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  1. That was exactly my point. - the 'establishment' (FCA/MP's/News media/Law Society etc.) is finally beginning to recognise the unethical practice which has been going on for years, under their noses, i.e. sending letters to debtors which are intended to mislead, inasmuch as the letters purport to come from external law companies, whereas in fact the letters come from the creditor's own iin-house litigation team, using a made up trading name to mislead the debtor into think debtor into believeing they are dealing with an external law company. They even go so far (including Cabot) as to use phrases such 'on behalf of our client' - when in fact they are themselves the 'client'. From what I have been reading in the media, it seems as if this unethical practice will soon be brought to an end , eeither by the FCA, or by Parliament.
  2. You are correct. There is currently nothing unlawful about Morgans/Cabot, or SCM Solicitor's/LLoyds or all the other companies engaging in this practice. The point i not whether or not it is an unlawful practice, but, is it an unfair practice, as defined by the OFT/FCA. A business practice does not neccessarily need to be unlawful in order to be unfair. if its declared by FCA to be an unfair business practice, it potentiallly falls under section 25 of CCA 1974, where it becomex unlawful. The relevant part of CCA is section 25(2A)(e). - Have a look at it.
  3. Exactly. In the same way that Morgan Solicitor's are in reality Cabot's in-house litigation team. There does not exist a law company called 'Morgan Solicitor's" As in the Lloyds case and Wonga, and RBS etc etc. their intention is to mislead.
  4. Lloyds debt collection letters 'calculated to mislead' - MP July 17, 2014, 3:34 am LONDON (Reuters) - Letters sent by Lloyds Banking Group to debtors that appeared to come from independent lawyers were "calculated to mislead", the chairman of the parliament's Treasury Select Committee said on Wednesday. In a letter to the committee's chairman Andrew Tyrie, Lloyds Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio acknowledged the bank had issued debt collection letters under the name Sechiari Clark & Mitchell, or SCM Solicitors, since the late 1980s. He said a decision had been made this year to stop the practice. The letters were actually sent to customers by the bank's in-house litigation department. Tyrie said evidence from Lloyds, which included an example of one of the letters, was very concerning. "The sample letter seemed calculated to mislead. Lloyds failed to convince us that this was not the case, or to provide any satisfactory explanation as to why it issued letters in this form, but at least this practice has been brought to an end," Tyrie said. The sample 'SCM' letter submitted by Lloyds began by saying "We are solicitors for Lloyds Bank and act for them". "I agree that could be misleading, that particular clause," Tim Hinton, managing director of Lloyds' small-and-medium-enterprises banking division told the committee on Wednesday. Committee member Pat McFadden replied: "I think if I asked 100 people what that meant 99 out of 100 would say that was (from) somebody outside of the bank". Lloyds' actions came to light after payday lender Wonga was ordered by Britain's financial regulator to pay 2.6 million pounds in compensation to customers after sending them bogus letters from non-existent law firms. The Treasury Select Committee, which oversees the work of Britain's finance ministry, was taking evidence as part of an inquiry into small business lending.
  5. The fact remains that Wonga and the Student Loans Company have both been compelled to end their practice of sending out letters which gave the impression - regardless of not being unlawful - that the letters were send out by law firms which appeared to be separate entities from Wonga and Student Loans Company. Wonga case got more publicity because of massive £2.6 million compensation payment orderd by FCA. FCA has judged that this practice - carried out by most financial institutions including Cabot is an unfair and misleading trading practice. Which of course, it clearly is. I agree totally with you that the practice is lawful. The point, as recognised by FCA, is that it is unfair and misleading.
  6. Why then, did FCA compel Wonga to pay £2.6 million compensation.? It mattered not a jot that the Wonga letters may have been signed by one of the two solicitors employed by Wonga. FCA considered that the relevant point was that the letters were misleading, as they gave the impression of being sent by law firms separate to Wonga.
