Which? calls for spam text action

texting 2The industry battle against nuisance calls and texts has found a new supporter, with consumer rights group Which? throwing its weight behind a campaign to prevent consumers being plagued by unwanted marketing.
Late last year a new guide was published by a number of organisations, including the Ministry of Justice, Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Telephone Preference Service (TPS), Office of Fair Trading and Citizen’s Advice Bureau to combat the issue. But Which? believes this does not go far enough.
The organisation is demanding that the ICO, MoJ, Ofcom and the OFT set up a joint taskforce to stem the problem, with a particular focus on the personal injury and payment protection insurance claims industry.
Which? is calling for the taskforce to “proactively and forensically” scrutinise the activities of claims management firms over the next 12 weeks to expose the source of the problem and punish those found breaking the rules with substantial fines and suspension of licences.
It is supports its campaign by publishing a study that suggests seven in 10 people received unsolicited calls and four in ten received an unwanted texts during the last three months.
The watchdog found that one in four of its members who made a claim on their car insurance were contacted by a claims management company within three months. Nearly half of these were contacted in a week, and many were bombarded by repeated calls and texts – 22% received 10 or more texts and 12% received 10 or more calls.
A number of leading insurers all take fees for referring customers to claims management companies, including: the AA, Admiral, Direct Line, eSure, Lloyds TSB, Tesco Bank and Zurich.
But from April 2013, new legislation will ban any insurer from receiving payment for passing on customers’ details to a claims management company or a legal firm following a personal injury claim, although this doesn’t cover non-injury claims such as car repairs.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Unwanted calls or texts are not just a nuisance, they can be intrusive and distressing. Many of us have been bombarded with spurious claims of PPI or injury compensation, and people are telling us they are totally fed up with this nuisance and want to see action.
“We want the regulators to work together to properly police and punish those responsible for unwanted calls and texts, using the existing law. If they are unwilling or unable to enforce the rules, the government should step in.”
Last year Ofcom monitored a six-month period in 2012 and found that 71% of people with a landline received an unwanted marketing call and 63% encountered a recorded message.

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