Top Welsh firm Hugh James has become the latest to target the nascent business energy claims market after joining the legal panel for a leading claims company in the sector.
It has joined PG Legal in Gateshead, Leeds firm 3Volution and national practice Clarke Willmott on the panel for Business Energy Claims.
This area of legal practice came to the fore last month when private equity-backed Winn Solicitors announced plans to hire more than 100 new staff to handle mis-sold business energy contracts in a bid to diversify from its core personal injury business.
Business Energy Claims says that “a large percentage” of energy brokers/consultants – which number more than 2,000 – make “misleading statements about how they are paid and why they are recommending certain deals or suppliers”, driven by financial motives.
Director Callum Thompson said: “We are determined to leave no stone unturned as we recover losses for thousands of companies and the support of law firms as prestigious and dedicated as this is hugely important to us as we continue to grow our client base.”
Hugh James partner Neil Stockdale, head of the financial mis-selling team, said: “It is vitally important that those in the energy sector which have misled their clients – for example, by not declaring commissions – are brought to task and forced to repay those hard-working businesses who placed their trust in them and were ultimately let down.”
Other firms actively marketing for this work include Nottingham-based DWS Solicitors, ORJ Solicitors in Stafford and Manchester firm Quanta Law.
Writing on the ORJ website, director Mike Smyth said identified two particular scams have caused severe damage to victims over recent years.
“In one scenario, the broker says a substantial government grant (around £30,000) will be paid following a switch to a new provider. This will allow the broker to take their fee, while still leaving a major bonus for the customer.
“A classic win/win. In reality, no such grant exists and the energy contracts entered into are often much more expensive than before.
“Another familiar ruse involves duping clients to give their signature on letters of authority. These are then used to switch suppliers without informed consent – and at great cost to the customer.”