New technology can help Financial Ombudsman Service rebuild consumer trust

New technology can help Financial Ombudsman Service rebuild consumer trust

Legal Tech business ME Group, which helps customers who were mis-sold interest-only mortgages (and other financial services products) to gain compensation, says the procedures operated by the current official complaints body are not fit for purpose, and tech-enabled companies that use state of the art technology can help rebuild trust in the system.

Rob Cooper, ME Group’s director of regulation and compliance, was responding to the findings of Channel 4’s Dispatches Programme (12 March) on the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), where undercover reporters found poorly trained staff dealing with complaints.

“The current complaints arrangements are not fit for purpose. They rely on traditional, low-tech processes and staff who don’t have the right training.”

Mr Cooper said: “Although the FOS is the official channel through which to complain about mis-selling, Dispatches makes clear that the process can be daunting.”

“Customers have to fill out an FOS form, which may be discouraging for those not familiar with such matters, and deal with a big official bureaucracy that has struggled to cope with the volume of complaints during the last few years.”

He added: “The FOS has a tough job because they have to process huge numbers of claims submitted by claims management companies and law firms which can be poorly written, missing essential information and sent through in all sorts of different formats.”

He explained that in response to the problems highlighted by Dispatches, “we have developed ‘MARS,’ a Legal Tech software programme that provides comprehensive legal analysis, including a calculation of the amount of compensation owed. The standardised report contains all the information needed to make complaint handling massively more efficient, whether through official bodies or against practitioners such as mortgage brokers.”

Rob explained that the LegalTech-generated reports are created in-house, then passed through to a panel of lawyers to deal directly with the mortgage broker or the FSCS if that broker is no longer trading. Each case is overseen by trained experts, who know how to interact with financial institutions and get hold of the necessary information.

“The MARS reports are a complete package that gives customers and legal professionals the confidence that the claim is being properly handled. Defendants and other parties know that they can make decisions quickly. Claimants don’t have to wait for weeks or months and feel they’ve been lost in the system.”

He said: “Channel 4 Dispatches showed that putting blind trust in the FOS to get these sensitive decisions right can be a gamble. And when customers’ homes are at stake, we believe we offer a better way for customers to use the system in the right way and gain the compensation they deserve.”

Note for editors

ME Group, headquartered in Alderley Park, Cheshire, applies technology to legal services products on behalf of law firms and their customers.

We provide turnkey solutions for legal firms, encompassing client origination, legal and financial analysis, process outsourcing, case funding, and legal expenses insurance.

The ME LegalTech brand provides expert analysis and reporting services to determine liability and quantum in complex legal matters. This is uniquely ‘Tech’ driven, allowing for complex algorithms to be computed and enabling volume-driven services to be offered.

ME Group uses social media as their key driver for accessing and liaising with clients, and has ambitions to radically reform the system of making claims against mis-selling practices across a wide range of financial services products.

For more information please contact: Ben Welsh, 07568 382040