Financial services providers such as claims management companies, pension unlocking services and credit brokers should be banned from cold calling according to Citizens Advice.
Its research found 35% of complaints about these financial services were from a cold call. People paid up front fees for loans that never materialised, had their bank details passed onto other companies and firms failed to abide by cancellation rules.
A new Ofcom study has revealed that 82% of adults received a nuisance call during a four week period. It found that where the person was able to identify what the call was about, 22% were for PPI claims, and 10% of recorded sales calls were about pension rebates.
Citizens Advice found a direct correlation between shoddy financial services, cold calling and lead generation – where people’s details are passed on without their apparent permission.
The research is a detailed analysis of a sample of complaints (1,845) about financial services to the Citizens Advice consumer service between January and February 2013 which found:
- 35% of cases had evidence of cold calling, out of the blue texts, letters and spam emails
- 97% of cases about pension unlocking services and 56% of PPI claims management stemmed from cold calls
- 13% said their personal and/or bank details had been passed from company to company
- half involved an upfront fee
- 30% were scams many of which were from cold calls, had upfront fees or persistently tried to persuade people to part with their cash.
The Citizens Advice consumer service dealt with over 30,000 complaints about cold calling for a range of products and services between April 2012 and March 2013. Half related to professional and financial services including PPI and offers of loans.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy 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.
“A ban on cold calling will make it clear that if you are still contacted out of the blue then it is a scam or a service not to be trusted.”