The Legal Ombudsman is to publish data of complaints made against claims management firms and name individual firms who are found to be repeat offenders.
This morning, the Ministry of Justice announced it will give responsibility for complaints against CMCs to the ombudsman from next year, giving consumers an easier path to claiming compensation if they feel they have been treated unfairly.
The legal ombudsman is funded by a levy on the relevant industry and a £400 case fee, with firms getting two “free” cases a year. A spokesman says it will consult with the claims industry about the size of the proposed levy over the coming months.
The ombudsman could award compensation of up to £30,000 or take action to ensure a case was properly resolved. Officials are considering increasing the limit to £50,000.
A Legal Ombudsman spokesman says: “We are going to be publishing ombudsman decisions from the autumn. Data regarding claim management firms will be published when they come under our remit next year. The data will be published quarterly and will contain a breakdown of where poor service was found and what the remedy was.
“Where appropriate, we will also be publishing details of individual firms if there is a pattern found and if we feel it is in the public interest to do so.”
The announcement comes as the Building Societies Association called on the Legal Ombudsman to publish detailed complaints data about claims management firms.
BSA head of legal services Chris Lawrenson says: “The vast majority of complaints are made against just 15-20 firms out of the 1,000 plus authorised in the financial services category. The BSA would like to know from the MoJ whether any of these few firms were amongst the 260 CMCs shut down in the last year. If not, why not?”