Claims company fined £220,000 under new regulator's powers
Everyone has had a PPI automated call, possibly even people who don’t have a phone. They really can get quite seriously annoying, and they’ve been going on for years. What you might not know is that, at the end of last year, even the Government got sick and tired of these oushy sorts, and set up a new regulator, the Claims Management Regulator, to deal only with these persistent businesses trying to flog you their services to make a claim. Now, they have handed out their first fine, a whopping £220,000 to a firm “responsible for bombarding people with millions of nuisance calls.” Good work.
This is the first fine under the new powers granted to the new regulator in December 2014. Firms found breaching the regulator’s rules of conduct now face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover, as well as having their trading licence suspended or removed.
New figures released also show that 296 claims firms have received warnings from the regulator between 2014 and 2015, and that 105 had their licences removed completely.
This is good news for normal people everywhere, as reducing the number of operational companies will presumably reduce the number of unwanted calls. In fact, the total number of companies in the industry has fallen by 300 this year, to 1,752, sliding down from a depressing peak of 3,367 in 2011.
For this first fine, claims management company The Hearing Clinic was slapped with a £220,000 bill following hundreds of complaints from people who received really annoying spammy cold sales speculative calls about claims for hearing loss owing to excessive noise levels, many of whom had subscribed to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Based in Derby and operating under a string of different trading names, the company also been made subject to restrictions and could face further sanctions including suspension or closure if it breaks the rules again.
Claims Management Regulator Kevin Rousell said: “The new fines mean we have greater powers to crack down on claims management companies that make nuisance calls. 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.”
Which!!! executive director, Richard Lloyd added: “Hopefully this is the start of a concerted crackdown by regulators, using their new powers to send a clear message that nuisance calling won't be tolerated.”
“The size of this fine should make other firms think twice before bombarding people with cold calls. We also need to see senior executives held personally accountable if their company makes unlawful sales calls.”