Falcon & Pointer Ltd, based in Swansea, used automatic-dialling technology to make millions of calls about mis-sold PPI in 12 weeks – leading to hundreds of complaints by the public.
An investigation by the CMR also found that the South Wales firm had coerced people into signing contracts without giving them enough time to understand the terms and conditions before taking payment, which is a serious breach of the regulator’s rules on conduct.
The firm ignored warnings from both the CMR and the Information Commissioner’s Office and has now been stripped of its licence. This means that it can no longer offer regulated claims management services to new or existing clients.
Kevin Rousell, head of the Claims Management Regulator, said:
Falcon & Pointer has demonstrated the worst excesses of the industry. This firm clearly set out to plague the public and rip off consumers.
They ignored warnings by us and the Information Commissioner’s Office, and today have had their licence revoked as a result of that wilful ignorance.
The CMR, based at the Ministry of Justice, regulates companies that offer to help people claim compensation for issues such as personal and criminal injury and mis-sold financial products.
The removal of Falcon & Pointer’s licence is the latest move in a concerted crackdown on rogue behaviour in the industry, which has included removing over a thousand licences since 2010 and issuing fines of over £1.7 million.
Justice Minister Lord Faulks said:
Protecting the public and consumers is our utmost priority and the disgraceful actions of this company would have caused real distress to many people, particularly the vulnerable and elderly.
The Government will continue to take action against rogue firms that put their own profits before the rights of consumers.
The ruling means Falcon & Pointer Ltd must cease handling claims immediately. The regulator will be advising customers that if their claim had not been completed they might be entitled to repayment of any fee.
Notes to editors:
- Enforcement action is taken against businesses which fail to comply with the conduct rules. The Claims Management regulators rules of conduct can be found here.
- View details of the enforcement against Falcon & Pointer Ltd here.
- Guidance for customers can be found here.
- The removal of a CMC’s licence is a serious matter and a decision which can only be taken after careful consideration of all the evidence and the consequences for clients of such action.
- In December 2014, the regulator obtained a new power to impose financial penalties on CMCs for rule breaches. So far, four CMCs have been fined over £1.7 million for a range of breaches including unlawful unsolicited marketing and coercing clients into signing contracts.
- Information about the Claims Management Regulation Unit, including details of live investigations and enforcement action against companies can be viewed here.
- The government has taken a number of steps in recent year to tackle rogue claims management companies including:
- Banning ‘referral fees’ paid between lawyers, insurers, claims firms and others for profitable claims – which have driven the growth of compensation culture
- Banning claims management companies from offering cash incentives or gifts to people who bring them claims. Recommend a friend deals also banned, along with contracts agreed only over the phone
- Changing the law so that regulated claims companies which breach Claims Management Regulation rules around cold-calling and client service will be liable for fines of hundreds of thousands of pounds (as well as the existing sanctions of being suspended or closed down)
- For further information please call the MOJ press office on 020 3334 3536. Follow us @MoJGovUK.