Helping claims management companies

Our job is to look at complaints about service providers in a fair and independent way: we will not take sides.

Find out more about how we work and what you can do to address complaints before they come to us.

What we expect from regulated service providers

How long do I have to sort out a problem?

You have up to eight weeks to sort out a problem from the time your client raises the problem with you. After that time, the person can come to the Ombudsman.

Signposting

All regulated service providers have a legal obligation to tell their clients about accessing redress from the Legal Ombudsman. The Claims Management Regulator specifies these requirements in the Complaints Handling Rules.

The same obligation also requires you to tell your clients about your in-house complaints handling procedure. You can use our signposting pack to refer people to our scheme.

Advice for service providers handling complaints

We have published our ‘Guide to good complaint handling’ which explains what we expect to see from service providers when dealing with a complaint. There are also our top tips for responding to a complaint.

Industry Information Pack & Top Tips

We have produced this industry pack to explain how we work, so you know what to expect if we receive a complaint about you. There’s also tops tips for responding to a complaint.

Signposting Information

We want to help you learn from complaints to improve your customer service and business. We have produced this signposting pack to help you tell your customers about the Legal Ombudsman.

Our scheme rules

Our scheme rules are approved by the Legal Services Board and the Lord Chancellor as required by the Legal Services Act 2007.

The rules set out the framework for how the Legal Ombudsman resolves complaints about  services. Our service for claims management complaints began on 28 January 2015, we can accept complaints about service issues from 6 October 2010.

You can download the revised scheme rules as a pdf if you click on the link below. The scheme rules set out who can complain and when complaints can be referred to the Legal Ombudsman. We also set out how the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints.

Scheme rules (pdf – opens in new window)

We consulted on the scheme rules in 2009, 2012 and 2015. You can see the consultation drafts and responses in our publications section, under the relevant tabs. Following the 2015 consultation we made a decision to postpone our application to be an ADR entity therefore the changes consulted on in 2015 will not be implemented at the present time.

 

Watch our webinars

Watch our webinars to find out more about the Legal Ombudsman and our  team. The webinars look at what a complaint is, our scheme rules and how we will investigate CMC complaints.

What to expect from our scheme

How long will it take you to look at a complaint?

Once we’ve accepted the initial complaint, we place the case with a dedicated investigator. They will look at the information provided and contact both the consumer and the service provider. When the investigator contacts you, they will provide you with their direct contact details.We aim to resolve complaints within three months of the date the consumer confirmed the details of the complaint with us. However, if an ombudsman’s decision is required or we need more information, it could take longer.

How will you resolve the complaint?

From the start of an investigation, and throughout it, we will look for opportunities to resolve the problem by finding a solution that all parties can agree to.The investigator will listen to what both of you have to say, ensuring that they don’t take sides and that they achieve a fair outcome. It can be easier, and quicker, to sort out a problem if everyone agrees what the solution needs to be. See below for a brief overview of our process.

How do we resolve complaints?

1

Assessment

At the assessment stage we will ask the customer to provide us with information about themselves, their service provider and the timeframes to make sure that their complaint comes within our jurisdiction.

We will also ask the customer to send us a copy of their complaint and the final response from you as the service provider.

2

Investigation

If we can investigate the problem, the case will be passed to an investigator who will look at the facts and form an independent view about what happened.

Sometimes, after we look at the facts, we find that there was no poor service. If we find that there was poor service, we will first try to help you and your customer to resolve the issue quickly and informally. It’s best for everyone, and quicker, if an amicable agreement can be reached.

3

Resolving complaints

From the start of the investigation we will look for opportunities to resolve your problem that you and your customer can agree to, in order to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible for both you and your customer.

If this is not possible, the investigator will write a report that may propose a remedy or action you should take. We will send a copy of the report to both you and the customer for you to tell us what you think.

An ombudsman may be required to make a decision, which, once agreed, is final and binding. An ombudsman decision may be less favourable than the recommendation proposed by the investigator.

How case fees operate

What are case fees?

The Legal Services Act 2007 says that we must set a structure for charging a fee (a “case fee”) to service providers if we investigate a case that is within our jurisdiction. In most cases we are legally obliged to charge the case fee.

Where a case that we investigate turns out not to be within our jurisdiction then no case fee will be charged nor will a fee be charged if the case is dismissed or discontinued under paragraph 5.7 of our rules.

The case fee is separate to the Lord Chancellors Fee.

Do you always charge a case fee?

No. There are some circumstances where we will waive the case fee. These are where the complaint was: a) withdrawn or abandoned by the complainant during the course of the investigation; or b) settled, resolved or determined in favour of the service provider; and c) we are also satisfied that the service provider took all reasonable steps under their complaints procedure to try to resolve the complaint.

How do we decide whether or not to waive the case fee?

The decision to waive a case fee will depend on the outcome of the investigation. Where we find either that the service provider had done nothing wrong, or that the provider had already made a reasonable offer before we became involved, we will waive the case fee unless we believe the provider had not properly dealt with the complaint in-house.

Publishing ombudsman decisions

What does this mean?

We publish data about all cases that have required an ombudsman’s decision. We do this in line with the powers given to the Office for Legal Complaints (the Board of the Legal Ombudsman) under the Legal Services Act 2007.

You can read more about our decision to do this go to consultations. This paper sets out the basis for our decision and provides more detail about the information we will publish.

How long does the information stay on the website?

Every three months we publish new data of our cases with an ombudsman decision. The information about an individual case stays on the page for a year.

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