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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Dear Sir/Madam, I would appreciate some advice with regard

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would appreciate some advice with regard to Belmont Thornton Financial Claims.

Back in 2011 I approached them with regard to acting on my behalf to claim back PPI that I had paid on various cards and bank loans. All claims were successful and all costs to them have been paid to date except one which I am currently disputing.

I wrote a letter to them 25 March and lodged a formal complaint with regard to the service that I had received to date believing that their service is directly contrary to the regulations set out by the Ministry of Justices Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013, effective from 8 July 2013. Namely: General Rules Principle 5; Conduct of Business Paragraph 6b and Client Specific Rules - Representing a Client Paragraph 18. It took them 32 months to send me an invoice! Barclays sent them a copy of the offer that was made and which I accepted. I have had to continually chase Belmont Thornton and Barclays for regular updates and believe that the offer/payment I received was not solely down to Belmont Thornton. I am able to provide an electronic copy of my letter if required – I also explained in depth why I was disputing the amount that I owed them.

I have received a response from them today and although very muddled and repetitive they have advised that the amount remains unchanged. They have included a Final Demand and Statement of Intent which has to be paid in 7 days or they will pass my debt to a Debt Recovery Agency and/or take Court Action.

I am aware that I can escalate my complaint to the Ministry of Justice if my complaint has not been dealt with to my satisfaction within 8 weeks.

Your assistance with this matter would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Linda Mathews
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

On what basis do you dispute their charges? Did you sign their terms please?

Customer:

Alex

Customer:

141a High Street


Wick


Bristol


Avon BS30 5QQ


 


 


Belmont Thornton


Suite 2, Unit 25


The Coda Centre


Munster Road


LONDON SW6 6AW March 2014


 


 


Dear Sir/Madam


 


BC-130360


 


I write with reference to your letter dated 11 March 2014, which I have only just received hence the delay with regard to my reply.


 


I wish to dispute the amount owed and lodge a formal complaint. My complaint is that the service I have received is directly contrary to the regulations set out by the Ministry of Justices Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013, effective from 8 July 2013. Namely:


 



  • General Rules


 



  • Principle 5: A business shall observe all laws and regulations relevant to its business


 



  • Conduct of Business


 



  • Paragraph 6b: Certify annually that it has done so, when requested by the Regulator


 



  • Client Specific Rules – Representing a Client


 



  • Paragraph 18: A business must keep the client informed of the progress of the claim, including any significant changes to costs that the client may have to meet and must inform the client of any suspension or variation of the business’s authorisation within 14 days of the imposition of such action. It must forward any relevant information received from the client without delay.


Quite simply, I received payment from Barclays via my current account in September 2011 – they wrote to me prior to this on 6 September 2011 offering me a ‘goodwill gesture payment’ which I accepted. The letter was cc to you. I have received no correspondence from you whether by phone, letter, email or otherwise since July 2011, that is approximately a 32 month gap in contact before writing to give me 3 days notice to pay the outstanding balance of £1,974.30 prior to passing my account to your debt collections agency. This is not acceptable.


You have failed to keep me informed of the progress of my claim and due to this you are in breach of the Ministry of Justice Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013 Principle 5 and the Client Specific Rules 2013 that were effective from 8 July 2013. You will be further in breach of said code of conduct if (as according to General Rule 6(b)) you falsely certify when requested by the Ministry of Justice that you have complied with all rules relevant to your company.


As per advice received from the Ministry of Justice today I write to you directly and advise you of the steps you should take to resolve my issue. In order to resolve my issue that you have breached The Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013 I request strongly that you withdraw your demand immediately and in its entirety. I further request that you confirm both receipt of this letter and agreement to withdraw the payment demand within 14 days.


I am fully aware of my right to escalate this fair complaint to the Ministry of Justice if my complaint has not been dealt with to my satisfaction within eight weeks. I am further aware that the Ministry of Justice is duty bound to use any information I provide to consider enforcement action against you as it has breached the conduct rules. I would expect not to receive any further demands for payment in this time.


Further to this complaint please note may married surname of Mathews (spelt with one ‘t’) and that my address has changed.


Finally, I also intend to use my right under the Data Protection Act 1988 to make a Subject Access Request. I understand you will make a charge for this and I request you let me know what this is immediately so that I can make this request. I feel the information will further help my complaint and that delaying this request will be looked upon dimly by both the Data Commissioner and the Ministry of Justice.


