Help - I've been ripped off by a dodgy claims firm

Published by on 07 December 2010.
Last updated on 10 December 2010

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Q: My husband and I were taken in by Cartel Group, which has since gone bust.

We paid £495 upfront by credit card so it could reduce payments on our mortgage, and £110 'insurance' so it could save us money on one of our credit cards. Looking back, it really was all too good to be true. Can we claim the the money back?

Moneywise says...

A: Hundreds of people have made similar complaints about claims management company Cartel Group, which was closed down by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in March 2010.
The MoJ says that it's not its responsibility to intervene in a private contractual agreement. However, you can check if a company is legitimate through the MoJ's sister site
But, even if a claims management company is authorised by the MoJ, the following words, bolded up on the website, don't exactly give claims management companies in general a ringing endorsement: "Authorisation does not mean that a business is recommended or endorsed by the Ministry of Justice."

The good news is that you can still get your money back. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you can claim your money back from your credit card provider. If it declines this request, you can appeal through the Financial Ombudsman Service.

• Following Moneywise's advice, Dawn was successful in getting her credit card company, HSBC, to refund the full £605.

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