On the 5 August 2015, the Ministry of Justice in the UK announced that the first enforcement by the Claims Management Regulator had been made against The Hearing Clinic following hundreds of complaints from members of the public who had received speculative calls about claims for Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Many of the complainants were subscribers to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) but despite this The Hearing Clinic ignored those preferences and as a consequence were fined £220,000.
The Claims Management Regulator was set up to investigate complaints about claim management companies and has the power to fine companies that breach the regulators rules of conduct up to 20% of their annual turnover as well as suspending their trading licence.
In addition to the above claim, recently the Information Commissioner’s Office, which also is empowered to investigate “cold calling”, fined Point One Marketing Limited (trading as “Stop The Calls”) £50,000 for using pressure sales tactics to persuade consumers to purchase their call blocking device for telephones – a somewhat two faced activity!
In the course of investigation, the ICO found that the company had implied that they were operating as an official service to stop nuisance calls whilst making nuisance calls themselves. Some complainants reported bullying calls and sales people shouting at them when they asked not to be called again.
Commenting on the enforcement and fine, the ICO Head of Enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said:
“This company lacked integrity. They tried to sell a product that they claimed would stop nuisance calls, knowing full well that they were responsible for so many such calls themselves. But they are by no means the only offender out there. If you are receiving nuisance calls, then let us know, and we can act as we have here.”