National Advice Clinic fined for six million cold calls

Telephone Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The calls resulted in almost 2,000 complaints from people on the Telephone Preference Service

A company which made almost six million nuisance calls in the space of six months has been fined £850,000.

Accrington-based National Advice Clinic made the calls about noise-induced hearing loss claims between October 2014 and April 2015.

The Claims Management Regulator (CMR), which oversees the compensation claims industry, said the cold-calling was "deliberate and sustained".

The company was not contactable for comment.

Many of those contacted by the company, which also trades as the Industrial Hearing Clinic and the Central Compensation Office, were on the Telephone Preference Service - designed to stop people receiving cold calls.

As a result, almost 2,000 complaints were made to the telecommunications industry regulator Ofcom.

Industrial Hearing Clinic was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation in 2012, which looked at "very persistent" cold calls made by the company.

Nuisance calls

Image copyright Thinkstock

Ofcom advice on what to do if you receive nuisance calls includes:

  • Talk to your phone provider about blocking nuisance numbers or consider fixing a call blocker device to your phone
  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service, which aims to protect subscribers from unsolicited telesales calls
  • Check forms that ask for contact details carefully to be sure that you have opted not to share those details
  • Consider going ex-directory

CMR's Kevin Rousell said the calls had been "a flagrant breach of our marketing requirements".

He added: "They showed an alarming disregard for the misery their tactics can cause, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people, and the size of this penalty demonstrates how seriously we take this issue."

The CMR, which is based at the Ministry of Justice, has been able to remove licences from claims management companies since 2010 and was given powers to financially penalise companies in December 2014.

A spokesman said it had fined four companies so far, with this case incurring the largest penalty.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said he was "pleased the regulator has imposed such a substantial fine for such blatant and shocking behaviour".

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