Lawyers call for ban on PI cold calling
APIL campaign for total ban on nuisance calls and texts that hound the public
Lawyers have turned to social media in an attempt to highlight a cold calling epidemic in personal injury (PI) claims.
Launching its new campaign, Can the Spam, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said cold calling exploits vulnerable people, and hopes its new cartoon will encourage those hounded by unwanted calls and texts to report them.
Figures recently published by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) show that the number of complaints received by the data protection watchdog about accident claim nuisance calls and spam texts rose by almost half between 2014 and 2015.
Speaking at APIL's annual conference in May, justice minister Lord Faulks said that there is a cost to society from the 'substantial industry that encourages unnecessary, inappropriate, or even fraudulent claims through cold calling and other social nuisances and which increases premiums for customers'.
'Cold calling for personal injury claims is exploitative, tasteless, and intrusive,' said APIL president Neil Sugarman. 'Solicitors are not allowed to do it, for these very good reasons. But some claims management companies continue to hound people in this way and we want the government to put a total ban on the practice.'
Until such time as a change in the law is made, APIL has called on the public to report instances of nuisance calls and texts to its special Facebook page and Twitter account. This information will then be passed on to the regulator.
Since 2010, over a thousand claims management companies have had their licences to operate pulled and fines have been issued totalling more than £1.7m as the Ministry of Justice hones in on rogue firms.
However, Sugarman explained that the government has linked cold calling and spam texting to recent proposals to remove the right to claim compensation for some whiplash injuries.
'The government has clearly got the wrong target in its sights,' he said. 'If the problem is nuisance calls, why target people with genuine injuries by removing their right to compensation for their pain and suffering? The answer, surely, is to stop the problem at its source. Ban the cold calling. It's that simple.
'We're all fed up to the back teeth with it. As far as personal injury cold calling and spam texting is concerned, it has to stop.'