The government must stop dithering and act now to ban cold calling for personal injury claims, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has said ahead of a crucial debate in Parliament on 12 March.
Brett Dixon was speaking ahead of the final stages of debate on the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill in the House of Commons.
The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill initially only included a ban on pension cold calling, but an amendment widening its scope to claims management companies was introduced in the House of Lords.
Some 895 million nuisance calls being made last year that chased an injury claim for an accident that may or may not have occurred, or other insurance-related matter, according to Aviva.
But Dixon and APIL remain unhappy with the bill’s contents.
“There is a clear public demand for a ban on cold calling, yet the government has rowed back on its commitment to stop this epidemic which bedevils people across this country,” Dixon explained.
“Its 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.”
Dixon said: “No-one would knowingly consent to being cold-called about a personal injury claim. The idea is unthinkable. Consent may be appropriate for other types of marketing but it has no place in the field of personal injury.”
“It is intrusive, exploitative and has a pernicious impact on society. The government is willing to ban cold calling in other areas, such as pensions, so its reluctance to do the same for personal injury is incomprehensible.”
“A recent YouGov survey found that more than two thirds of people would support a ban,” he said. “This is not controversial. It is time for the government to deliver.”
New research by National Accident Helpline has found that British consumers continue to suffer from nuisance calls, with as many as one in five people being cold called at least once per day.
The national study provides a map of the regions that are most targeted by cold callers, with people living in the Northeast, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber most likely to be the victims of unsolicited calls.
The survey of more than 100,000 UK residents also found that 50% of those aged over 65 in the West Midlands are cold called at least once a day.
Simon Trott, managing director of National Accident Helpline, said: “Cold calling continues to be a blight on the UK, with many people still being cold called every day.”
“Scam cold callers are sometimes able to extort people’s personal information or bank details whilst on the line, defrauding consumers of their money. We have also seen evidence of cold callers encouraging consumers to bring fraudulent claims.”
“We believe that the public needs to be protected from this, and that’s why we are calling for the government to implement our action plan, to end nuisance calls for good.”