Lancashire company fined £850k over millions of nuisance calls

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A company responsible for bombarding people with millions of nuisance calls has been fined £850,000 by the Claims Management Regulator (CMR).

The National Advice Clinic, based in Lancashire, which also trades as the Industrial Hearing Clinic or the Central Compensation Office, made nearly 6 million calls between October 2014 and April 2015 about noise induced hearing loss claims.

Many of those called were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – which tells companies that they did not want to receive such calls. This resulted in almost two thousand complaints being received by Ofcom which is responsible for the TPS.

The CMR regulates companies that offer to help people claim compensation for issues such as personal and criminal injury and mis-sold financial products. The Government changed the law in December 2014 to give the CMR the power to impose financial penalties on companies who break the rules. This is the fourth and biggest fine issued so far, bringing the total collected to £1.6 million.

Claims Management Regulator head Kevin Rousell, said: “This company’s cold-calling campaign was deliberate and sustained, and a flagrant breach of our marketing requirements.

“They showed an alarming disregard for the misery their tactics can cause, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people.

“The size of this penalty demonstrates how seriously we take this issue - nuisance calls will not be tolerated.”

The fine comes six weeks after the CMR issued another large penalty of £570,000 and demonstrates the substantial effort by the CMR to clean up the industry and drive out rogue practices. Since 2010 the regulator has removed the licences from over a thousand claims management companies (CMCs), including 300 last year.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said: “Nuisance calls are a real scourge to households, and people have simply had enough.

“I am pleased the regulator has imposed such a substantial fine for such blatant and shocking behaviour. This follows other large fines and the removal of over a thousand licenses from claims management companies since 2010.

“The Government is committed to protecting the public from this nuisance - that at best wastes people’s time and at worst causes significant distress.”