  7. In March 2014 the OFT investigated The Student Loans Company regarding it's practice of sending out letters from it's legal department headed 'Smith Lawson & Company' OFT ordered Student Loans Company to review it's procedures in this respect, as it could give the impression that Smith Lawson & Company was not merely the legal department of The Student Loans Company, but was a law firm, separate from the Student Loans Company. On 2nd July 2014 The Student Loans company stopped sending out letters headed 'Smith Lawson & Company. Since the Wonga compensation of £2.6 million, ordered by the FCA, it is starting to come to light that all the other financial institutions, including Cabot, have been doing the same, or very similar, practice. Light is finally being shone on a dodgy, barely legal, practice which has been going on unchallenged for years. To give a direct comparision between Cabot and Student Loans company. Student Loans Company Company is regulated by SRA. Cabot is regulated by SRA. Student Loans Company Company created the trading name 'Smith Lawson & Company' for what was actually it's own legal department. Cabot created the trading name 'Morgan Solicitors' for what is actually it's own legal department. 'Smith Lawson & Company' is not regulated by SRA . 'Morgan Solicitors' is not regulated by the SRA (Solictor's Regulation Authority). The Student Loans Company employs two regulated solicitors. Those two solicitors do not constitute a law firm called Smith Lawson & Company. cabot employs one regulated solicitor. That solicitor does not constitute a law firm called Morgan Solicitors. The practice outlined above, which is carried out by most other financial institutions is not unlawful, but it it unfair and misleading, as it gives the impression that the letters are from law firms which are separate entities, wheareas in fact they are not separate entities, but are simply the legal department of the relevant companies. This is what the FCA has acted upon in the case of Wonga, and I suspect there will be a lot more heard of these matters over the next year or so, and that this very unethical practice in the debt and finance industry will finally be forced to end. The two chief reason for financial institutions/debt collectors using this unfair and misleading practice are probably; 1. It is intended to give the impression that the letter is from a law firm, (and would therefore frighten most recipients). 2. It saves the financial institution/debt collecter many thousands of pounds each year, because they are not having to pay the professional fees of a regulated law firm
  8. Call it what you like, a regulatory fine, a bag of potatoes, or financial compensation, the outcome is that Wonga have been made to pay £2.6 million in compensation by the FCA, for carrying out unfair and misleading debt collection practices, which consisted of sending out letters which gave the impression that they came from law firms, when in fact they came from Wonga. - exactly the same (it now turns out) as all the other banks have been getting away with for years, including Cabot, who send out letters headed 'Morgan Solicitors" giving the impression that they came from a law firm called Morgan Solicitors, when the letters are actually from Cabot. FCA NEWS RELEASE: Wonga, the UK’s biggest payday lender, has entered an agreement with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which will see it pay compensation of over £2.6m to around 45,000 customers for unfair and misleading debt collection practices. In an investigation begun by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and taken forward by the FCA, Wonga was found to have sent letters to customers in arrears from non-existent law firms, threatening legal action. In some instances, Wonga also added charges to customers’ accounts to cover the administration fees associated with sending the letters. Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: “Wonga’s misconduct was very serious because it had the effect of exacerbating an already difficult situation for customers in arrears. We are pleased that Wonga has been working with us to put matters right for its customers and to ensure that these historical practices are truly a thing of the past. “The FCA expects firms to pay particular attention to fair treatment of those who have difficulty in meeting their loan repayments.” The failings, which took place between October 2008 and November 2010, saw Wonga, and other companies within its group, use unfair debt collection practices which put customers under great pressure to make loan repayments that many could not afford. During this time, Wonga sent communications to customers in arrears under the names “Chainey, D’Amato & Shannon” and “Barker and Lowe Legal Recoveries”, leading customers to believe that their outstanding debt had been passed to a law firm, or other third party. Further legal action was threatened if the debt was not repaid. In fact, neither Chainey D’Amato & Shannon nor Barker & Lowe existed and Wonga was using this tactic to maximise collections by piling the pressure on customers. Wonga is the UK’s biggest payday lender; in 2012 it made nearly four million loans to over one million customers. The agreement with the FCA says: Wonga must identify and pay redress to all affected customers. While some customers will receive cash, others will likely have their outstanding balance reduced. The FCA has appointed a skilled person to oversee the process and ensure that affected customers get what they are owed.
  9. Thats right. - as I said, Wonga has been ordered to pay £2.3 million compensation. -
  10. Wonga are home and dry then, they employ seven registered solicitors, Cabot employs only one solicitor (Mr Morgan) Why is FCA making Wonga pay £2.3 million compensation?
  11. Right, but 'Morgan Solicitor's' is not a law firm.
  12. That's right. In America it has been identified as 'Robosigning' ,- and it is coming to a debt collection company near you (it iwas already here, but has gone undetected until Wonga were caught out by FCA two weeks ago.) Definition of 'Robo-Signer' An employee of a mortgage servicing company that signs foreclosure documents without reviewing them. Rather than actually reviewing the individual details of each case, robo-signers assume the paperwork to be correct and sign it automatically, like robots. Investopedia explains 'Robo-Signer' In the third and fourth quarters of 2010, a robo-signing scandal emerged in the United States involving GMAC Mortgage and a number of major U.S banks. Banks had to halt thousands of foreclosures in numerous states when it became known that the paperwork was illegitimate because the signers had not actually reviewed it. While some robo-signers were middle managers, others were temporary workers with virtually no understanding of the work they were doing.
