Citizens Advice has hit out at claims management companies (CMCs) for cold-calling and the way they then handle payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling cases.
An IPSOS Mori survey of 5,682 people for the charity found that two-thirds – equivalent to 32m people in the UK – say they have received an unwanted telephone call, text, e-mail or letter about claiming for mis-sold PPI.
More than half (55%) estimate that they were contacted over ten times in the last 12 months.
Of these, 98% did not feel that they had given their permission to be contacted in this way.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “It’s completely unacceptable that precious family time, important work meetings and rare opportunities to relax are being ruined by PPI cold calls. Nuisance calls aren’t just irritating, they’re often a sign that the service on offer isn’t very good or is actually a scam. Over a third of the complaints Citizens Advice handles about financial services stem from a cold call.
“There is a particular problem with claims management companies. People are finding that sometimes the promises made over an unexpected phone call aren’t delivered. This means people who have been mis-sold PPI lose out twice: first at the hands of the bank and secondly from the claims firms because they don’t get the full compensation they deserve.
“I want financial services firms to be banned from cold calling. That will help consumers identify good firms from the bad. Then if you get a cold call you’ll know it is either a bogus firm or company not to be trusted.”
Citizens Advice research found 56% of complaints about PPI claims management stemmed from cold calls.
Nuisance phone calls are not just confined to CMCs; 35% of complaints to Citizens Advice about financial services were from a cold call. People paid upfront fees for loans that never materialised, had their bank details passed onto other companies and firms failed to abide by cancellation rules.
Half of 30,000 complaints about cold calling, dealt with by the Citizens Advice consumer service between April 2012 and March 2013, related to professional and financial services including PPI and offers of loans.