Failure to comply with new contract regulations will lead to ‘dire consequences’ according to MASS chairman

Craig Budsworth Director of MedCo and past honorary member of MASS

The Chairman of Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), Craig Budsworth has sent out to warning to all personal injury lawyers that failure to comply with the latest version of the consumer contract regulations, would see them face dire consequences.

The regulations, which are due to be introduced from the 13th June 2014, will replace the existing regulations introduced in 2008 and covers sales that are made in the office of the client’s home and earlier distance selling regulations.

Moving forward consumers will be required to give information on a range of different issues, including the identity of the supplier, details of how fees will be calculated, the firm’s complaints-handling policy and details on the termination process for the retainer.

There will also be a change to the cancellation or ‘cooling off’ period, which will be extended from 7 to 14 days.

The Law Society has provided the industry with a guidance note on the updated regulations, which can be found on their website as well as emphasizing the importance of lawyers ensuring clients that if they are placing an order for their legal services, then they should be made fully aware that they are under obligation to play.

MASS chairman Budsworth, discussing the impact of the changes and the importance of sticking to them, said: “If you sign up a lot of clients without complying, you’ll be in a pickle. Some people are still selling without a cancellation process.

“This is something that needs to be on everyone’s agenda. It’s not difficult – it’s not a complicated and major change. It’s a question of minor changes that need to be done, otherwise you’ll have a load of unemployed contracts.

“Before April of last year there was less of an issue. Now, with deductions from damages, if a client complains and the Legal Ombudsman looks at the document and it doesn’t comply, the solicitor may have to repay the amount taken from damages and a fine.”

See the Law Society’s Guidance.

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