The Law Society, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) last week put a ban on cold calling at the forefront of their joint campaign to ward off the personal injury reforms.
This article first appeared in Legal Futures, 19 December 2016
They said the government should focus on ending the activities of cold callers “who seek to profit from bogus or exaggerated claims”, rather than introduce the reforms.
In one of the first clear fruits of their co-working, a joint press release said the news that the Telephone Preference Service – which enables consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls – was moving from Ofcom to the Information Commissioners’ Office was “a missed opportunity to tackle the problem of nuisance calls, unsolicited and unwanted marketing messages, plus spam texts for personal injury”.
They said that until there was a ban, “unscrupulous operators will find a way around the rules, which are opaque and difficult to navigate”.
Last month, there was anger after the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced that the government would ban cold-calling in relation to pensions, but made no mention of personal injury.
Law Society president Robert Bourns said: “Rather than trying to abolish or reduce compensation for the vast majority of genuine claimants, the government should take firm action to end the activities of cold callers who seek to profit from bogus or exaggerated claims.”
APIL president Neil Sugarman added: “The government has just published proposals which will take the rights of injured people back to the dark ages when what it needs to do is tackle the scourge of cold calling
“Cold calling is at the very core of misconceptions about claiming for personal injury, and is at the root of these unfair and unnecessary proposals. Cold calling is universally detested yet the government would rather punish genuinely injured people than tackle the real problem.”
MASS chair Simon Stanfield said: “Solicitors have long been banned from making unsolicited texts and calls, but it is clear that data for cold calls is mined, sold and re-sold by a variety of organisations across the personal injury sector. CMCs are undoubtedly the worst offenders, but they are not alone.
“The only solution is a complete ban on unsolicited texts and cold calls. If the current regulatory regime does not have the legal powers, we shall continue to press for a commitment to ban them under the stronger powers available to the Financial Conduct Authority once it takes full responsibility for regulating claims management companies from April 2018.”