Although the Government has recently announced it will grant new powers to the Information Commissioner’s Office to levy individual fines of up to £500,000 for company directors whose businesses cold call, National Accident Helpline, the company behind the Ethical Marketing Charter, says more needs to be done. It is calling for the gap in current rules, which allow firms to make cold calls to consumers who are not registered with the Telephone Preference Service, to be closed.
Launching a new action plan to stop nuisance calls, the Ethical Marketing Charter is urging the Government to:
- Ensure that the Ministry of Justice make immediate changes to claims management regulations to ban claims management companies from cold calling;
- Require the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ‘name and shame’ rogue law firms and take strong enforcement action against firms that accept leads generated through nuisance calls;
- Put an immediate stop to ‘phoenixing’ – where claims management companies that have been forced to cease trading relaunch under a different name; and
- Place the Information Commissioner’s Office’s direct marketing guidance on a statutory footing.
The Ethical Market Charter is also urging consumers and legal professionals to follow through cold calls to the law firm paying for the leads and to report them to the Charter via its website.
Simon Trott, Managing Director of National Accident Helpline, founder of the Ethical Marketing Charter, said:
“Despite recent action by the Government to help tackle nuisance calls, rogue firms are still cold calling consumers. The enforcement of the rule which prevents law firms from accepting leads generated through nuisance calls also isn’t strong enough.
That’s why we’re calling on the Chancellor to implement this action plan in the Autumn Statement. Only through doing so can we cut cold calls at source, prevent rogue firms from dodging the ban, reduce the demand for leads made by nuisance calls, and ensure that any breaches of the rules are enforced by the law.”
Over the coming year, National Accident Helpline, alongside fellow signatories, will actively make the case to the Government and key regulatory bodies to implement the Charter’s action plan to stamp out nuisance calls for the interest of consumers.
Matt Currie, Head of Motor at Irwin Mitchell, commented:
“This action plan will help to cut cold calls off at source. This type of marketing is a nuisance to consumers as well as misleading them and damaging the reputation of the legal profession – the Government has an opportunity to address this issue in the Autumn Statement.”
Tim Blackwell, Partner at Lester Aldridge, said:
“This action plan will make sure companies that break marketing rules face the full force of the law. Ethical working practices are crucial in protecting consumers and that’s why Lester Aldridge wants to see the Government take action to stop nuisance calls for good.”
For more details on the Ethical Marketing Charter and its action plan to stop nuisance calls, visit www.ethicalmarketing.org.uk.
Notes to editors
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About the Ethical Marketing Charter
The Ethical Marketing Charter is an industry-led initiative, established by National Accident Helpline and seven inaugural signatories including leading law firms Irwin Mitchell and Hodge Jones & Allen, which allows companies in the personal injury sector to take a public stand against unethical marketing practices. Since its founding in July 2015, the Charter has secured more than 70 signatories from across the personal injury industry to commit to never cold call, never trade in accident data, nor use misleading advertising. To find out more about the initiative, visit www.ethicalmarketing.org.uk.
About National Accident Helpline
National Accident Helpline is the UK’s leading provider of personal injury advice, services and support, and represents 50 legal practices across the UK. If a consumer has suffered an accident or injury which was someone else’s fault we can help them understand if they have a legitimate claim and we will connect them with one of our specialist personal injury panel solicitor firms, so they can seek appropriate redress. For more information, www.nationalaccidenthelpline.co.uk.