There has been a great deal of movement since February (just before CMCs came under the FCA’s regulatory ambit in April) with some CMC directors replacing each other at various companies. It does seem that aliases are being used in some cases, and setting up new directors (just one or two for a firm) who have no regulatory record, to run new or rejuvenated business. Several firms that filed dormant accounts in 2018 now appear to be trading.
First Claims Group Ltd filed accounts as a dormant company up to 30th November 2018, yet received temporary permission to trade as a CMC from the FCA on 8th February 2019. However, on the FCA register its website is declared as
an active CMC site being a trading name of First Claims Group Limited. It has only one Director, Maria Louise Jones, who has no other directorships.
Hardwick Financial Solutions Ltd based in Wigan went into Administration owing £500,000 to HMRC. A former director of Hardwick Financial Solutions, Kylie Sheedy, was appointed a director of active CMC, Consumer Claims UK LLP on 19th July 2019. The only other Director of Consumer Claims UK LLP is Claims to Gain Ltd, of which Kylie Sheedy is also a director. But the Claims to Gain website says that it is one of the trading names of Consumer Claims (UK) LLP. Consumer Claims (UK) LLP has temporary permission from the FCA to operate as a CMC. Claims to Gain Ltd has not. Other Claims to Gain Ltd directors are Jamie Hubbard and David Sankey. Scott Sheedy is a former director. Claims to Gain Ltd also filed accounts as a dormant company up to 28th February 2018.
Direct Financial Claims Ltd filed accounts as a dormant company for the two years ending 30th June 2017 and then filed abridged accounts for the period 1st July 2017 to 30th September 2018 which show very little – not at all enough to assess levels of trading. Yet it has been one of the most prolific CMCs in recent times, so it is surprising that its accounts appear to show only mediocre activity. Resurrecting dormant companies currently appears to be a popular pastime in the CMC world.
The PPI Team
Consumer organisation Which? has found claims management company The PPI Team is overcharging commission on PPI claims. Customers who have been overcharged could be entitled to claim back the extra money they have paid. Commission fees charged by CMCs for PPI claims were capped at 20% plus VAT, by the Financial Guidance and Claims Act in July 2018. The cap applies to all agreements that were entered into on or after 10th July 2018, when the cap was introduced. The PPI Team appears to have been charging 39% commission, plus VAT. The PPI Team website (now down) also supported the claims, stating it charged 39% commission plus VAT. In a recent case, Which? says a customer successfully challenged his 39% fee and his commission payment was reduced by £1,118. The PPI Team told him a mistake had been made. However, The PPI team website says that the firm is no longer taking on new business, but will continue to progress existing claims.
Easy Claims Collection
CMC, Easy Claims Collection Ltd appears to be continuing to trade but does not seem to be on the FCA register. The FCA’s list of CMC’s with temporary permissions does not include Easy Claims Collection Ltd.
CMC Chadney Smith Associates Ltd
Chadney Smith has filed its accounts for the year to 30th November 2018 which show no activity at all. The firm was incorporated on 17th November 2016, ceased to be authorised by the FCA on 10th November 2017 but currently has temporary permission from the FCA to operate as a CMC.
No 1 Accident Claims Limited
Former company director David Cullen has been fined for illegally obtaining people’s personal data and selling it to solicitors chasing personal injury claims. David Cullen, from Manchester, was also issued with a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. But the court was unable to recover the £1.4 million he made from illegal activities due to Cullen’s lack of assets.
David Cullen was the managing director of No 1 Accident Claims Limited, based in Manchester, from 2010 until the company was liquidated in 2012. The business profited from selling illegally obtained personal data to solicitors. The data, relating to people who had been in road accidents, could then be used to pursue personal injury claims. Appearing before Manchester Crown Court, Cullen was fined £1,050 and ordered to pay £250 costs. He was disqualified from being a company director for five years and an order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of computer devices seized under a search warrant in 2012.
Following sentencing, confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 commenced. The exact figure which Cullen is believed to have benefited from during his illegal activities is £1,434,679 but the court proceeded by making a £1 nominal order. Cullen’s financial circumstances will be regularly reviewed, and should they improve, the amount of the confiscation order can be increased.
Cullen pleaded guilty to 21 charges of unlawfully obtaining and selling personal data in breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998, when he appeared before Manchester City & Salford Magistrates Court in September 2018.
CMC director forged claimant signatures
Haroon Karim, who was a director of various claims management companies, has been found guilty of contempt at the High Court in Nottingham. The judge sentenced the 33 year old to six months’ imprisonment, saying he made fanciful and speculative assertions for substantial rewards. The proceedings arose from a previous case brought by defendant firm Horwich Farrelly in conjunction with insurer LV=, where the judge at Nottingham County Court ruled that a solicitor at defunct Bolton firm Asons made gross failures in handling a personal injury claim where documents were found to contain forged signatures. The judge also ruled that Karim, whose company had referred the claim to Asons, had forged a claimant’s signatures on these documents, including the claim form used to start proceedings, without their knowledge.
Karim, from Nottingham and formerly a director of ACA Claims Ltd, ACA Accident Claims Assistant Ltd, Medicals Elite Ltd, Easy Go Hire Ltd and Medical Healthcare Services Ltd, was one of Asons’ larger sources of work before it was shut down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2017.