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1 Jan 21

The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on The Claims Guys (TCG)

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The impact of Coronavirus is being felt in every sector of society and has impacted all businesses. Here at The Claims Guys we have reduced the number of people working from our office in line with government guidance and have many colleagues working from home to continue to provide our services to our customers. Our focus at present is ensuring the safety of our colleagues whilst doing everything we can to continue to support our customers and our business.

We work closely with many companies and organisations, all of whom are dealing with the challenges the Coronavirus has brought.

Several major lenders informed us that they are running reduced services, or have paused non-essential activity to allow them to focus on essential services. This may mean that correspondence may be delayed, including responses to information requests, assessment of PPI claims and offers made on successful claims. If offers of compensation for mis-sold PPI are delayed this will not negatively impact our customers as any offer includes interest accrued up to the point the offer is made.  We understand that it can be frustrating for our customers to have to wait longer for a final decision, especially after many responses were delayed following the increased volume of PPI complaints submitted up to the PPI deadline in August 2019.

Further useful Information

The industry Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set up teams to focus on the response to the Coronavirus outbreak, stating “we stand ready to take any steps necessary to ensure customers are protected and markets continue to function well.  We are working closely with the Government, the Bank of England, the Payment Systems Regulator and firms on this.”i While the FCA is reviewing their work plans, delaying non-critical activity and showing understanding of the pressure businesses may be under, they still expect firms to resolve consumer complaints within the usual 8 weeks.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is the impartial organisation that settles disputes between customers and businesses that provide financial services.  The FOS are currently operating with limited telephone availability and encouraging people to contact them online, where possible instead.  The FOS are experiencing a high demand for their service and have warned that they may take longer than usual to respond to enquiries, including those regarding PPI complaints. At TCG we have adapted the way we work with the FOS and are continuing to process claims with them.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is a free and independent service funded by the financial service industry to protect consumers when financial firms cease trading. The FSCS has set their staff up to work from home and is fully operational. They do not expect any disruption to their service at this time but do warn that their phone lines are very busy.

We work with legal partners, including The Claims Guys Legal and Cheval Legal who are supporting staff in adapting to home-working. While TCG can still refer Plevin PPI claims over to both legal partners to be progressed via the legal route, we need to be aware that courts and defendants may also be affected by the Coronavirus.  Both our legal partners are carefully monitoring information published by the Government, Solicitors Regulation Authority and The Law Society, taking steps to adapt their working practices where necessary.

Sources:

i. https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/information-firms-coronavirus-covid-19-response#delayed

ii. https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/coronavirus

iii. https://www.fscs.org.uk/news/fscs-news/covid-19/