It was recently reported that Wonga had sent letters chasing monies, using letterhead suggesting that the letters were from solicitors. The letters were dodgy solicitors had not been appointed and the letters were hugely misleading.
The Office of Fair Trading determined that Wonga had invented law firms and used them to send letters to customers in arrears threatening legal action. They imaginatively sent letters using the firm names of Chainey D’Amato & Shannon and also Barker & Lowe Legal Recoveries.
Due to the Office of Fair Trading intervention, around 45,000 customers are to be compensated. The sum reported to be paid is in the region of £2.6 million.
Solicitors are regulated by the SRA and must carry appropriate insurance. Imposters are not regulated and will probably not carry insurance. Regulation of the legal industry is extremely important and firms pretending to be solicitors is very dangerous. Here at Small Claims Court Genie, we make it abundantly clear that we are not a firm of solicitors and that we cannot provide advice on specific cases. However, there are rogues out there who are prepared to mislead and take advantage of the public.
It is a criminal offence for anyone unqualified to hold themselves out as a solicitor. A jail sentence of up to 2 years can be ordered. The Solicitors Regulation Authority, is not taking any action however, because the letterhead did not bear the word “solicitors”.
People trying to verify a firm of solicitors can check on the Law Society website as to whether the firm is genuine.