A claims management company has been fined £70,000 for misleading consumers through its websites and printed materials in the first such action by the sector's new regulator.
The fine follows the transfer of regulatory responsibility for claims management companies (CMCs) from the Ministry of Justice to the Financial Conduct Authority on 1 April. The switch in regulator was widely seen as ushering in a tougher regime.
According to the FCA, Professional Personal Claims (PPC) Limited websites and printed materials prominently displayed the logos of five major banks, suggesting to consumers that their claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) were going directly to the banks. In reality they were engaging PPC as a claims manager to pursue claims in return for payment of a success fee.
PPC also failed to present accurate, fully formed, detailed and specific complaints to banks, the FCA said.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the regulator said: 'PPC’s misleading website and marketing material suggested PPC was associated with the five banks when this was not the case. 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.'
Today's announcement by the FCA concedes that the fine originated in an investigation by its predecessor, the Claims Management Regulator, which first imposed the penalty in December last year. The FCA took over the case during the appeal process and imposed the £70,000 fine following the withdrawal of the appeal in September.