New measures to end nuisance calls from personal claims companies in the UK have come into force.
People will now be given the choice to opt in to receiving calls offering to settle personal injury claims or to reclaim compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
Previously, people had to opt out by registering with the free Telephone Preference Service or withdraw their consent while on the call.
The UK-wide measures mean the caller has to ensure they have the recipient’s consent before calling. Those who breach the rules could be fined as much as &500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The plans to clamp down on nuisance calls were announced in May. Around 2.7bn unsolicited calls, texts and emails have been made to people offering to help them make a claim over the past 12 months, including calls about recent accidents or PPI – equating to about 50 calls, texts or emails being made to every member of the adult population.
“Our new laws mean people will now have to give consent to receive calls and have the power to choose where they seek compensation for personal injury claims or mis-sold payment protection insurance.
“This is a big boost for the Information Commissioner’s Office and will help them crack down on the cold-call sharks.”
Andy Curry, the enforcement group manager at the ICO, said nuisance calls, texts and emails could cause real distress to people.
Alex Neill, the managing director of home products and services at Which?, said the consumer company’s research showed more than seven in 10 people believed they had received unsolicited calls last month.
“While the new rules are welcome, they must be enforced to stop companies flouting the law with these dodgy practices,” Neill said. “The government must also urgently deliver on its promise to hold those responsible personally accountable.”