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40m nuisance calls ( ) one Welsh firm in just three months; Company'slicencerevokedfor'plaguingandrippingoff'thepublic Licence revoked for 'plaguing public'.

Byline: Robin Turner Reporter

AWELSH call centre which made nearly 40 million nuisance calls in just three months has lost its licence.

Falcon&Pointer Ltd is based on the fourth floor of Swansea's Princess House in Princess Way in the centre of the city.

It used automatic dialling technology to make the enormous number of calls about mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

The Claims Management Regulator (CMR) based at the Ministry of Justice has now revoked its licence following hundreds of complaints from members of the public bombarded by the company's unwanted calls.

The firm set out to "plague the public and rip off consumers", the regulator said.

The CMR, based at the Ministry of Justice, regulates companies that offer to help people claim compensation for issues such as personal and criminal injury and mis-sold financial products.

It said in a statement: "As a result turn to page 5 from Page 1 of an investigation, the Claims Management Regulator has decided to cancel Falcon & Pointer Ltd's authorisation to provide claims management services under the Compensation Act 2006 with effect from January 12, 2016."

Kevin Rousell, head of the CMR, said: "Falcon & Pointer has demonstrated the worst excesses of the industry. This firm clearly set out to plague the public and rip off consumers.

"They ignored warnings by us and the Information Commissioner's Office, and today have had their licence revoked as a result of that wilful ignorance."

The CMR said its investigation also found Falcon&Pointer had coerced people into signing contracts without giving them enough time to understand the terms and conditions before taking payment.

This is regarded as an extremely serious breach of the regulator's rules on conduct.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said Falcon&Pointer's calls would have caused "real distress" to many, particularly elderly people.

A spokesman for the regulator added: "The firm ignored warnings from both the CMR and the Information Commissioner's Office and has now been stripped of its licence.

"This means that it can no longer offer regulated claims management services to new or existing clients."

The removal of Falcon & Pointer's licence is the latest move in a concerted crackdown on what the CMR terms "rogue behaviour" in the industry, which has included removing over a thousand licences since 2010 and issuing fines of over PS1.7m.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said: "Protecting the public and consumers is our utmost priority and the disgraceful actions of this company would have caused real distress to many people, particularly the vulnerable and elderly.

"The Government will continue to take action against rogue firms that put their own profits before the rights of consumers.

"The ruling means Falcon & Pointer Ltd must cease handling claims immediately.

"The regulator will be advising customers that if their claim had not been completed they might be entitled to repayment of any fee."

In December 2014, the CMR obtained a new power to impose financial penalties on Claims Management Companies for rule breaches.

So far, companies have been fined for a range of breaches including unlawful unsolicited marketing and coercing clients into signing contracts.

Attempts to contact Falcon & Pointer Ltd were unsuccessful.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 13, 2016
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