In his recent review of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Lord Hunt recommended a crackdown on claim-chasers, including making them carry warnings about the cost of their service and the free alternatives available.
Ministry of Justice head of claims management regulation Kevin Rousell says its code of conduct, which ensures this information is disclosed before a contract is signed, is enough to protect consumers.
Rousell says: “I do not know about having a requirement to put a warning in the initial advert. The most important thing is to make sure that consumers get the right information at the right time before they commit themselves to a contract with a company.”
Advertising Standards Authority communications and policy manager Lynsay Taffe says Lord Hunt’s recommendation is not workable. She says: “As costs vary from case to case, any figure quoted in an advertisement would instantly be deemed misleading. Information about the cost of a service should be made available before a contract is signed. As far as stating alternative options is concerned, perhaps the FOS should advertise its service.”‘