I trust this matter can be dealt with swiftly, professionally and without obstacle and look forward to hearing from you within 14 days.


Yours sincerely,


 


LINDA MATHEWS (MRS)

Alex Watts :

Have they responded?

Customer:

Alex, a copy of the letter that I sent to Belmont Thornton with regard to my formal complaint. Yes unfortunately I did sign their Terms but I didn't expect to have to continually chase them and Barclays for regular updates. I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks.

Alex Watts :

What is it you wish to achieve?

Alex Watts :

How much are they charging in fees please?

Customer:

A breakdown of their fees is as follows: Claim Management fee at 25% = £1,645.25, VAT @ 20% = £329.05, Total = £1,974.30.

Customer:

Belmont Thornton (BT) commenced my claim in February 2011. Barclays authorised BT to escalate my claim to the Financial Ombudsman (FO) on 23 February 2011. FO advised BT on 12 July 2011 that Barclays wished to make a goodwill gesture with no admission of liability. Barclays made an offer to me on 6 September 2011. BT were a copy addressee. The offer was £4,938.22 + £1,642.77 = £6,580.99. I accepted the offer which was paid into my current account. I received an Overdue Fee - 4th Notice on 11 March 2014 - a gap of 32 months! It is my view that BT's involvement with this particular claim was very minimal. Although I am aware that they have a Customer Service Team available it should not be the customers responsibility to chase them by phone, letter or email for regular updates. That is what they are paid for. BT have offered their sincere apologies for not contacting me at regular intervals when there have been delays in the claims process but unfortunately that is not acceptable. They believe that it was solely down to them that my claim was successful but I disagree - if that was the case whey did I continually have to contact both them and Barclays for regular updates? They do not agree with the points that I have raised in my letter and have advised that the fee remains due. I would expect them to waiver the fee or reduce it considerably to a more realistic amount that actually reflects the work they have actually done. I look forward to hearing from you in due course. Many thanks. Linda Mathews

Customer:

Alex, I appreciate that you are a working Solicitor and may be on and offline to accommodate your commitments. Any assistance that you are able to provide would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for a way forward with regard to this problem. Many thanks Linda Mathews

Alex Watts :

Did they do the work to get the £ bACK

Alex Watts :

back?

Customer:

Alex,

Alex Watts :

Yes?

Customer:

Alex, yes to a certain degree. However, I do believe that they are in breach of the Ministry of Justice Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013 - details of which are in my letter to them.

Alex Watts :

What % of work did they do please?

Customer:

Belmont Thornton commenced my claim to Barclays and then escalated my claim to the Financial Ombudsman. They did not provide me with regular updates. It was left to me to get in touch with them and Barclays to obtain my own updates on progress.

Alex Watts : Thanks for all that information. What is it I can answer for you today please?
Customer:

I thought might letter to Belmont Thornton was self explanatory. Do I have to pay the fee that they are asking or can I continue to dispute the amount that they say is owing? It seems a substantial amount of money for the work that they actually did. I was hoping that you could advise what my options might be.

Alex Watts :

Indeed, but I wanted to check.

Alex Watts :

You will have to pay a fee as the law says you must pay a reasonable fee for reasonable work done.

Alex Watts :

But if they have breached the MoJ code then you are likely to have to pay a reduced fee

Alex Watts :

But you are likely to pay a fee as they have done some work, albeit they have not kept you informed and the code has been broken

Alex Watts :

So you will have to pay a fee for the work done, but a reduced fee

Alex Watts :

You are right to raise a complaint. Wait to see what their response is

Alex Watts :

If their response is not acceptable then you can then complain to the MoJ about their conduct. This will enable a full review and you can see what the out come is.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Alex, thank you for your response it was greatly appreciated. I was just after clarification that I could now go to the MoJ - I am unhappy with the fee that Belmont Thornton are asking for and truly believe that it doesn't reflect the work that they have actually done since 2011. I will draft a letter and send it off asking if a reduced figure can be set. Regards Linda

Alex Watts : Yes you should complain to the MoJ only when Belmont have provided a final response.
Alex Watts : Does that help?
Customer:

Alex, your advice with regard to the matter was second to none and your prompt responses were greatly appreciated. I have replied to Belmont Thornton today along the lines you suggested. Once again many thanks. XXXXX

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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