Attacked From All Sides: Government Plans To Ban Cold Calling Don't Go Far Enough Say Solicitors

Government's plans to tighten cold-calling by claims management companies (CMCs), which many argue do not go far enough to tackle the issue, have been put under pressure from Labour Party front benchers, National Accident Helpline and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) representatives.

MPs have been considering the changes made during the committee stage of the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill together with various further amendments put forward by the Labour opposition.

As drafted, the government's proposals prohibit live unsolicited direct 'cold calls', except where the recipient has given explicit consent to receiving such calls.

Organisations such as APIL and Association of British Travel Agents maintain this would have little effect and instead gave their support to an alternative, seemingly more extensive ban, put forward by Labour.

The proposals include other means of communication, such as texts, and would ban the use of any data obtained by cold calling.

Research by marketing business National Accident Helpline found as many as one in every five people receive a cold call at least once a day.

There is a clear public demand for a ban on cold calling, yet the government has stalled on plans to truly stop the activity.

The proposal to control cold calling by changing the rules on consent will do nothing to stop unscrupulous marketing organisations from taking advantage of vulnerable people.

Few people would knowingly consent to being cold-called about a PPI or personal injury claim. Consent restrictions as a form of control may be appropriate for other types of marketing but is likely to be unsuccessful in the field of personal injury.

An amendment put forward by Labour MP Steve McCabe would require the Financial Conduct Authority - as soon as it takes responsibility for claim management companies - to ban "unsolicited real-time direct approaches to members of the public carried out by whatever means, digital or otherwise", while also banning the use of data obtained by cold-calling.

Stephen Green, head of the Fosters Personal Injury Department and Partner of the firm, said, "once again the government have ignored a golden opportunity to a ban the kind of calls that most people find a complete nuisance. At the same time they are proposing to raise the thresholds for which compensation can be recovered in road accident public liability and work accident claims."

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