Following a string of complaints about The Hearing Clinic, many from consumers who had previously registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), a £220,000 fine was imposed on the Derby-based firm which had been found to be calling millions of people regarding Noise-Induced Hearing Loss claims.
It is the first such sanction to be levied against a CMC since the Government changed the law in December 2014, giving the CMR power to impose fines on organisations which fall foul of its code of conduct.
“Companies should be in no doubt that if they break the rules we won’t hesitate to fine them.”
Kevin Rousell, head of the Claims Management Regulator
Russell Atkinson, the CEO of National Accident Helpline which has campaigned against nuisance marketing, welcomed the fine: “Cold calls are at best annoying, and at worst damaging, often targeting the most vulnerable in society.
“That is why, with the support of other industry leaders, regulators and parliamentarians, National Accident Helpline set up the Ethical Marketing Charter last month in order to stamp out such bad practice and to provide greater protection for consumers.”
All signatories to the Ethical Marketing Charter commit to never cold calling or buying and selling accident data unethically.
The Ministry of Justice has revealed that in 2014/15, 296 claims firms received warnings with regard to their conduct and that 105 had their licences revoked. The Hearing Clinic was warned that it could face suspension or closure if it continued to break the rules.
“The new fines mean we have greater powers to crack down on claims management companies that make nuisance calls,” said Kevin Rousell, head of the CMR.
“Companies should be in no doubt that if they break the rules then we won’t hesitate to fine them in addition to the tough action we already take.”
Kevin Rousell has commented positively on the recently launched Ethical Marketing Charter saying, “The Claims Management Regulator has been working hard to ensure that CMCs behave in an ethical and responsible manner. Any steps by the industry itself that may help improve practices and raise standards are to be welcomed. Bad conduct plagues the reputation of the claims management sector and all CMCs should commit to stamping out bad practice.”
If you’d like to find out more about the Ethical Marketing Charter and our fight against nuisance marketing take a look at our FAQs page.