  13. From the Guardian: Britain's high-street banks are routinely issuing legal demands from what appear to be independent firms of solicitors designed to make struggling borrowers pay up. Yet the firms are not regulated by the legal profession's watchdog, and are simply names used by banks' in-house lawyers. Royal Bank of Scotland and its NatWest arm have been using Green & Co Solicitors in Telford; Lloyds Bank uses SCM Solicitors in Hove, East Sussex, and, until January this year, HSBC used DG Solicitors in Edgbaston, Birmingham. But a search of the register run by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reveals that none exist as an entity supervised by the regulator. The practice is legal because the letters are signed by a lawyer who is individually regulated by the SRA. Yet they give the impression to borrowers that their case has been escalated to a third party, using legal language such as "We are instructed by our client" and "We are likely to be instructed to commence court proceedings". The letter heading is near-identical, too, to that of an independent firm of solicitors, and typically uses a different address from that of the bank concerned. Critics claim that the letters can be confusing and a scare tactic designed to harass people into paying up. But the good news for consumers is that since Guardian Money and others began probing the issue, the SRA has revealed that it will soon issue guidance after receiving a number of complaints that had given it "cause for concern". And on Thursday, RBS disclosed that after a review of the letters it sends, it was stopping the use of any solicitor or debt-collection brand names that "could cause confusion". The banks use a form of wording in the small print of the demands that identifies the solicitor "firm" as a unit of the bank. RBS says Green & Co is the "practising name of solicitors employed by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group", while Lloyds says SCM is "part of the in-house litigation department of Lloyds Banking Group". Some will be surprised to learn that a company can explicitly use the word "solicitors" in its name and yet not be regulated as a firm by the SRA. The SRA said that SCM Solicitors, for example, ceased trading as an independent regulated law firm in 2011, adding: "The firm is not a firm as an entity – it's just a trading name." That, arguably, is a somewhat confusing distinction that may well be lost on the panicking recipients of the letters. After details of the "pseudo" solicitor firms emerged, the head of the powerful Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie MP, said: "Customers should know who they are dealing with—it seems they may not have done. I will be writing to the banks for clarification." The tactics banks use to persuade people to pay up have come under the spotlight after the already notorious case of payday lender Wonga. Last week it was ordered to pay £2.6m in compensation after it sent letters, to customers in arrears, from bogus law firms – such as Chainey D'Amato & Shannon – leading customers to believe that their outstanding debt had been passed to a law firm or another third party. There is no suggestion the banks are acting in the same way as Wonga. The crucial difference is that Wonga sent letters from fake lawyers, whereas the individuals signing the letters from the banks are authorised and regulated by the SRA. But there is concern that, unless the people who receive the letters study the small print, they may feel duped into believing that their bank has escalated their case to a third-party firm, and that proceedings are imminent.
  14. That is the point I was making. - "Morgan Solicitors" are not regulated by the SRA, Therefore why do they use the term "Solicitors" on their letters? An organisation should not describe itself as "Solicitors" unless it is regulated by the SRA. A trading name is just a trading name. It does not, of itself, provide legal entitlement to act as an SRA regulated solicitor. "Morgan Solicitors" is a trading name of Cabot Credit management Group. Cabot is not regulated by SRA as a solicitor. Therefore Cabot is no more entitled to act as a solicitor than the greengrocer down the road. - and that must apply to any trading name used by Cabot. Use of a trading name does not magically change Cabot (or their trading name) into a solicitor regulated by SRA. I am simply pointing this out to people who receive letters from Morgan Solicitors. They should be aware that Morgan Solicitors is not a law company, and is not regulated by SRA as a law company, and therefore has no right to act as a solicitor. Anyone who gets a letter from Morgan Solicitors might wish to write to Morgan Solicitors asking them to prove that they have the right to act as a solicitor regulated by the Solicitor's Regulation Authority.
  15. I have not had a letter from them. I am simply pointing out, for the benefit of consumers who may have received a letter from an organisation which identifies itself as "Morgan Solictors", that there is no such company registered at Companies House, and there is no such company regulated by the SRA. Just be aware then, if you choose to reply to a letter from that organisation, that it does not legally exist.
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