Regulator fines claims management company £70k for misleading customers
This decision follows the transfer of regulatory responsibility for claims management companies to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 1 April 2019.
Professional Personal Claims Limited’s websites and printed materials prominently used the logos of five major banks, which could have misled consumers into believing they were submitting redress claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) directly to their banks, rather than through a claims management company (CMC) for a fee, the FCA said.
The regulator also said Professional Personal Claims failed to present accurate, fully formed, detailed and specific complaints to banks.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA said: “CMCs have an important role to play in helping to secure compensation for their customers. This is especially true in the case of those consumers who might not otherwise make a claim.
“PPC’s misleading website and marketing material suggested PPC was associated with the five banks when this was not the case. Claims management firms must ensure their advertising is accurate. Not only in terms of what they say about themselves and their services but also in terms of what is represented.”
Professional Personal Claims was originally investigated and fined by the previous regulator for CMCs, the Claims Management Regulator (CMR).
On 5 December 2018, the CMR determined that Professional Personal Claims had breached the previous CMC conduct rules by using websites and marketing materials that were misleading and by submitting misleading material to financial firms in support of its clients’ PPI redress claims. The CMR imposed a £70,000 fine for these failings.
Professional Personal Claims appealed this decision but while the appeal was pending, the FCA took over regulation of CMCs.
On 16 September 2019, after reviewing the evidence put forward by the FCA, Professional Personal Claims withdrew its appeal, and the FCA therefore imposed the £70,000 fine.