A claims management company has linked up with seven law firms to create an ethical marketing charter setting out rules for attracting personal injury work.
National Accident Helpline has founded the charter along with Coleman-ctts, Emsleys, hlw Keeble Hawson, Hodge Jones Allen, Irwin Mitchell, Lester Aldridge.
The aim is to promote good practice in professional marketing practices and remove rogue operators from the sector.
Signatories to the charter make a formal and public commitment to never cold call or send spam texts or spam emails, never misuse accident data to pressure people into making a claim, and never induce personal injury claims by making false or misleading promises in their advertising. Signatories must also be clear and upfront about any exclusions to the no win, no fee arrangements which fund their claims.
Ethical marketing has been a key issue in the sector in recent years, with the government banning referral fees and inducements in personal injury in an attempt to stamp out practices which encouraged fraudulent or exaggerated claims.
In April, the government also changed the law to remove the requirement to prove a company caused ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’ through unwanted marketing calls and texts if law enforcers wanted to bring a prosecution.
Russell Atkinson (pictured), chief executive of National Accident Helpline, said: ‘It is time for the industry to take a proactive approach to stamping out bad practice and to provide greater protection for consumers.
‘We all recognise that marketing in a responsible, ethical way is best practice and this charter will help to ensure that it’s the only viable way for those working in the personal injury sector to approach consumers.’
A further 11 firms or CMCs have signed up to the charter, which has also been publicly supported by the Legal Ombudsman, Claim Management Regulator and a cross-party selection of MPs.
Kevin Rousell, head of claims management regulation at the Ministry of Justice added: ‘The Claims Management Regulator has been working hard to ensure that CMCs behave in an ethical and responsible manner.
‘Any steps by the industry itself that may help improve practices and raise standards are to be welcomed. Bad conduct plagues the reputation of the claims management sector and all CMCs should commit to stamping out bad practice.’
In total there were more than 175,000 complaints related to nuisance calls and texts made to the Information Commissioner’s Office for 2014.
Accident claims are the third most common cause of complaints, behind boiler replacement and solar panels offers.