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On the 1st of April 2019, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) began to regulate claims managers in England, Scotland and Wales. On account of this regulation, all claims management companies (CMCs) are required to demonstrate they meet and maintain minimum standards set by the FCA before a full authorisation is granted.

Once a company is authorised, a range of tools and powers can be used by the FCA should regulated firms fail to comply with their rules.

The aim of the regulation is to elevate consumer protection and the professionalism of the sector, in order to make CMCs trusted providers of high quality services which help consumers pursue legitimate claims.

The requirements safeguard the benefits TESS Law provides to enquiring consumers by ensuring we give people the information they need to make informed decisions.

The FCA requirements include:

Claims management firms are required to do includes the following:

  • Check customers’ details have been obtained legally.
  • Make sure all the information they receive complies with data protection legislation and keep a record of these checks.
  • Not to encourage customers to make claims which do not have a good basis.
  • Keep records of all customer calls.
  • Telling customers about free alternatives. Marketing material and pre-contract information must mention any relevant ombudsman schemes which the customer could access for free.
  • Telling customers key information before entering into a contract.
  • CMCs must provide a one-page summary document setting out the service provided and given to you before the contract is agreed
  • Provide a standardised illustration of the fees charged.
  • Keeping customers updated about the progress of the claim and letting customers know about any new developments for their claim, including a revised estimate of the fee.

If you’re considering using TESS Law as your claims manager you are advised to visit this page about Using CMCs which has information about how to claim compensation (including for free yourself), what to expect from TESS Law if you decide to use us, and how to check you are using an authorised CMC.

What do CMC’s do?

CMC’s exist to help customers make various kinds of claims and deal with the paperwork and administrative details for a fee. TESS Law will handle the entire claim for you, represent you and deal with your opponent or those you are claiming against.

Unlike most, TESS Law only handles timeshare related claims and does so for either a fixed pre-agreed fee or we will have the matter funded by others who will charge a percentage of any meritorious award or sometimes both.

In most circumstances, you can also instruct TESS Law to consider the claim, evaluate the quantum and deliver for your approval a draft letter of complaint and then you can manage the claim yourselves. In the alternative, you can make the claim yourself, as it’s free to do so.

Why should I use a claims management company?

There are pros and cons to every legal adventure. In the courts, you can deliver and manage your own claims including representing yourself at trial or in the alternative have the matter dealt with by a lawyer. Like legal proceedings, you can make your own claim in FOS or the FSCS. That said the main benefits of using TESS Law is the added convenience and peace of mind you get from us handling your case professionally.

That said, this peace of mind comes at a cost and the typical fees for making and managing a financial claim fall between 15% and 45% (dependent upon the value and the necessary work involved) of sums and/or benefit recovered. That said, before work is commenced the % and/or fee TESS Law will charge will be notified to you and agreed beforehand. You also have to consider that you will be required to give a statement, provide documents, and assist TESS Law throughout the claims process.

Many claims are of little value and may cost you more in fees than the total amount you could recover. Equally some claims are not particularly complicated and you could be able to do them yourself. When an enquiring consumer seeks assistance, we will generally give a 30 min consultation ‘free of charge’, during which, we may be able to extract the necessary information which would result in us telling you to handle the claim yourself.

Making a claim without a claims management company

You will appreciate in timeshare related finance claims, the first and principal contract you entered into was the provision of finance – which gave you a gateway to buying the timeshare being sold.

That being so, in many circumstances will find that the person who sold you the finance was the same person who vended the timeshare. When selling the finance, the timeshare salesperson acted as the bank’s broker. If this is the case, you can hold the bank responsible under the Consumer Credit Act if the salesperson either misrepresented the product of breached the contract.

All the information and documentation should be with you and you will need to give TESS Law copies so we can evaluate the prospects of making a successful claim. In the alternative, you can consider and set out the claim yourself and then make the claim without troubling your pocket. You may lose some quiet enjoyment, however the reward is that you will dispense with the need of paying someone.

The simple process is that you write to the bank and set out the issues you have and when they respond they will either inform you that they are rejecting your complaint or they will make you settlement proposals. In the event that they reject your claim you have the right to and should, if you believe the bank has acted unfairly, place the matter into FOS or the FSCS for adjudication.

What can I do if I have a complaint?

From April 2019, consumers can take any complaints about CMC to the Claims Management Ombudsman, which is part of the FOS.

Before submitting your complaint, you must talk to TESS Law directly to try and get a resolution. If you are not happy with TESS Law’s response, or we do not get back to you within eight weeks, you can escalate your case to the Claims Management Ombudsman CMO.

The CMO will look into your case and if it decides in your favour, it can order TESS Law to put things right, which could include paying you compensation for any financial losses.

 


Last modified: 28th August 2020