online fraud

ACSO report: Nuisance Calls and CMC numbers at all-time lows

Posted on Thu, 09/11/2023

Nuisance calls from claims management companies (CMCs) asking people whether they have suffered a personal injury following an accident has fallen to an historic low, according to a new ACSO (Association of Consumer Support Organisations) report.

Data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) show a substantial decrease to just 1,394 accident management nuisance calls and messages lodged between January and August 2023, continuing the long-term downwards trend since the 2018 Civil Liability Act. This compares to 25,196 complaints in 2017.

In its updated report: The Claims Management Sector in England & Wales, ACSO found that as well as a negligible number of cold calls:

  • The number of CMCs has fallen from a peak of 3,213 in 2011 to only 546 in July 2023. Of the CMCs providing advice rather than just generating leads, only 30 firms cover personal injury, where CMCs were traditionally most active.
  • Complaints about CMCs have also fallen. In 2021/22, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) received 703 new complaints about CMCs. By 2022/23, it received 516 complaints, meaning a fall of more than 50 per cent in just two years.
  • A fraud charter for personal injury?: CMCs account for just 0.3 percent of minor injury claims logged on the Official Injury Claim portal, despite warnings that it might be far higher.

Matthew Maxwell Scott, ACSO executive director, noted that some insurance industry commentators claimed in 2018 that the OIC would be “a CMCs’ charter” to try and undermine the reforms.

He said: “The evidence shows that this is clearly not the case. Ironically, while FOS complaints about CMCs have fallen to all-time lows, complaints about insurers have reached five-year highs.”

He added: “The FCA has brought the CMC sector under control and the benefits for consumers are clear: tackling cold calls, greater transparency and certainty on what people have to pay, an industry that is shedding its poor reputation and a market providing higher-quality services to those consumers who choose to use them.

“The FCA’s latest ‘Dear CEO’ letter of October 2023 finds the regulator concerned about the treatment of vulnerable consumers and embedding the Consumer Duty.

“Inflation-busting increases in home and motor premiums, often for customers who have exemplary driving records, will inevitably lead to more complaints about value for money.”