The personal injury compensation claims market in the United Kingdom is now heavily regulated. With particular reference to England & Wales, all providers of personal injury compensation services, whether they are claims management companies or firms of solicitors, must act in a compliant manner and adhere to the strict regulatory authority requirements governing their sector of the industry. For claims management companies, the regulatory authority is the Financial Conduct Authority, and for solicitors, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. Despite the separate regulators, both elements of the industry must adhere to the requirements of the compensation act 2006 (effective March 2007) and the LASPO Act 2012 which became effective in April 2013.
Strict rules regarding advertising and marketing for personal injury claims
Regulated personal injury compensation companies (you can find out about regulated companies by looking at the claimsregulation.gov.uk website) are strictly governed when it comes to advertising and marketing practices. Cold calling (where you receive an unsolicited call or knock at the door) to try and encourage you to put in a claim are outlawed. The same applies to you being approached in the street.
However, despite these rules, there are still come people operating outside of the legal structure and working in an unregulated and risky manner. One way these companies encourage people to make claims with them is by sending out unsolicited blanket SMS (text) messages asking you to reply if you want to claim, so that they can then call you and set something up.
These companies and their activities are without doubt damaging the regulated companies operating within the industry. I have personally received text messages (along with my colleagues, friends and family) on more than one occasion offering to make a claim for me, and also offering me a specified amount of compensation for an injury, saying that I should claim today! This amazes me as even if details of an accident relating to me were known (sometimes insurance companies sell data to data brokers who in turn sell that on to marketing companies etc), there could be no way anyone would be able to say how much my claim is worth until they had seen my medical records and obtained a medical expert’s report to provide medical evidence to substantiate my claim value. Further, there is no way that they could know anything about my special damages claim value. So what should you do if you receive such a text message?
Reporting illegal claims activities
If you receive any such unsolicited text messages, cold calls or are pestered by any other unwanted personal injury claims marketing practices, you can and should report the the details to the claims regulatory authority. I have previously written about how you can report such activities and suggest that you read that article for greater information.
As always, it is best to get as much information as possible about the company in question. It could be that you simply forward a text message or email on to the regulator, but if you can obtain a company name and contact information, that will help them to rid us all of the bad guys. The industry has worked tirelessly to combat the grubby image that some like to tarnish it with and fight the insurance sector’s constant compensation culture myths, and it is by getting the bad guys caught out that we can show we are a clean and trustworthy industry.
Of course, you can always pass details of unwanted communications to trusted and regulated claims management companies such as Direct2Compensation, as we can pass these on to the regulator for you. If you have any concerns in this area, contact us as our staff will be able to advise you as to whether an activity is something that would be unlikely to be permitted or prescribed as a legal activity by the regulatory authority.
Legal and compliant marketing activities
Most people looking to put in a claim for personal injury compensation will seek out a claims management company or solicitor of their choosing. There are many legal ways for such companies to advertise and offer their services and some of them are listed below:
- Websites – as with our website, regulated claims management companies are allowed to offer and market their services via their online website. Companies are not allowed to make any promises regarding claim valuations, offer any up front cash payments and must list their authorisation status and number.
- Advertising – press and media advertisements are allowed. Television adverts, online adverts, press adverts and other posters etc are allowed. These can invite you to make contact with that firm should you so wish.
- Directories – although the use of Yellow Pages and Thomson directories is dwindling, companies can still choose to list their services in them should they wish.
- Sponsorship – regulated claims companies can advertise their services via sponsoring events, teams or other relevant activities.
- Street stands and shops – whilst it is outlawed to cold call or approach people to invite them to claim compensation, it is allowed to have a street stand where you can approach someone to instigate a claim. Such activities are rare, but they are allowed. It is also allowed to have a high street ‘shop’ that customers can approach to begin their claim.
At Direct2Compensation, we market ourselves only in two ways – through our website and via word of mouth (recommendations) from existing clients.
The requirements of the regulators and laws have placed a heavy burden on respectable companies operating within the no win no fee compensation industry and caused a considerable amount of work. But those of us who care about what we do, about being ethical and honest, welcome the strength that the laws and regulators provide to our business sector and believe that it gives the claimant the trust in the no win no fee claims process that is needed to ensure that it works well for the benefit of everybody.