The Law Society is backing a campaign urging the Government to extend the ban on pensions cold calls to cover unsolicited telemarketing for personal injury claims, arguing that unscrupulous operators will always find a way around the proposed new rules.
The campaign follows the launch of a Ministry of Justice consultation on plans to reduce the “unacceptably” high number of whiplash claims and supposedly allow insurers to cut insurance premiums.
Other measures include plans to either scrap the right to compensation or, alternatively, put a cap on the amount people can claim for minor soft-tissue injuries. In addition, the small claims limit will be raised from £1,000 to £5,000 and there will be a ban on offers to settle claims without medical evidence.
In response, the Society has now joined forces with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society to combat what they claim are the real threat; the cold callers.
They insist the Goverment “missed [the opportunity to tackle the problem of nuisance calls, unsolicited and unwanted marketing messages, plus spam texts for personal injury” when it announced it was moving the Telephone Preference Service from Ofcom to the Information Commissioners’ Office.
While solicitors are permitted to run TV and press ads, they have long been banned from making unsolicited texts and calls. However, the groups insist it is clear that data for cold calls is mined, sold and resold by a variety of organisations across the personal injury sector.
Claims management companies are undoubtedly the worst offenders, but they are not alone, they said.
And Law Society president Robert Bourns said that 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.
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers president Neil Sugarman added: “The proposals will take the rights of injured people back to the dark ages when what [the Government] 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.”
The group maintains that if the current regulatory regime does not have the legal powers to ban cold calls, they will 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.
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