Government set to miss target for CMC complaints handling switch

This article was published on: 07/1/13

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It has been revealed that the government are almost certain to miss its target in relation to the switch-over for handling claims management company (CMC) complaints to the Legal Ombudsman.

The decision to make the switch was made last August and it was supposed to have happened this year but it would appear that the Ombudsman, Adam Sampson is still awaiting the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to give final approval on the change, and with it likely to take up to 5 months for him to prepare, this means it is now expected to be next year when the change takes place.

Mr Sampson said: “This is not an issue of principle or cost, it’s about getting the legislative mechanism right. We’re willing to accept complaints about CMCs as soon as the government and regulator tells us that they have sorted out the technical issues.”

When the changes are implemented and the Ombudsman does begin to hear the complaints about CMCs it will certainly increase his workload. The Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU) received 14,282 complaints from businesses and CMCs in 2012, which is estimated to be the equivalent of 20% of the total number of complaints the Legal Ombudsman received himself last year.

The delay will not be greeted well by the personal injury industry who see the move as leveling the playing field between CMCs and legal firms. When it is finally changed over what it will mean is that CMCs will now be regulated in the same way and by the same body as legal firms are, and therefore will hopefully lead to a crackdown on bad advertising methods such as cold calling and unwanted texts which in turn is expected to drive down the amount of fraudulent claims.