How To Deal With Car Accident Claims Cold Callers
Published: 2nd July 2015
If you’ve had a car crash in the past few years, you’ve probably been pestered by cold callers offering some kind of claims service. Strangely, if you haven’t had any type of road traffic accident you may well have endured the same frustrating experience!
Despite government efforts to clamp down on unsolicited marketing calls, the annoyance caused by cold calling remains a real issue in a range of industries. Many of the calls are nothing more than attempts at fraud, while even those on behalf of companies offering genuine services can be an infuriating waste of time for the people who answer.
At Liddy’s Solicitors, we don’t use cold calls for three reasons; they annoy people, they target people who may be feeling vulnerable after an accident, and we don’t think that an unsolicited phone call is a good basis on which to choose a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
As with all good firms of solicitors, we largely rely on our local reputation and recommendations from clients to secure work. As such, we have some doubts about claims firms that try to generate work by pestering people with cold calls.
However, we do have some advice for dealing with the callers.
Cold calls from genuine companies
Some claims management firms use cold calls in an attempt to generate new business. In many cases the calls and text messages are little more than a fishing expedition, but in others the companies are able to target people who have actually been involved in a road traffic accident.
Police and insurers are not allowed to sell personal data to claims firms or lawyers, but it is not unknown for information about accidents to be obtained illegally or from sources such as bodyshops.
If you find yourself being pestered by numerous calls after an accident and suspect that the company gained your personal information illegally, you could report the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office. It is also worth registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), as this will cut the number of calls you receive from UK-based companies.
However they got hold of your information, it is worth remembering that any type of damages claim is a complex situation and requires a solicitor with specialist skills and experience. Receiving a well-timed cold call is not a good reason to choose that firm to represent you.
The best approach to take with these cold callers is always to end the conversation as soon as possible, as giving them any details about your crash will encourage them to call back repeatedly. More skilled telesales staff are good at persuading people to engage with them and if you do end up chatting with them, avoid agreeing to anything before you have given yourself chance to think about the situation.
If the fact they are using unsolicited calls to drum up business isn’t enough to deter you from using the firm’s services, there are other signs that should put you off. For example, if the caller hints that you should exaggerate the extent of your injuries, avoids answering questions about fees or makes any kind of promises about being able to secure compensation before knowing the full circumstances of your accident, the firm is not taking a professional approach.
Instead of pursuing a claim because a cold caller put the idea into your mind, try contacting one or two reputable local personal injury solicitors for advice about your case. Most good solicitors offer a free initial consultation at which they will explain your options and begin to assess whether your have grounds to make a claim (simply being involved in an accident doesn’t necessarily mean you are entitled to damages). Once you have spoken with a real expert, you will be in a much better position to make a decision about what to do next.
Research carried out for Financial Fraud Action UK found that 58% of people received cold calls they believed were from scammers during 2014. Its study also estimated that members of the public lost a total of £23.9 million to telephone fraudsters last year.
Of course, scam calls come in a wide range of forms, but the ones that purport to be about car crash compensation claims typically begin: “I’m calling in connection with your recent traffic accident…”
When asked for any details about the incident, the caller usually states that they obtained your details from the Ministry of Justice or are calling on behalf of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). This is untrue and just an attempt to make themselves sound official and to gain your trust.
At this point the best course of action is to quickly end the conversation and put the phone down. If there’s one situation in life in which you can be a bit rude without feeling guilty, it’s when someone is trying to defraud you.
If you do keep them on the line in the hope of eliciting some information that may be useful if you want to report the caller to the relevant authorities, do not give them any kind of personal information. The most likely aim of the call is to collect your personal data and bank details, which they will tell you they need in order to pay “your compensation”.
At Liddy’s Solicitors, we have extensive experience of handling personal injury claims related to road traffic accidents and an excellent track record of success in such cases.
If you have been injured in an accident on the roads, whether you were driving, a passenger, a cyclist or a pedestrian, and think you may have grounds to claim damages, please contact us to arrange an initial no-obligation discussion about your case.