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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 and before a full authorisation is granted. Until full authorisation is granted TESS has been awarded temporary authorisation accordingly TESS is able to continue operating while our application goes through the FCA authorisation process.

Once a company is authorised, a range of tools and powers it can be used by the FCA has 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 new requirements safeguard the benefit TESS provided to enquiring consumers by ensuring we give people the information they need to make informed decisions.

The new FCA requirements include:

  • due diligence on lead generation
  • rules to prevent firms from encouraging customers to make fraudulent, frivolous, or vexatious claims or claims which have no good basis
  • providing clear, upfront information to customers regarding the fees the CMC charges and the services they provide
  • giving customers a summary document regarding the services the CMC will provide before the customer enters into a retainer or signs a contract
  • explaining including advertising the fact that – customers can make your own claim in the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS),
  • recording and retaining customer telephone calls for a year after TESS’s final contact with a customer so that the initial engagements will reduce the chances of high-pressure sales techniques and support robust resolution of customer complaints

If you’re considering using TESS as your claims manager you are advised to visit this link page about using CMCs which has information about how to claim compensation (including for free yourself), what to expect from TESS 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 will handle the entire claim for you, represent you and deal with your opponent or those you are claiming against.

Unlike most, TESS 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 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 proceeding, you can make your own claim in FOS or the FSCS. That said the main benefits of using TESS is the added convenience and peace of mind you get from us handing 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 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 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 so, you should be able to them yourself. TESS, when an enquiring consumer seeks assistance, will generally give a 30 min consultation ‘free of charge’ and during this consultation, we may be able to extract the necessary information which would result in us telling you to do it 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 banks, 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’s and documentation should be with you and you will need to give TESS 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 quite enjoyment however, the reward is 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 are the new rules for claims management firms?

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 let customers know about any new developments for their claim, including a revised estimate of the fee.

What can I do if I have a complaint?

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

Before submitting your complaint, you must talk to TESS directly to try and get a resolution. But if you are not happy with TESS’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 to put things right, which could include paying you compensation for any financial losses.

 


Last modified: 7th July 2020