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Claims companies and “spam” communications

16th June 2016

Many of us know just how intrusive and infuriating cold calls and spam texts can be. There is a whole industry of claims management companies (CMCs) who use these tactics to persuade people to put forward personal injury claims. The government (Justice Minister Dominic Raab) has criticised “the substantial industry that encourages claims through cold calling and other social nuisances and which increases premiums for customers”. It might be thought odd that CMCs are permitted to drum up business in this way, when solicitors are banned from doing so. Many people may believe that solicitors are involved in these practices, when they are not. This can lead to accusations of ‘ambulance chasing’, the perception of which has perhaps tarnished the reputation of the personal injury profession.

Some find it easier to deal with unwanted calls than others who may be vulnerable and more easily ‘sucked in’ by clever sales – type practices. Many people think that compensation is paid out for any old accident, even when there is no injury, and that money is just doled out automatically by the courts. This is not the case.

It is the encouragement to claim compensation for injuries which are either nonexistent or trivial which might play into the hands of the insurance industry. They have the ear of the government which is determined to reduce the number of injury claims. It might be thought odd, then, that pres-sure tactics are still permitted within the CMCs claims ‘industry’.

Solicitors have a professional regulatory body, have to abide by a rigorous code of conduct and ethics and are obliged to have a high level of professional indemnity insurance. CMCs, however, have a very different and more lax set of rules that they are obliged to work within.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (www.apil.org.uk) is running a campaign entitled ‘CAN THE SPAM’ using a humorous cartoon/video to deliver an important and serious message. Anyone who has received an unwanted call or text can get in touch with APIL’s office to report the details. Ideally this should include the name of the company (some have been known to lie about who they are and where they are based), the date/time of the contact and the caller’s telephone number. APIL will then forward the information to the Information Commissioner’s Office. APIL can be con-tacted by email: canthespam@apil.org.uk or by phone: 0115 943 5416.

Paul Fretwell. Solicitor and partner, personal injury department.

General, George Ide, News, Personal Injury Blog
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