Claims management companies (CMCs) should be banned from cold calling says charity Citizens Advice, after research revealed 90% of consumers have been pestered by calls, emails or texts by them.

The charity found nine in 10 of those surveyed had been contacted out of the blue by a CMC in the last 12 months, of which 72% of calls were about making a claim for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy says: "People should give cold callers the cold shoulder and go direct to their bank if they want to make a claim for PPI.

"These firms are intimidating people in their home and wasting a lot of people's time – and in some cases money when they make a claim and nothing comes of it.

"They're not upfront with their customers about fees, are charging excessive costs and aren't getting people the payout they deserve."

'Ban fees'

Citizens Advice is also calling for a ban on CMCs charging upfront fees.

In April, and Which? launched a campaign calling for consumers to avoid costly CMCs when making PPI claims. Instead, do it yourself to collect ALL your compensation.

Data from Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) also found people were spending, on average, over £1,100 in fees to use CMCs.

Sometimes, mis-selling victims shell out far more. In March we reported how Phil Stephens, from Essex, paid a claims firm a whopping £25,000 in fees from an £82,000 PPI refund.

Citizens Advice says CMCs' excessive costs are pushing people into hardship with one in four of its clients in debt or financial trouble after forking out fees.