is these claims firms are all making a fortune and making claims that are totally unfounded. There needs to be a coordinated action by both the FSA, MOJ and ASA to crack down on bad practices.

    I’m also staggered that the Information Commissioner has not taken action against firms for a legal cold calling and texting particularly where individuals have elected to opt out of all marketing calls. I understand that the Information Commissioner can fine organisations and also delete databases. Until these types of actions are carried out these companies will carry on with their dubious activities.

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