RPC partner Jonathan Davies says firms should feel entitled to oppose claims that they feel have no merit.
He says: “Singling out a firm for a wooden spoon would also be unfair as the complaints record of that firm may differ from that of the next, unnamed firm by just a fraction of a percent.”
Davies adds that although the Hunt Review recognises that the Ombudsman’s role is as an independent adjudicatory body, some of the proposals risk “tipping the FOS into the consumer’s camp”.
He says: “The report’s recommendation that the FOS do more to advertise the free availability of its service is likely to be seen by the industry as the FOS advertising for more complaints.”
RPC adds that Hunt’s recommendation for the introduction of case fees for vexatious claims brought about by claims management companies is discriminatory.
Davies says: “The idea that there should be a case fee for vexatious claims presented by claims management companies, but not for such claims presented by claimants in person or other advisers, is discriminatory and will require legislation or a change in the rules under the Compensation Act, which are outside the FOS and FSA’s control.”