Vulnerable Persons Policy
Clear Legal Marketing Limited is committed to ensuring that customers who exhibit vulnerable characteristics are recognised and safeguarded against the risk of harm.
Our regulator, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), expects firms like us to treat all our customers fairly and when dealing with people with vulnerable characteristics, take account of such vulnerability to ensure that the way that we sell and provide our services does not cause them harm.
As a result, Clear Legal Marketing Limited gives consideration to potentially vulnerable customers at all stages of our process from our marketing material right through to process and customer care.
What is a vulnerable customer?
The FCA defines a vulnerable customer as 'someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.'
What do we do to reduce the risk of harm to vulnerable customers?
- We will strive to understand the vulnerable customers' needs.
- We will ensure our staff have the necessary skills and capability to recognise vulnerability and deal with it appropriately.
- Where appropriate we will ensure our customer service is designed to allow for flexibility when dealing with vulnerable customers and highlight support available to them.
- We will ensure that all communications are designed to be easily understood and, where possible, in a format that is preferable to the vulnerable customer. We will communicate regularly to keep them up to date with any development on their case.
- We will monitor individual vulnerable customers on an ongoing basis but also review and monitor our performance on behalf of vulnerable customers on a bi-annual basis.
- We will consider impact of our service on vulnerable customers at all stages of the process.
Key drivers of vulnerability
The FCA highlight the following key drivers of vulnerability:-
- Health - health conditions or illnesses that affect ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
- Life events - life events such as bereavement, job loss or relationship breakdown.
- Resilience - low ability to withstand financial or emotional shocks.
- Capability - low knowledge of financial matters or low confidence in managing money (financial capability). Low capability in other relevant areas such as literacy, or digital skills.
How do we manage the risks more commonly associated with our target customer base?
Customer with reduced financial capability/resilience
Although we believe the potential for harm to customers with reduced financial resilience is likely to be low, here are some of the measures we have in place to further reduce the risk:-
- Our fees are prescribed by the FCA under the Claims Management Fee Cap and as a result we are unable to charge outside those parameters.
- We only ever charge our customers where they are in receipt of a cash refund. This means that where a customer receives 100% of their compensation as a balance reduction, we do not charge that customer for our services. Where the customer's compensation is made both a balance reduction and a cash refund We also cap our fees at no more than the cash refund they receive.
The above ensures that our fees are reasonable and we do not put our customers in further financial difficulty.
Poor Language, literacy or Digital Skills
Again the potential harm from issues with language, literacy and digital skills is relatively low. This is because we initially engage with all our customers through digital platforms.
However, to keep the risk low we adopt the following precautions:-
- We explain at various stages in the process that our primary method of communication will be through digital formats. This is because we need to limit communication so that we can adopt a streamlined process which allows us to limit our fees as explained above.
- However, we do also explain that in exceptional circumstances we will accommodate customers who need alternative methods of communication.
- All communications are carefully written in Plain English to allow for greater understanding by all levels of cognition
- All clients have 14 day cooling off period in which they can terminate their agreement. However, in certain circumstances, if a client wishes to cancel their agreement outside the 14 day cooling off period due to a specific vulnerability, we will not unreasonably refuse.
Staff Skills and Capability
It is important that all our staff understand how their role can affect vulnerable consumer, how to recognise signs of vulnerability and what they should do if they believe someone might be vulnerable.
To make sure of this, all staff are provided with training on customer vulnerability.
Vulnerable consumers are more likely to have different service needs. Therefore, we ensure that our customer service provision meets the needs of vulnerable consumers, otherwise they could exacerbate the risk of harm from being vulnerable.
In order to do so we have adopted the following considerations:-
- Where a member of staff identifies a potential for vulnerability, they will consider whether it is appropriate to allow for variances to the usual process.
- We ensure, where appropriate, customers are aware that they could elect for third party representation from one of the following:-
- Someone with Power of Attorney
- A Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection OR
- Where the customer understands the meaning of consent, a signed statement asking us to liaise with a third party representative
- We record all interactions with the customers within the case management system so that all staff members can easily access the information.
To ensure that our communications are effective in reducing harm to vulnerable customers, the following provisions have been established:-
- All communications including marketing materials are written in Plain English and provided in a legible format.
- If a customer requests communication in a format outside the usual methods, we will do our very best to accommodate the customer's requests.
- The customer is kept updated throughout the key stages of the process
- The customer is provided with contact details should they wish to discuss their case at any time.
Monitoring and evaluation
To ensure that we monitor and evaluate how we deal with vulnerable customers, we have specific processes in place where a customer is identified as potentially vulnerable.
We also monitor feedback and data on vulnerable customers to ensure any trends are spotted and any necessary improvements are implemented.
What should you do if you believe you are vulnerable customer?
If you believe any of the above relate to your circumstances and you would like us to take that into account when dealing with your case, please let us know immediately and we will do our best to accommodate your requirements.
Phone: 0161 249 7885
Post: Units 115-119 Timber Wharf, 42-50 Worlsey Street, Manchester. M15 4LD