Tougher action is needed to stop people being plagued by firms pushing them to make payment protection insurance (PPI) and personal injury claims, consumer campaigners said today.

Which? found seven out of 10 consumers have been cold-called by companies in the last three months, while two-fifths have received a nuisance text message (for help on stopping nuisance calls, see our Stop Spam Calls guide).

Key Points

  • Which? wants action to stop cold callers
  • Particularly wants clamp down on PPI industry
  • Seven in 10 got a cold call in last three months

The consumer group urged regulators including Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading to set up a joint taskforce to pull the plug on "intrusive and distressing" calls and texts.

Which? says they should start by clamping down on the PPI and personal injury claims industries, which are responsible for the majority of nuisance calls in its survey.

Other common unwanted calls to people's landlines include those from firms selling services such as double glazing and mobile phones, market research companies and calls which were completely silent.

The consumer group says another investigation it carried out found a quarter of its members who made a claim on their car insurance were contacted by a claims management company within three months.

Many of them were bombarded by repeated messages, with more than a fifth receiving at least 10 texts. One in eight people who were contacted said they had received 10 or more phone calls.

Clamp down on rule breakers

Which? wants its proposed joint taskforce to scrutinise the activities of the personal injury and PPI industries and clamp down on rule-breakers by imposing fines and putting them out of business.

It says the taskforce, which would also include the Information Commissioner's Office and the Ministry of Justice, should also make recommendations for any new powers which would be needed to cut out nuisance calls and texts.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, says: "Our research once again shows that the behaviour of unscrupulous claims management companies must be tackled to stop those exploiting consumers who could claim compensation for free themselves.

"We want to see tougher regulation from the Government to clean up the industry."