Barnoldswick & Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 28th September 2018

My Barnoldswick & Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column for Friday 28th September 2018...

At my fortnightly Advice Surgeries and whilst out and about attending community events across Pendle many residents have raised with me the problem of nuisance telephone calls.

Earlier this month, tough new measures designed to protect millions of householders from the misery of nuisance calls about legal claims come into force. Under the new Government legislation, phone customers will be given the choice to opt-in to be contacted by businesses offering to settle claims for compensation for personal injury or mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

And firms which flout the new rules could face crippling fines of up to £500,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office. The move follows growing concern about the level of unwanted communications bombarding households across the country. Figures from the Financial Conduct Authority show that around 2.7billion unsolicited calls, texts and emails offering help with personal claims were made to telephone customers in the UK over the last year.

I am therefore pleased that we are one step closer to ending the menace of nuisance calls. These 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. Some elderly and vulnerable people can receive dozens of calls a week. And the problem has been worsened by automated dialling technology that helps firms make many thousands of calls per day.

Under the previous system, customers had to "opt-out" of receiving calls by registering with the free Telephone Preference Service. From now on, callers will be legally obliged to make the necessary checks to ensure they have a person's consent before making the call.

The legislation will cover claims for compensation for personal injury and miss-sold PPI as well as claims relating to employment, redundancy, industrial injury and housing repair.

I very much hope that, along with the strengthened Data Protection Act, the measure will significantly cut the number of nuisance calls received by Pendle households. Anyone who is still pestered can contact the Information Commissioner's Office to request an investigation and action against the company concerned.