News - MOJ fines The Hearing Clinic

MOJ fines The Hearing Clinic £220,000 for TPS Breaches

 Article added: 21/09/2015

Aurangzeb Iqbal (CRM 31218) trading as The Hearing Clinic (formerly trading under www.thehearingclinic.co) has been fined £220,000 by the Claims Management Regulator (MOJ) for calling people registered on the TPS.

The fine is the first to be issued by the Claims Management Regulator (the MOJ) since the government changed the law in December 2014 to introduce the fining power. Firms found breaching the regulator’s rules of conduct now face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover, as well as having their trading licence suspended or removed.

The Hearing Clinic

Aurangzeb Iqbal was trading as:

  • Industrial Disease Services
  • Industrial Hearing Concern
  • The Hearing Clinic CMC
  • Hedging Redress
  • We Claim 4 U
  • The Hearing Clinic
  • RTA Lawyers 4 U

The result is that Aurangzeb Iqbal must now get a proper TPS solution in place and must report all TPS complaints to the MOJ by the 5th of every month regardless of where they came from (ICO, TPS, Legal Ombudsman, Direct Marketing Commission or consumers).

Why is this case so important?

This is an important landmark fine because it's the first time the MOJ has entered the arena of fining Claims Management Companies (CMC's) for breaches such as calling consumers registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) register. You can be certain that it won't be long before the MOJ start to flex their financial muscles more regularly.

Claims management regulator Kevin Rousell said:

“The new fines mean we have greater powers to crack down on claims management companies that make nuisance calls. Companies should be in no doubt that if they break the rules then we won't hesitate to fine them in addition to the tough action we already take.”

Although The Hearing Clinic was the first to receive a fine under the new powers, the issue of hearing loss claims is currently under scrutiny, with insurers calling for costs limits and the Civil Justice Council asked to consider concerns about the growing number of claims. Why they should be granted special treatment is a mystery. A valid claim is a valid claim after all.

Kevin Rousell - Head of Claims Management Regulation at the MOJ
Kevin RousellHead of Claims Management Regulation at Ministry of Justice

The MoJ says 296 claims firms received warnings from the regulator in 2014/15 and 105 had their licenses removed. The total number of companies in the industry has fallen by over 300 this year, to 1,458 as of the beginning of September 2015. This is down from a peak of 3,367 in 2011.

Vince Costa-Barnett, Director of TPS Services said:

“In some ways, the drop in CMC's is good news, especially for the banks and financial institutions who have been repeatedly found to be letting down consumers. It's not surprising that the Association of British Bankers has been very vocal in the manner in which the claims industry operates.”
“Objectively speaking though, this may not be such good news for consumers. It may be the case that many consumers have voiced concerns over cold calling and text messages, but millions of consumers would not have made successful claims without the assistance of the CMC market. As the saying goes...be careful what you wish for!”
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