A further complaint about the Co-operative Legal Service – 2


Our earlier posts on this subject were based on information from a young solicitor who moved on the CLS to a firm in which he felt his principles were not being compromised. In August we were sent another complaint from a CLS customer:

“Following the funeral of my father – a committed trade unionist, lifelong Labour party member and a member of the Co-operative – I was ‘cold-called’ by the Co-op regarding their legal service.”

Further serious allegations about their handling of the state followed and two experienced members offered to take the matter further after a complaint had been made, with little redress offered.

An enormous amount of pressure put on an experienced member from ‘above’

“The experienced member who offered to take the matter further was very helpful. He ‘ruffled a few feathers’ for me and it all seemed that my issues would be resolved. However, he later contacted me and said that due to pressure put on him by other members of the Co-operative, he was unable to help me any more. There is no doubt that an enormous amount of pressure was put on him from ‘above’ to stop his involvement in my case. I remain deeply grateful to him for his valued support. He advised me to contact someone from my own area who would be able to support me. When I made contact with the responsible person for the South East, he referred me back to the CLS.

“Initially I raised a complaint against CLS about their lack of work regarding my late father’s estate, mis-selling of the policy, breach of data protection to name just a few issues. I was offered a refund of £1,000 + VAT in respect of my fees  . . .

“When I raised my complaint to the next level, I was offered a full refund of my fees. I did not accept this at this stage as I deemed that it was not an offer of compensation, but was a refund of my father’s own money. I therefore deferred this offer as settlement of my complaint.

Threat: if you take your complaint to the Legal Services Ombudsman . . .

“Following the second complaint, I received notification from a senior member of staff at CLS called Mr Atkin. I found Mr Atkin’s letter to me extremely abrupt and insensitive. After deferring the offer of the return of my fees, he wrote another abrupt letter informing me that if I took my complaint to the Legal Services Ombudsman, I would be lucky to receive £300 compensation . . .

“After careful consideration, I wrote back to Mr Atkin on 29th October 2012 accepting the return of the fees as full and final settlement of my complaint. Mr Atkin has failed to respond to this letter or send me the agreed refund.

“I am now at the stage where I am going to refer this matter to the Legal Services Ombudsman. I didn’t want to do this but I just want (and need) some closure.”

But – happily – this message was sent a few days later:

“I can confirm that I received a letter from the CLS today, together with a cheque to cover the return of my fees!”

Ed: Not the CLS’ finest hour!

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