FCA slaps a £110,000 fine on claims management firm for cold calling

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has slapped claims management company Crosfill & Archer Claims Limited (CACL) with a fine of £110,000 for making unsolicited telemarketing calls.

These calls were to people who had registered not to receive this type of sales call, where the firm had no evidence they had consented to receive the call or where the firm was unable to confirm what consent had been obtained on customer data purchased from third-party data providers.

In a final notice dated June 22, it said the Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU) originally wrote to Crosfill and Archer to inform its directors that it proposed to impose a financial penalty of £140,000 on the firm for breaches of the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2014.

In response, the firm made written representations to the CMRU dated June 15 2018, which detailed the improvements the firm had made to its due diligence processes and procedures following audits by the CMRU in 2016 and the investigation in 2017. The fine was originally imposed by the MOJ in 2018 but appealed by the firm. The appeal was struck out by the Upper Tribunal after the firm failed to file relevant documents in time.

As a result of the firm’s written representations, the CMRU carried out a further audit on August 23 2018 when the level of penalty was reduced to £110,000.

The bases for the CMRU penalty were due diligence breaches regarding the provenance of data and ensuring that the relevant consents had been obtained by the third-party data providers, the making of unsolicited telemarketing calls to numbers registered on the TPS register without the requisite consent and lack of knowledge and training in respect of a member of the firm’s staff around using the dialler.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward noted that this kind of cold calling is an example of the type of “cavalier behaviour” in which claims management firms should not engage.

“Firms need to ensure they have the right governance and due diligence in place,” he said, “and we will take action when we see behaviour that threatens legitimate consumer rights and interests.”

The FCA’s decision follows the transfer of regulatory responsibility for claims management companies (CMCs) to the watchdog on April 01, 2019. The fine was originally imposed by the MOJ in 2018 but was appealed by the firm. The appeal was later struck out by the Upper Tribunal after CACL failed to file the relevant documents in time.

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