I’m sure we are all quite astonished by the news that Pay Day loan company WONGA have seemingly been caught ‘imitating’ non-existent law firms. It would seem they did this to place defaulting customers under added pressure to meet payments. The Student Loans Company have also recently hit the headlines for using their own in-house legal team to send out letters which appear to be from a third party. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon; the Law Society has been issuing guidance for years warning that criminals have been utilising legal firm’s websites and names in order to swindle unsuspecting parties out of money. It remains to be seen as to whether criminal charges will be brought against any company who utilise the Solicitors’ ‘brand’. Anyone unqualified holding themselves out to be solicitor can be jailed for up to 2 years.
It does highlight the need to be very careful who you instruct and make sure they are genuine solicitors and take into account the following:
1 Unregulated debt recovery firms are not required to comply with the strict rules and obligations which are placed upon Solicitors to make sure they do their very best for their clients and their clients’ interests are of utmost importance and are protected.
2 Indemnity insurance is compulsory for Solicitors in the unlikely event something goes wrong with your case. There is no such obligation for unregulated and unqualified firms to insure themselves.
3 Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and so if anything went wrong there is a further body to report matters to who can take action.
4 Solicitors are required to complete years of training before they can practice. Continuous training is also compulsory for solicitors.
If in doubt use the Law Society’s Find A Solicitor search facility to verify solicitors’ credentials which you can do so by clicking here.
If you wish to instruct a genuine Solicitor or to discuss any of the above matters then contact Nick Brown 0151 650 6836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.