08 Feb 2016

Freshfields criticised over ScottishPower advice

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been accused of being 'dishonest' by a whistleblower before MPs last week in relation to its role as adviser to ScottishPower, which is embroiled in a £75m 'cashback guarantee' scandal.


Whistleblower Alan Campbell is a former director of credit company PowerPlan, which was established as an independent entity to issue warranties to customers through ScottishPower’s high street shops. He claims ScottishPower ‘entered into untruths’ with regulators ‘supported by their lawyers’ over the sale of PowerPlan to retailer Powerhouse, which is now in liquidation.

Warranty scheme collapse

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) hearing in which the claims were made is the latest challenge to ScottishPower, which stands accused of profiting from the warranty scheme’s collapse. The scheme went bust not long after its sale in 2004, leaving 625,000 consumers unable to reclaim funds on ‘cashback’ warranties.

Freshfields ‘fundamentally responsible’

Liquidators to PowerPlan, which launched a legal challenge against ScottishPower last year, claim the company was misled when accepting a £6m settlement from the energy giant and say it was a fraction of the amount that should have been paid to meet money-back promises. TMP liquidator Douglas McDonald said he believed Freshfields was ‘fundamentally responsible’ for the settlement, which he now wants ruled null and void.

A spokesperson for Freshfields described the allegations as ‘entirely without merit and emphatically rejected.’ Sources: The Lawyer; ScottishPower Broken Promises