A firm responsible for bombarding people with millions of nuisance calls has become the first to be fined under new claims management regulation powers.
Claims management company The Hearing Clinic has been fined £220,000 following hundreds of complaints from people who received speculative calls about claims for noise induced hearing loss.
Many of those who were contacted had subscribed to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which indicates that they did not want to receive such calls.
Find out more about how to stop nuisance calls.
First fine of its kind
The fine is the first to be issued by the Claims Management Regulator, based at the Ministry of Justice, since the government changed the law 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.
The Hearing Clinic, which is based in Derby and operated under a string of different trading names, has also been made subject to restrictions. The company could face further sanctions including suspension or closure if it breaks the rules again.
Which? welcomes the decision
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said: ‘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.’
Further sanctions to come
New figures also show that 296 claims firms received warnings from the regulator in 2014 to 2015 and 105 had their licences removed.
The total number of companies in the industry has fallen by 300 this year, to 1,752, from a peak of 3,367 in 2011.
Further investigations by the Claims Management Regulator are ongoing which could lead to sanctions, including fines.
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.’