The Lib Dems just won a victory on cold calling

Those horrendous claims management company calls could soon be history - if the government stick to their word.

Photo: Creative Commons

We are all sick to death of them. You’re waiting for that important call – and the phone rings. But instead of that hospital nurse or potential new employer, you get a few seconds of silence, and then: ‘Have you been in a car accident?’. 

Those calls from claims management companies could soon be history. Last night, the government accepted Liberal Democrat proposals to clamp down on cold calling.

The changes will bring in tough new regulations on claims management companies.

Liberal Democrats peers John Sharkey and Susan Kramer have been leading the charge – pushing the government to negotiate.

Their amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, demands the Financial Conduct Authority bans within six month:

(a) unsolicited real-time direct approaches to members of the public carried out by whatever means, digital or otherwise, by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of companies carrying out claims management services or their agents or representatives,

(b) the use for any purpose of any data…[which] arises from any unsolicited real-time direct approach to members of the public carried out by whatever means, digital or otherwise.

(2) The FCA must fix the appropriate penalties for breaches of subsection (1)(a) and (b) above.”

After several weeks of battling in the Lords, and following discussions on both sides, Ministers announced that the government will now accept Liberal Democrat proposals, and introduce them when the Bill comes back to the Commons:

“We have listened carefully to the views of your Lordships’ House and fully agree that more needs to be done to tackle the prevalence of nuisance calls across the UK.

“…There are complex issues to work through, including those relating to EU directives. But I can reassure your Lordships’ House that the Government are working through the details of a cold-calling ban in relation to the claims management industry.

“To that end, I am pleased to say that I revisit the offer made in your Lordships’ House last week and repeat that the Government intend to bring forward an amendment in the other place to meet the concerns of this House. This amendment will look to ensure that the onus is no longer on the consumer to opt out of marketing calls.”

Let’s hope the government stick to their promise – and that we never have to pick up another one of those ‘We hear you’ve had a fall at work’ calls again…

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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