Using an unqualified Benefits Investigation Advisor could cost you dear.
You are worried about your Benefits Investigation. Be careful not to waste your money and get a poor result by using unqualified Benefits advisors who are currently advertising on the Web. To all extents and purposes their websites look like law firms. The name sounds like a law firm, the site looks like a law firm, the promises are promises that may be made by a law firm; but they are in fact unregulated, unqualified and unscrupulous operators. They promise expert advice on Benefits Investigations. Often the first interview is free. But beware because you will not get value for money or even accurate advice from these organisations who are simply out to take your money. They can do so with impunity because they are unregulated and providing they are not being deceptive or holding themselves out as solicitors or barristers will not have committed any offence.
Here are two examples:
Our client had been to see a firm of Benefits Advisors in central London. He was being investigated for a high value benefit fraud. The advisors said that they would take a statement from him, send it to the investigators and that he would not then have to attend for interview.
They charged him £2500 and took a long statement from him. They called the Local Authority who unsurprisingly insisted that he still had to come in for interview. The advisors said they would not be able to attend the interview.
No progress had been made in his case. The advisors had not established the evidence against him and would not be able to obtain disclosure at the interview because they would not be there.
The client then instructed Moss & Co. We charged him our fixed fee of £300 plus VAT, took his full instructions and attended the interview with him. We advised him to say nothing. The case is ongoing.
Our client came to us after attending a free interview with a firm of benefits advisors. they were not solicitors. After the interview our client was persuaded to part with £200 so that a statement could be drafted to send to the DWP. She was told that they would probably be able to persuade the DWP to drop the case. The DWP disagreed and still wanted to interview her. The advisor then asked for a further £900 to arrange for a solicitor to attend the interview. Our client decided to cur her losses and instructed us.
It is very bad tactics to prepare a statement and send it to the investigator before you know their case against you. You could be disclosing additional evidence to help their case.
Your advisor should always obtain disclosure of the evidence as otherwise they cannot advise you how to respond in interview
We do not know of any case where the investigators have agreed not to interview.
Make sure that whoever you decide to instruct that they are properly qualified and have the relevant experience. You can check if your advisor is a firm of solicitors here
You can see some of our recent cases here