The Legal Ombudsman has taken the unusual step of naming a claims management company subject to dozens of complaints this year.
The watchdog says it is in the public interest to warn consumers about the conduct of Swansea-based JAS Financial Advisory Services Ltd.
In the first half of this year, the ombudsman accepted 92 complaints for investigation about JAS, which specialises in PPI compensation claims. In total, 53 have been resolved.
This is just the second time the Office for Legal Complaints has exercised its power to publish details or lawyers or CMCs involved in complaints. Barrister Tariq Rehman, this week made the subject of a civil restraint order, was named as a risk to clients on 9 December following 25 complaints.
The ombudsman said a number of complainants reported that JAS had said their claims would be resolved quickly and that the upfront fee was refundable in the event their claim was unsuccessful.
JAS has however been found to be failing to adequately progress claims and to be delaying payment of fees where a refund may be due.
As most customers pay fees by credit card, they are facing extra interest charges due to their claims taking longer than expected. Resolved cases have also highlighted that JAS is failing to keep customers updated on the progress of their claims.
‘We have seen a pattern of behaviour which shows that JAS are failing to respond to consumers’ complaints within an eight-week period,’ added the LeO notice.
‘Additionally, they are failing to comply with all of our requests for information. JAS appear to have a very inconsistent approach to co-operating with the Legal Ombudsman; in some instances providing comments to preliminary decisions and in others providing no evidence at all.’
In one published case, JAS had ‘essentially abandoned’ one client’s claim after she had paid £495 upfront in fees. A refund was ordered as a remedy.