Wonga, one of the biggest UK payday loan companies, was recently found sending fake legal letters to customers to chase up debts. We therefore thought we’d tell our readers about the legal implications in-house solicitors face if caught sending fake debt letters.
Wonga wasn’t the only company found sending the fake legal letters, as Lloyds Banks was also found guilty of the crime – that’s right, we said crime, because that’s what it is.
Any solicitor worth their practising certificate should know that Section 21 of the Solicitors Act 1974 makes it an offence for an unqualified person to act as a solicitor – so any firm pretending to be a soliciting firm is committing a legal offence. However, if a solicitor is found guilty of misconduct, the consequences could be a lot more drastic.
Many of the pseudo-firms that were employed by banks were reportedly trade names of their in-house legal teams – meaning qualified solicitors were involved. However, the correspondence their customers received gave the impression that the letter was written by an independent firm. If the letters were written by qualified in-house solicitors, they would face serious repercussions from the SRA, as investigations would be launched, and could result in a lawyer maybe removed from the practising roll.
Anyone suffering from debt should contact StepChange for help and support, or they can opt for a debt management plan for a more affordable monthly debt repayment plan. Anyone who believes they have received a fake debt letter can report it to the Financial Conduct Authority.