Claims management firm becomes first to be fined by the financial regulator
A claims management firm has been fined £70,000 by the financial regulator for misleading consumers through its websites and printed materials, in a first for the industry.
Professional Personal Claims Limited is the first claims company to be penalised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since claims management firms came under the regulator's remit in April this year.
The FCA says that Professional Personal Claims' websites and printed materials prominently used the logos of five major banks. It adds that this 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 firm to which they'd have to pay a fee if successful.
And the FCA also says that the company failed to present "accurate, fully formed, detailed and specific complaints" to banks.
How has the FCA come to fine Professional Personal Claims?
Professional Personal Claims (PPC) was originally investigated and fined by the previous regulator for claims management companies, the Claims Management Regulator (CMR).
The CMR launched an investigation following a number of complaints between October 2015 and March 2017 from clients of PPC and financial firms.
On 5 December 2018, the CMR determined that PPC had breached its rules and imposed a £70,000 fine for these failings.
But the company appealed, and while the appeal was pending, the FCA took over regulation from the CMR. On 16 September this year, after reviewing the evidence put forward by the FCA, PPC withdrew its appeal, and the FCA imposed the £70,000 fine.
What does the FCA say?
The FCA's executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said: "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."
MoneySavingExpert.com has contacted PPC for comment and will update this story when we hear back.