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‘Disaster’ if legal sector gets financial services’ rep, says Ombudsman

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  • 11/07/2012
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‘Disaster’ if legal sector gets financial services’ rep, says Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman has warned the sector is at risk of dragging down its reputation to the level of the financial services industry through the mis-selling of confusing legal products and services.

In its latest annual report, the organisation, which has the power to independently resolve legal complaints against lawyers, said commercial pressures were leading to some “inappropriately aggressive behaviour” within the industry.

Introducing the report, Adam Sampson, the chief legal ombudsman, said he was seeing cases where customers were sold complex and confusing products that they often struggled to understand.

“We’ve seen the damage done to the reputation of the financial sector by the mis-selling of complicated products,” he explained.

“The Payment Protection Insurance scandal has cost the banking industry billions of pounds.

“It would be disastrous if the legal sector exposed itself to a similar risk.”

Among the cases he cited were ones where customers had been given unrealistic ‘no win, no fee’ promises, dubious fixed-fee services and confusing legal insurance policies.

Despite the warnings to the industry, he also reminded consumers of their own responsibilities to protect themselves.

“Check the small print, shop around and make sure you know exactly what you’re buying,” he said.

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