Cold calling is where you are called out of the blue by a company asking you whether or not you have worked in a noisy environment and wish to make a claim for noise induced hearing loss. Many of the companies purport to be from Government agencies.
These companies are simply farming your data which they will then sell to solicitors either by way of a referral fee or some form of marketing cost.
What harm can it do if you do receive a call like this and make a claim?
Direct Marketing Activities such as cold calling must be carried out in accordance with the relevant code of conduct – details of which can be found by following the link below.
We often find these ‘rules’ are not adhered to and indeed if they are willing to ignore the rules at this stage they will be willing to break the rules again. They are not acting in your best interests and simply wish to sell your information and data to the highest bidder.
The firms that buy your data are also not allowed to pay for the work so they are in turn breaking the rules. Our concerns are what other rules my be broken during the progress of your claim. Could they be tempted to settle your case too soon or at too little compensation to quickly recover the cost of buying your case ? We do not pay for work, our clients contact us through our website or direct advertising.
Practical advice if you have been cold called?
Here is some practical advice and what to look out for if you are called out of the blue:
- Do not agree to a representative coming to see you when you have been called out of the blue.
- Companies often ask you to email them or call them back on a separate number to give the impression to a regulator that you have in fact contacted them!
- Do not agree to attending for a free hearing test as often they may try to charge you if you decide not to go ahead with the claim.
- Ask them how they came by your details? If their response does not sound plausible then it probably is not.
- Ask for their Ministry of Justice Number? All Accident Management Companies should be registered with the Ministry of Justice. If they cannot supply this information you should avoid them at all costs.
- Put down the phone and make a formal complaint to the Ministry of Justice. Click on the information for consumers page. Phone: 0333 200 0110. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do not believe the people calling you have a database of former workers who have worked in noise. This is a lie.
- Do not believe the company calling you has been given your details by the Department of Works and Pensions. This is a lie which we often hear.
- Some companies use bogus names or trading names to hide their real identity so always ask for their company registration number so you can research them afterwards on companies house.
- Make a complaint to OFCOM http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/complain/ click this link to take you to the correct page.
- Register your telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service. This prevents your telephone number being used for direct marketing activities.
What to do if you are thinking about making a claim?
Here are some tips if you are thinking of bringing a claim for noise induced hearing loss:
- Do your research and find a reputable solicitor.
- Look for accreditations such as Lexcel, APIL or the Law Society Panel Accreditation.
- Contact the solicitors yourself.
- Before you enter into any agreement ask them whether they are willing to work on a no win no fee basis and what percentage they will deduct if any from your compensation. Most firms will guarantee at least 75% of your compensation.
- Ask them to confirm what other deductions will be taken from your compensation for example insurance premiums.
- Ask how many deafness cases the firm deals with? If its a few then they may not specialize in this area. If its thousands ask how many cases each fee earner has. You do not want to be represented by somebody who has hundreds of these cases and only looks at your case every 6-8 weeks. These cases can be difficult and labour intensive. A caseload of around 75 disease cases is ideal.
- Find out the level of fee earner who will be dealing with the case and what experience they have.
- A good solicitor will be able to advise you at an early stage of the pros and cons of your case.
- Satisfy yourself you are happy with how the firm presents itself. Was it professional? Did the person dealing with your inquiry seem knowledgeable and understanding?
- Reputable firms will advise you that there is a 14 day cooling off period after signing the agreement in which you can still cancel your instructions.