Phillipson Hardwick Advisory LTD
in Reclaim PPI & other insurance
7 replies 7.1K views
On Monday, I received a letter from HMRC showing tax calculations dating back to 2018, with a sentence that said ‘what happens next’ ..
‘We will send a cheque to PHILLIPSON HARDWICK ADVISORY LTD for the amount shown within 14 days of this letter’.
The letter was dated 20/11, and I received it on 27/11.
I had no idea what this was about, who Phillipson Hardwick were and what was this rebate about.
Google gave me a number in Manchester that I rang to be told ‘no advisors are available, please try later’ and promptly hung up on me.
Tried ringing back half a dozen times and then tried HMRC.
HMRC told me they had received a legal document (R40) signed by me and a box ticked asking them to send the payment to PHA. I explained that a) I have never signed anything pertaining to tax rebate; b) I’ve never heard of PHA and c) I have never asked anyone to do a tax claim for me. The girl told me I had to ring Action Fraud and ring HMRC back with the crime number in order to put a stop to the cheque issuing, which I immediately did.
The man I spoke to action fraud told me to ask HMRC to double check that I was entitled to the rebate and to ask what had been claimed (ie working from home or expenses) as if they had been claimed for and I’m not entitled to make these claims, HMRC could, later down the line come after me for the money back. This terrified me as you can imagine.
I phoned HMRC, gave them the crime number and was told I would now receive a callback from their specialist team. This all took place Monday.
I gave them the day on Tuesday to ring me back and heard nothing.
So on Wednesday I phoned HMRC again. To be told there’s nothing they can do, the cheque issued to PHA on 21/11 and I had to contact the Financial Conduct Authority.
I rang financial conduct authority, but they couldn’t help me because this company isn’t governed by them. They sent me to the information commissioners office, but ICO couldn’t help me because they will only deal with the data protection aspect ie how did this company got my details, BUT before they could help me, I had find out from PHA how they got my details.. I can’t get through to the PHA and the only email address is a generic ‘[email protected]…’
I have no idea who PHA is, or if the number I am ringing is the right number. Their website says they’re registered with ICO, but the ICO could only find a solicitors company with the name.
I was starting to worry that PHA had made this claim on behalf without my knowledge and HMRC pays them and then realised it was a mistake and then come after me for the amount they stated!
I spent the evening worrying and crying and not sleeping!
A solicitor friend of mine suggested I ring HMRC again and insist that they put a stop on the cheque and send me the document purported to be signed by me.
Today, finally, I managed to get someone at HMRC who listened to me, understood my fears and put a stop on the cheque immediately. He went on to explain that the R40 claim was in relation to PPI on any savings, investments or dividends I had received since 2018. I was shocked! I do have, nor have I ever had savings, investments or dividends, so what PPI could they possibly be claiming.
Has anyone else been in this position? If so, what was the outcome?
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Did you make a PPI claim? Did you pay tax on the statutory interest that was added?
If you look on here you'll find many stories of people clicking on adverts on Facebook and such about making reclaims, most admit to having filled in an enquiry form or such but then never hearing anything else until the HMRC letter arrives
Similar to OP I got an unexpected letter from HMRC offering a tax refund of <£100 and saying the cheque would go to Philipson Hardwick Advisory ("PHA").
I checked all my email accounts and could not find an email from them anywhere. This reinforced my scam conclusion.
Then I did a lot of googling, read the forums, etc, and someone asked if I'd clicked on a Facebook/other social media ad offering a free HMRC refund check service. I saw others who had received payouts from PHA.
Ah-ah I thought. I did have the vaguest memory of clicking on an advert like that (why not? it was free, no win-no fee, etc). This would have been a few months ago.
To my surprise, I then got a text from them (PHA) to say they'd received a cheque from HMRC, please log into their website to get the difference paid. PHA required 1 form of ID and 1 proof of address, which I provided. I've not yet received the payment but I will follow up on this forum when I do.
I also looked into the firm. As others have said, are not FCA regulated (they are a Solicitors specializing in PPI and other claims, not a finance company, so I can't see that FCA regulation applies).
They are "authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA 656089". I then checked out the SRA and searched for that number and the company came up. Their head of legal and head of finance and administration are named.
In my view, barring driving to Manchester and checking out the offices, they seem to be as legitimate as one can be as far as an online search goes.
IIRC they were up-front about their fee being 48% in the small print. TBH I was not expecting to get anything; and I would not have known where to begin to claim it back, so I'm happy with the result for literally no effort on my behalf.
So in conclusion, I am one of those who likes a freebie at no apparent risk. I got a reasonable PPI payment and so did the company doing the paperwork for me a few years ago. I see there are others who prefer to do the work themselves. That's a personal choice.
If I were PHA, I would however make a few changes:
1. EMAIL the people who have filled in your enquiry form. They will then have a record of their interactions with you. Also remind them in the email what they've signed up for and how to cancel if they so choose
2. Get more people to answer the phones or invest in an answering service or chatbot to manage queries from nervous/forgetful clients like me
3. If the claim is successful, email rather than text the client. It just seems more legit.
4. Draft a reply to MSE to clarify any misinformation on this forum.
Hope this helps someone!
HMRC don't just "offer" tax refunds.
They are based on the information supplied to them, whether it be from an employer, DWP, bank/building society or yourself (or your agent/accountant).
Socks the refund based on the correct information i.e. you did actually get some statutory interest (paid alongside a PPI refund) in the tax year the refund is for?
NB: HMRC do reconcillations via PAYE and make repayments but they do not assume expenses etc, this appears to have happened as a result of R40 claims