Image of a man receiving cold calls.

Can The Spam

Following on from a previous post here I thought it would be helpful to raise awareness of the Can The spam campaign.

When I was dealing with personal injury claims in the past, I heard case after case where people were considering not claiming as they thought we were all national companies, employing cheap staff who didn’t know what they were doing and were only in it for making money for the company rather than the claimant. I’d ask why they thought that and in most cases it was down to the cold calls, automated calls or text messages from cheap call centres. Most people have the same reaction as I do when they receive a claims company cold calling them – to hang up the phone. It just gives the impression of a poorly managed sector in the personal injury claims sector that put people off.

The fact is, from my experience, that some companies do employ cheap lead generators. They think they can call, call again and keep calling and people will give in. Or if they aren’t successful then they sell your details on to another company. Even worse than cold callers is when you run halfway through the house to answer the phone and there’s an automated message offering you the services of a claims management company. How many people listen past the first few words these days? As soon as I realize it’s an automated call I simply hang up.

Can The Spam campaign

Well back in June 2016 APIL (the association of personal injuries lawyers) launched the “Can The Spam” campaign and I am fully behind it. It’s about time! Solicitors are unable to cold call, by law, and APIL are calling for that to be a blanket ban on everyone including claims management company’s (not that they all cold call).

According to the Information Commissioner the number of cold calls and text messages doubled from 2014 to 2015 and shows no sign of stopping, so I’m saying that everyone get behind APIL to stop this practice. Even people who are using the free Telephone Preference Service, which should stop unsolicited calls to their number, are reporting the nuisance calls.

When APIL held their annual conference back in May they were lucky enough to get Lord Faulkes as their key note speaker. He said that society has a cost directly from the “substantial industry that encourages unnecessary, inappropriate, or even fraudulent claims through cold calling and other social nuisances and which increases premiums for customers.” In effect he was basically saying that the cost of insurance premiums for everyone else goes up because of wrongly claimed injury compensation.

Neil Sugarman who heads up APIL said “Cold calling for personal injury claims is exploitative, tasteless, and intrusive. Solicitors are not allowed to do it, for these very good reasons. But some claims management companies continue to hound people in this way and we want the government to put a total ban on the practice.”

What APIL want is for people to log any nuisance calls with them via Twitter or their Facebook page and give as much detail as possible, like: when was the call received, what number was it from, was a company name mentioned, was it a phone call or text message and any other relevant information you can give. APIL will then pass this on to the regulator.

APIL wants a total ban on cold calling (and I agree) but the government hasn’t taken this step as yet so the more companies that can be forced to stop by collating this information the better. The government has also linked cold calls and nuisance calling with removing the right of some claims against whiplash injuries which I think is ludicrous. If you’ve been genuinely injured then you have a genuine right to be compensated in my eyes. If some unscrupulous claims firms are inventing or helping people to claim for invented injuries then it’s got to be a good thing for everyone if APIL’s actions are successful in reducing these types of companies or reducing their practises.

In my opinion the sector should be allowed to advertise their services, should be allowed to take calls from customers and should be able to work reactively not proactively. Cold calls are usually very annoying and put pressure on the agent to make false claims or offer unrealistic amounts of money for claims which can never be achieved. The pressure on sales agents then passes down to the consumer who can be led down the path of making false or fraudulent claims that they would’ve never considered themselves before the cold caller made contact.

G Macs final thought

Call centres cost money to setup and more money to pay the staff each day, the only way that money is recovered is by making claims against insurance policies and the only way that money is earned back by the insurers is to increase the premiums that everybody pays for their insurance. I say ‘Can The Spam’ now to improve the costs of insurance for everyone.

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