16Jan

Using data from communications watchdog Ofcom, insurer Aviva has said that UK consumers were bombarded with 2.2 billion nuisance marketing communications – both calls and texts – in 2017. This is equivalent to around six million calls per day, or 4,200 every minute.

Two of the three most common reasons for these calls relate to the claims management sector – these were the marketing of personal injury and payment protection insurance claims services. However, pension cold calling also claimed a place in the top three.

30% of nuisance calls were made to those aged 65 or over, even though this age group comprises just 18% of the UK population.

The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, which proposes the creation of a single financial guidance body to replace the Money Advice Service and Pension Wise, will give this body the power to consider the merits of a complete ban on pension cold calling.

Rob Townend, UK claims director at Aviva, said of the statistics collected by his firm:

“Enough is enough. Nuisance calls are a national epidemic which must be stopped.

“Whether it is a call chasing an injury you may or may not have sustained in an accident, or a pension scammer attempting to con unsuspecting individuals out of their hard-earned retirement savings, there is no place in our society for them.”

He also called on the Government to ban not just pension cold calls, but also cold calls relating to insurance where the claims company has no previous relationship with the consumer, by adding:

“If the Government is serious about protecting all members of our society, including the most vulnerable, then it should take decisive action and ban them.”

Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, companies may be liable for fines if they make live marketing calls to individuals registered with the Telephone Preference Service, or they send unsolicited texts or emails or make automated marketing calls to consumers who have not explicitly consented to receiving them.

From May this year, when the General Data Protection Regulation is introduced, the maximum fine that can be imposed for data protection breaches will increase significantly to the greater of 4% of annual turnover or €20 million.

A number of firms have been fined, even under existing legislation, by the data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, for making nuisance marketing calls and/or sending nuisance emails and texts. The Claims Management Regulator has also fined and banned a number of claims companies for engaging in this practice, and several individuals have been disqualified from acting as directors because of the actions of their companies in this area.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.