A claims management company which made nearly 6m nuisance calls in only seven months about claims for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) has been fined £850,000 by the Claims Management Regulator (CMR).
It is the biggest penalty imposed by the CMR since it gained the power to fine at the end of last year.
A spokesman for the CMR, based at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), said the Lancashire-based National Advice Clinic, which also trades as the Industrial Hearing Clinic or the Central Compensation Office, made the calls between October 2014 and April 2015.
The spokesman said Ofcom had received 2,000 complaints about the CMC, and many of those called were registered with the Telephone Preference Service, making it clear they did not want to receive nuisance calls.
Kevin Rousell, head of the CMR, said: “This company’s cold-calling campaign was deliberate and sustained, and a flagrant breach of our marketing requirements.
“They showed an alarming disregard for the misery their tactics can cause, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people.
“The size of this penalty demonstrates how seriously we take this issue – nuisance calls will not be tolerated.”
The fine comes six weeks after the CMR fined Swansea-based Rock Law £570,000 for PPI nuisance calls.
Justice minister Lord Faulks said: “Nuisance calls are a real scourge to households, and people have simply had enough.
“I am pleased the regulator has imposed such a substantial fine for such blatant and shocking behaviour. This follows other large fines and the removal of over a thousand licenses from claims management companies since 2010.
“The government is committed to protecting the public from this nuisance, that at best wastes people’s time and at worst causes significant distress.”
The CMR fined The Hearing Clinic, based in Derby, £220,000 for making millions of NIHL nuisance calls in August this year.
The CMR’s fining power was introduced in December 2014, allowing it to fine companies which breach the rules up to 20% of their annual turnover, as well as having their license suspended or removed.
The MoJ asked the Civil Justice Council to investigate the number and cost of NIHL claims in July, and a report is expected early next year.