The CMR regulates businesses that handle types of compensation claims. Any such business must either be authorised by the regulator or be covered by an exemption, which may be provided in the case of solicitors or advice agencies.
The Regulator is not an advertising service. It does not provide reviews of businesses that handle claims for others, and is not meant to suggest any particular service to a consumer.
Before you let a business handle your claim, you should always use the Authorised Business Search to make sure their authorisation is valid and has not been cancelled or suspended for some reason.
These claims may involve, among other factors, injury to oneself (physical or mental), unfair bank charges or improperly handled payment protection insurance.
Rules of conduct
The Claims Management Regulator’s authorisation comes with a strict code of conduct that must be followed at all times. This code includes the following practices:
Allowing the claimant a ‘cooling off’ period of at least a fortnight to change their mind after signing a contract.
Giving out written information on pursuing a claim before a contract has been drawn up
Operating a customer complaints system.
It is expressly forbidden, however, to:
Engage in any form of high-pressure selling such as “cold-calling”
If a business claims they can have your credit card balances and outstanding loans written off, exercise caution. ‘Consumer credit agreements’ are a risk that both the Claims Management Regulator and the Office of Fair Trading have previously issued warnings on. Sometimes companies suggesting you enter into a consumer credit agreement may ask you for an up-front fee of up to £500, with nothing to guarantee they can actually make good on their offer.
If you have a debt problem specific to you, you would do better to seek help from agencies such as Citizens Advice, which offers genuinely free and impartial advice on dealing with debt.
Your ability to secure a refund will, to some extent, depend on the contract and when you signed it. You may cancel and request a total refund at any time during the 14-day cool-off period; if you wish to do so, you should contact the provider as soon as possible.
If you went ahead with the claim after the cool-off period, refunds are an option if there is a breach of contract, such as:
Failure to provide the service advertised.
Failure to provide the service punctually.
If you feel your contract has been breached and you paid via credit card, your credit card company may be able to directly refund you. Contact them for advice.
If you address a complaint to your provider and they fail to respond in a timely manner, you should contact the Regulator and inform them of the details, such as when you first contracted them, the extent of your contact since the contract began, and when and how you issued the complaint.
If your provider responds to your complaint but in a manner you find unsatisfactory, you can ask the Regulator to review your case.
Sudden loss of authorisation
If the business managing your claim has its authorisation suspended or cancelled during your case, it can no longer help you. If your claim is incomplete, you may be entitled to have any fees refunded, particularly if you had a conditional fee agreement, which guarantees a refund if the claim was unsuccessful.
If you are still within the 14-day cooling-off period, it is entirely within your rights to cancel the agreement and request a full refund. Inform the business of your decision immediately.
If you paid by credit card, seek a refund via your credit card company.
If you paid by debit card, you may be able to obtain a refund – contact your provider for further information.
If you paid by cash, cheque or banker draft, you should contact the business and ask if they can refund you.