Collective redress: Claims that get consumers justice

8 min read
July 01, 2024

Whether it’s the water companies dumping sewage into our rivers and seas, or supermarkets bumping up their prices and profit margins during a cost-of-living crisis, it can feel like exploitation from all sides without any recourse to action. 

We have made it our mission to help UK consumers speak up and take action on the issues they care about. And this year we want to ensure that more consumers have their voices heard and can make a difference than ever before. 

To do so, we will focus on issues where there is a possibility for collective redress – bringing your attention to effective ways of taking action on the issues that have left you and other consumers out of pocket.  

What is collective redress?

Under UK law consumers have the right to seek accessible, appropriate and adequate redress should they be mistreated, exploited or damaged by companies and their practices. 

In a nutshell, “redress” is about having a wrong put right. This includes the full range of legal remedies, such as compensation covering direct losses or damages over goods bought or services rendered. 

Collective redress allows many individual claims relating to the same case or issue to be bundled together into a single action. In other words, a group of consumers can jointly bring a court case and obtain compensation for damage if it comes from the same source. 

In this way, collective redress is also a procedural mechanism that can be enacted by the courts to allow for more efficiency in enforcing the law. 

When claims are brought together as a collective redress, the burden on individual claimants is reduced and more people can get fair treatment and justice. 

How have collective redress claims been managed in the past?

Probably the most well-known example of collective redress is Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). When the industry-wide practice of selling PPI to people who didn’t want or need it was branded as mis-selling by the courts, it became  the biggest financial services scandal  in UK history. 

Following the court ruling, anyone who had been mis-sold a PPI policy was able to seek their own redress – including a refund of the premiums they had paid plus additional interest of 8% for being deprived of this money. 

PPI is a perfect example of how collective redress allows for the case management of claims that share a common basis in the law. 

A new era of collective redress 

PPI has been centre stage for many years. But there are all kinds of other issues that consumers could tackle through the same mechanism of collective redress. 

We’ve always wanted to help consumers raise and manage their own complaints and claims for free. But we are also aware that some people or issues require more support than we can provide. 

As we move forward from PPI and try to raise awareness about ways of collectively claiming fairer treatment on other issues, we know that there has to be more cooperation between individuals pursuing their claims independently and larger organisations that could aid and assist them – whether it’s legal firms, charities or Claims Management Companies (CMCs).

As a new era of collective redress dawns, we want to find new ways of being transparent and straightforward about the best way for individual consumers, legal and government organisations, and companies like CMCs to work cooperatively in the name of fairness. 

Along with raising awareness about ongoing legal actions, we want to make it easier for people to raise effective claims in the way that is right for them. 

In the end, the more people who complain or raise claims the bigger their impact on problematic industries, sectors or bad business practices. 

What claims are we covering?

There is a whole range of big issues that are ripe for more engagement by consumers and broader collective action. 

Currently active: Plevin on PPI 

In 2014, Sue Plevin went to the Supreme Court to obtain redress for the undisclosed commission taken by the broker of her PPI policy – which was as high as 78%! 

Unlike previous PPI claims, which centred on the mis-selling of the policies, the Plevin Claim targeted the hidden commission which, if it had been disclosed, would have led the customer to question what she was being sold. 

So even if your claim for a mis-sold PPI policy was rejected, you may still be eligible for compensation if the hidden commission on your policy was unreasonably high. If you make a successful Plevin claim you could receive a full refund of PPI premiums paid, or at the very least the amount of undisclosed commissions. 

If any of the following apply to you, there may be the possibility of claiming Plevin on a past PPI policy: 

  • You did not make a previous PPI claim
  • You had a PPI claim rejected in full
  • Your previous PPI claim was rejected as not mis-sold, but you received a payment for some commission element under the FCA scheme. 
  • You have had a successful PPI claim but had your award reduced due to having claimed under the PPI policy

The Group Litigation Order (GLO) that legal experts Harcus Parker are initiating will allow everyday consumers to unlock potentially £18b of PPI commission claims that the banks have, so far, successfully blocked. 

Check if you’re eligible and join the GLO now 

Launching this week: PCP

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) are flexible finance plans that allow people to borrow money for a vehicle purchase and then pay it back in monthly instalments. They may well be the next big financial scandal. 

In 2020 the FCA banned particular forms of commission following an investigation into car finance and widespread tactics being used by dealers when it came to undisclosed commissions and high interest rates. 

They estimated that due to these unfair practices consumers were paying an extra £300 million annually for their vehicle finance.

It’s still early days, but several recent court cases have shown that there are grounds for consumers to make Plevin-style claims against dealerships for PCP interest rates and undisclosed commissions. 

Sign up to our Newsletter to get the latest news on the PCP GLO 

Dieselgate: a Diesel Emission scandal

The scandal known as Dieselgate refers to the 2015 revelations that a number of car manufacturers were using illegal technologies known as ‘defeat devices’ to cheat emissions tests and conceal the true level of pollution produced by the vehicles they sell. 

Seven years after the scandal first broke, it is estimated that thirteen million diesel cars that produce ‘extreme’ levels of toxic air pollution are still on the roads in the UK and Europe. 

Auto manufacturers in Europe have not yet been held to account or made to deliver effective solutions for their endangerment of citizens’ health. There’s only been a small amount of recalls and it remains unclear if repairs are effective or not. 

Individual consumers can now seek financial compensation through class action lawsuits. And with the introduction of ULEZ and other costs for high-emissions vehicles, it is more vital than ever that consumers take action and get compensated for the mis-advertising of diesel vehicles. 

The deadline to join the Mercedes GLO has now passed – but you can sign up for updates about future Diselgate claims.

Supermarket Equal Pay Claims

Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys and other UK supermarkets may not have been abiding by the Equality Act – paying different wages for employees working in-store and in distribution centres. 

The hourly rate of pay and other entitlements of store employees is lower than those working in distribution centres – this difference reflects the gender pay gap and tends to disadvantage women compared to men because more in-store employees are women. 

Current and former employees of any gender may have the right to claim unpaid wages going back six years. The claims would fall under a “breach of contract” claim. To qualify, individuals would have to provide proof of employment and their National Insurance number. 

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know when we launch supermarket equal pay claims 

Business Energy 

As well as financial products, there is evidence that large amounts of secret commission have been paid by energy suppliers to energy brokers, with the hidden costs passed on to bill payers. 

Trade groups have been demanding that Ofgem tackle the rogue energy brokers “ripping off” small firms and local communities. These hidden fees have been at play in the uplift of the unit cost of supply, with regular people footing the bill created by these predatory middlemen. 

Sign up here for information about business energy claims

Housing Disrepairs 

After more than a decade of aggressive cuts to social housing and the deregulation of the private rental market, the conditions of UK housing is beyond dire. 

Following the tragedy of Grenfell, residents of social housing and homeowners alike have been saddled with enormous costs of replacing unsafe cladding – much of which was installed by building companies that were aware of the fact that it did not meet safety standards when it was installed.

Issues like damp and mould have only worsened as people struggle to pay the bills and maintain adequately heated homes. There have been several high-profile deaths of tenants, including of young children, that have been linked to terrible conditions in private and social housing. 

Get updates on housing disrepair claims via the Resolver Newsletter 

And more…

From mortgage prisoners to data breaches, there are even more issues that we anticipate consumers being able to take action on this year.

Our articles on the Resolver blog, our consumer newsletter and our claim-specific email campaigns aim to keep you informed about new kinds of collective redress, help you find out if you were affected, and offer guidance on effective ways to take action.



Share this:


Need to resolve an issue? Let's get this sorted.

No Comments