PPI claims now account for half of nuisance calls
Consumers receive on average two nuisance calls a week and payment protection insurance claims firms are responsible for most of them, according to Ofcom.
Research by the communications watchdog showed calls about PPI claims made up 22% of all nuisance calls, but this rose to 51% where participants were able to identify the product or service being sold.
Other reasons for calls included sales pitches from energy companies and insurers, as well as market research.
Live marketing calls were the most prevalent types of nuisance calls, followed by silent calls and recorded sales calls.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director, said: "Two nuisance calls a week is too many and this detailed research will help us understand the root cause of the problem.
"We will use the full range of our powers to tackle abandoned and silent calls, but this is a complex area that requires joint action from a number of different agencies and government. We are therefore working with the government and other regulators to help drive a co-ordinated and more effective response to nuisance calls."
Ofcom has now pledged to investigate PPI claims management companies over abandoned and silent calls.
Ban cold calls by financial firms
However, Citizens Advice has called for a much stronger stance and wants to see a ban on cold calling by all financial firms.
Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice chief executive, said: "People are being hounded in their homes by unscrupulous financial firms. Without a ban on cold calling for financial services people are at risk of losing some of their pension to scams or paying upfront fees for services that don't deliver."
In the June edition of Moneywise magazine – out on 30 May – our columnist Jeff Prestridge details his own frustrations of receiving nuisance calls and examines the plans in place to tackle them.
In the meantime, share your own experiences in the comment box below.
Payment protection insurance is designed to cover you should you fall ill, have an accident or lose your job and can’t make repayments on loans or credit cards. However, research by consumer watchdogs found the cover to be overpriced, filled with exclusions (policies exclude self-employment, contract employees and pre-existing medical conditions) and were often mis-sold because the exclusions were never fully explained. In May 2011, the High Court ruled banks had knowingly mis-sold PPI and ordered them to compensate around two million consumers.
Claims management companies
Regulated by the Claims Management Services Regulator since 2006, claims management companies offer advice and legal services in respect of claims for compensation, restitution, repayment for loss, damage or negligence. To many, the term is merely a polite euphemism for “no win, no fee” law companies. If you feel they offer services you need, approach with care.