Over 30 million people have received unwanted messages about claiming for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), figures from a Citizens Advice survey suggest.
67% of British adults, equivalent to 32 million people, say they have received an unwanted telephone call, text, email or letter about PPI, it says. (You don't need to pay to reclaim it - see Reclaim PPI For Free.)
Of these, 98% did not feel they had given their permission to be contacted in this way, while 55% say they were contacted more than 10 times in the past 12 months.
Citizens Advice says people's work, family time and household chores are being put on hold to answer calls about PPI.
27% of people received their most recent call during a family meal, while around 14% received the call at work, including during meetings and presentations.
Telephone calls (91%), automated messages to landlines (39%) and texts to mobiles (35%) are the most common ways in which people are contacted about PPI claims.
Never, ever pay to reclaim PPI
MoneySavingExpert.com deputy head of editorial Guy Anker says: "This is an utter nuisance for the millions bombarded daily by these irritating messages. The PPI mis-selling scandal is one thing, but this is rubbing salt in the wounds.
"It's simple: never, ever pay to reclaim PPI, let alone from one of these pests. Or you're throwing away typically 30% of your cash."
Get Our Free Money Tips Email!
'Cold calls often a sign of a scam'
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy says: "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 a company not to be trusted.
"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, she adds.
"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."