The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reiterated the information provided to solicitors involved in claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) in light of increased awareness of some companies offering their services when they may not be needed.
A recent summit on the issue was called by consumer groups and which involved banks and financial services regulators. Attendees looked at instances of members of the public being charged by some organisations for work those clients might have been able to carry out themselves.
A number of financial institutions responsible for mis-selling PPI have been ordered by the High Court to pay back up to £4.5 billion in compensation to customers. Both the Ministry of Justice and Financial Ombudsman Service have provided consumers with detailed information on how to make a claim, while claims management companies and solicitors firms have offered their services.
The SRA reminded solicitors of their responsibilities when dealing with clients that wanted help with claiming for mis-sold PPI in January. It issued a guidance note on professional duties and pointed out that practitioners needed to decide how their actions adhered to the Principles and Outcomes set out in the SRA Handbook.
Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director, said: "There has always been significant interest around the claiming of compensation for mis-sold PPI, and the recent summit will just have increased that interest. We recognise that many consumers may find processing their claim is straight-forward, while others may not.
"For those that don't, they understandably may want a solicitor's help and we know a number of practices are offering their services in this area. We felt in January it might be useful to remind the profession to bear in mind certain points if engaging in work of this kind, and with heightened interest, it is worth reiterating that the guidance is available.
"As an example of what to consider, solicitors may not be achieving the best outcomes for clients if they suggest that, by instructing their firm, clients will obtain a more favourable result than if they claimed themselves. They will need to substantiate any statements made."
The guidance note can be found on the SRA's website at www.sra.org.uk/PPI and reminds practitioners that clients and potential clients
- are not taken advantage of and do not suffer detriment,
- do not instruct a firm as a result of misleading information or publicity,
- have sufficient information to make informed decisions about instruction,
- receive independent advice and a proper standard of service.
The summit was part of a campaign organised by Moneysavingexpert.com and Which? Magazine. Further information is available at the following sites: