Class action firm Pogust Goodhead has had to write to the 1.8m clients of its MyDieselClaim brand to correct a “typographical error” in its paperwork that said its fees were capped at 35% of damages, rather than 50%.
The emails have provoked a stream of negative online comments from clients, with some saying they had cancelled their claims for emissions fraud as a result.
The heavily advertised MyDieselClaim is now scoring just 1.3 (out of five) on Trustpilot and Pogust Goodhead a modest 3.2. Reviewers cannot give less than one star. MyDieselClaim has a better 3.6 score on Feefo.
A spokeswoman for the firm, which says nearly 1.8m clients have signed up to MyDieselClaim, said: “We can confirm that an email has been sent out to all MyDieselClaim clients [last week] bringing their attention to an error that has been made in the small print of our conditional fee agreements.
“This relates to a reference of our fees being capped at 35%. This should, as it does in every other section, read 50%.
“In all other documentation and websites, including MoneySavingExpert, we have been clear from the beginning of the legal process that our fees are capped at 50% of damages received.
“However, this typographical error has been spotted in one aspect of the form and so it is our duty to inform our clients of this.
“We are endeavouring to speak to all clients who have any issues and we have given all clients the opportunity to opt out of the claim should they feel they no longer wish to continue.”
To judge by the comments left on Trustpilot, many clients did not understand the nature of the error and believed that the law firm was increasing its cap from 35% to 50%. “I have never known a firm to change their price part way through a process,” wrote one.
Another said: “As soon as they put up the rate of 50% I cancelled the agreement, I suggest everyone else does the same”
A third wrote: “Totally unacceptable from a supposed reputable legal company. 15% x the numbers of claims submitted equals a huge increase in their profits.”
Although Pogust Goodhead responds to reviews on its own Trustpilot profile, it does not appear to do so for MyDieselClaim.
Its replies apologised for the error and confusion, with one stressing that the firm’s fees could end up being “as low as 20%” of the compensation.
Several reviewers also complained that the email was received in the middle of the night.