Ambulance chasers hit a brick wall

Number of Claims Management companies now at an all-time low

Figures released last week by the Claims Management Regulator (CMR) show that the number of companies providing Claims Management is now at an all-time low. The annual report, covering the period 2016 to 2017, indicates that there are now only 1388 regulated companies providing Claims Management in the UK.

These companies shared combined revenues of some £726 million in the year to 30 November 2016. Their activities cover PPI, personal injuries etc. But over the past few years thousands of companies have been struck off or have voluntarily given up. At the peak in 2011 there were 3213 companies active in this sector.

The number of companies seeking to register for Claims Management is also at an all-time low.  Only 107 new applications to become a CM company were made in 2016 and applications were down 47% in the “personal injury” sector. Overall, fewer than a quarter of all the 6722 companies registered on the CMR database are still operating.

The fall in number of companies, and low registration of new companies is due in part to a stricter regulatory environment. Claims Management companies must abide by a range of statutory conditions and comply with conduct rules. During 2016 some 69 companies were shut down by the regulator for non-compliance.

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow consumer champion and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! says she is pleased to see this reduction in claims management companies. “So often we see companies doing what consumers can easily do themselves. There are plenty of template letters available for the likes of PPI claims and flight delays which people can use to claim 100% of what they are due. The more complicated cases, where you may need help from a third-party, are very rare.”

Marcus Williamson, editor of the consumer website http://CEOemail.com – which provides contact details for CEOs – says that it’s not worth losing 20-30% of a claim to a CMC. “It’s time that people stop wasting money on using Claims Management Companies and take matters into their own hands”, says Williamson, “Whether it’s PPI or flight claims, just write to customer services, demand redress and escalate to the CEO if necessary.”

PPI claims remain high but with a slight decline. The deadline for making PPI claims is August 2019, so it is likely that there will be continued decline in CMCs, as the last remaining PPI claims are made.

The CMR report cites a “substantial increase” in the emergence of CMCs working in the area  of holiday illness. There have been recent reports of claims management companies encouraging people to make false claims of illness against holiday companies. The regulator says it has established a team to work with reputable CMCs, tour operators, ABTA and solicitors to clamp down on this behaviour.

Notes for editors

Latest CMR report, released on 4 August 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/claims-management-regulator-annual-reports

Delayed flight template letter //www.thecomplainingcow.co.uk/airline-claim-compensation-letter-template/

 

 

The Minimalist Guide to Complaining About Your Holiday

Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992
A package holiday is defined by law as having at least two of these three components, all as part of a ‘package’ that you pay an inclusive price for: transport (such as flights, transfers etc.) accommodation and/or another tourist service which makes up a significant proportion of the package. It also has to last for more than 24 hours, or at the very least include overnight accommodation as part of the trip. As an example, a day-trip to a tourist attraction in the UK which includes entry and travel to the attraction is not covered. Holidays are Atol protected if the flight and either the hotel or car hire are booked within one day of each another.

The organiser (tour operator) is liable for the failures of hoteliers, suppliers and services within the contract. if the holiday is cancelled, the consumer is entitled to a substitute package of equivalent or superior quality (if the other party to the contract is able to offer such a substitute) or to take a substitute package of lower quality and recover the difference in the price or to have a full refund.

Redress
The organiser must not provide mis-leading information and provide details about changes as soon as possible. The consumer is entitled to redress for a variety of things dependent on what regulation has broken and when.

Loss of value, the difference between the cost paid for the holiday and the one received.
Out-of-pocket expenses incurred reasonable costs as a result of the breach of contract
Loss of enjoyment, compensation for the disappointment and distress caused by things going wrong.
Personal injury, compensation for any personal injury incurred abroad (specialist legal advice is thoroughly recommended here).

Regulations 12 and 13 refer to alterations in the package holiday or to departure times or location and are probably the most used. I quoted them here when I got Adam and Mel most of their money back.

Full details of the Act here.

ABTA and ATOL. Members of the former follow a code of conduct, so break that and you can report them to ABTA. The ATOL scheme of financial protection covers flight-based holidays. If you buy a land- or sea-based holiday such as coach, rail or cruise holiday from an ABTA member your monies will be protected by the ABTA scheme of financial protection, so if your travel company fails and your holiday can no longer go ahead you will be entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel and hotel costs and transport home if you are abroad

ATOL stands for Air Travel Organisers’ Licence. It is a government-run financial protection scheme operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). All monies you pay for package holidays involving flights and holidays including a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, must be protected under an ATOL licence.  You will receive an ATOL Certificate at the time you make your payment, and you will need to keep the certificate safe.

ATOL cover means that if your travel company fails and your holiday can no longer go ahead you will be entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel and hotel costs and flights home if you are abroad. Flights booked directly with airlines are not protected under the ATOL scheme. ATOL is a financial protection scheme, it does not provide other assistance if there are other problems with your holiday.

Remember, if you are unhappy with your accommodation you should complain about it to your representative as soon as possible as the company should be given a chance to put matters right. You may still be entitled to redress of course. If however you do not complain at the time you will be asked if it was really that bad as you didn’t ask to be moved.

Story of complaining about booking a holiday through a site in the EU here.

If you don’t get satisfaction from customer services when you complain contact the CEO, you can find details of all the CEOs at ceoemail.com.

For more tips and templates about complaining about aspects of flights and holidays as well as anything else you may wish to complain about see the book!

Anyone got any holiday nightmares for which they got redress?