The Legal Ombudsman took its first complaint about a claims management company (CMC) a year ago today, managing to broker an agreement between a service user and a CMC to reduce its fees.
By the end of December last year the scheme had received 20,200 contacts. Around 2000 of these were accepted as complaints for investigation. Many of the remaining contacts were either from people who were seeking advice and, as a result, were signposted to other organisations or from service users who had not raised their complaint with the CMC in the first instance. By the end of December, the scheme had resolved 1255 of the 2000 complaints accepted for investigation.
As well as helping customers to get their money back, and resolving issues around poor service, the scheme has been working closely with the CMC industry to help improve standards; launching professional learning courses dedicated to CMCs, trialling a relationship management programme, and producing webinars and guidance for CMCs. By doing this, the Legal Ombudsman has been able to share information about the highest areas of complaint while offering guidance on how to improve in these areas; as well as examples of best practice in complaint handling.
The Legal Ombudsman’s Head of CMCs, Simon Tunnicliffe, said: “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved and delighted that we have been able to help so many service users to resolve their complaints over the last year. We are looking forward to continuing our work with CMCs and improving standards within the industry going forward.”
The Legal Ombudsman’s service is free for consumers. We look at complaints about service providers in a fair and independent way, we do not take sides but if there is a problem then we have official powers to put things right. Here is some recent feedback from customers who have been helped by the scheme:
“Immediate grasp of the situation, asked relevant questions in order to know how to proceed then gave sound advice which led to my receiving a refund.”
“We felt we were in good hands.”
“I immediately reached someone who was very understanding about my problem. He gave me excellent advice and made me feel much better about the fact that I had responded very stupidly to a cold telephone call. The department kept in contact with me, as they said they would, until the problem was satisfactorily resolved. I feel very grateful to them.”
“They were very patient, informative & helpful.”
“They were sympathetic to the situation, listened to my complaint and acted on the information given. They offered advice on the way forward.”
“It was with some trepidation that I contacted the Ombudsman as I thought I would be bombarded with legal terminology flying over my head but the questions asked of me were direct and cognisant to my dilemma (maybe I understood more than I realised).”
“I was listened to and treated with respect.”