Two-thirds of Brits have been plagued by unwanted calls, texts, emails or letters about claiming for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), according to research from Citizens Advice.
The consumer charity found a massive 98% said they had not given their permission to be contacted and more than half had been contacted in excess of 10 times.
The research found people have to put their work, family time and household chores on hold while they deal with claims firms.
Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice chief executive, described the nuisance as "completely unacceptable".
"People are finding that sometimes the promises made over an unexpected phone call aren't delivered," she added.
"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."
The research showed 56% of complaints about PPI claims management firms stemmed from cold calls.
Guy has called for financial services firms to be banned from cold calling, to allow consumers to identify between good and bad firms.
Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which, called for more action to be taken against these firms. "The government must give regulators more powers to crack down on unscrupulous claims firms who are contacting consumers without permission and exploiting people who can claim compensation for free themselves for mis-sold PPI," he said.
How to stop cold calls
Citizens Advice gives the following tips:
- Ignore spam texts
- Put the phone down on marketing phone calls
- Be careful how you share your personal contact details
- Forward spam texts to your mobile provider for it to take action: 7726 for EE or O2, 37726 for Three and 87726 for Vodafone
- Report scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
- Make your PPI claim yourself by contacting your bank directly
- Complain to the Information Commissioner's Office on 0303 123 1113 about spam texts.
For your chance to win a CPR CallBlocker – a device approved by the police that plugs into your phone and blocks unwanted calls at the touch of a button – email email@example.com with 'CallBlocker' in the subject line and give us your your name, address and phone number by 30 September.
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