Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

9 in 10 don’t trust firms that cold call

16 January 2014

New figures from Citizens Advice highlight cold calling receives cold shoulder

Companies should ‘hang-up’ cold calling marketing strategies as 92% of people don’t trust companies whose sales representatives contact them by cold calling, says Citizens Advice.

The new findings are from a survey of 1,210 consumers which was carried out between August and September last year. The survey questioned people, who had who got help from the Citizens Advice consumer service, about their trust in businesses.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of the consumer body, described the findings as ‘indicative of marketing that is nothing more than a nuisance.’

The new evidence is released as the issue is discussed in the parliament this week. There is back bench debate in the House of Commons on Thursday 16 January and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuisance Calls met on Tuesday 14 January.

Citizens Advice has long been calling for financial services companies like claims management firms and debt resolution services to be banned from cold calling to protect people from unscrupulous firms.

Gillian Guy said:

"It is time companies hang-up marketing plans that bombard people with unwanted phone calls, text messages and automated voicemails. Nine in 10 people don’t trust companies that cold-call which is indicative of marketing that is nothing more than a nuisance.

"I’d like to see financial service companies banned from cold calling. Citizens Advice is helping people who have been left seriously out of pocket after signing up to a service over the phone only to find it doesn’t deliver what was promised. A ban on these firms would help people know a call out of the blue is one not to be trusted."

Research from Citizens Advice last year found people are being harassed by cold calls for all manner of products and services. According to a survey of 5,682 British adults aged 18 and over the most common unexpected sales calls, texts and emails made to households in Britain are:

  • Personal injury and accident claims (42%)
  • Gas and electricity suppliers (40%)
  • Double glazing firms (29%)
  • Firms selling debt relief services (23%)
  • Offers for extended warranty on products (14%)
  • Firms selling pension unlocking services (10%).

Citizens Advice also found two thirds (67%) of British adults, equivalent to over 30 million people, say they have received an unwanted telephone call, text, email or letter about claiming for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI).

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice spoke to 1,210 people between August and September 2013 who had received help from the Citizens Advice consumer service.
  2. The research was conducted on Capibus, Ipsos MORI’s face to face omnibus, between 21 June and 15 July 2013. Questions were asked of 5,682 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. The survey data were weighted by age, gender, region, social grade, household tenure, working status and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults 18+ in Great Britain.
  3. The estimate of approximately 30 million people has been derived by applying the survey result to the 2010 ONS mid-year population estimate of 47.8 million adults aged 18+ in Great Britain. For any percentage given, we can estimate ‘confidence intervals’ within which the true values are likely to fall. Using an estimated confidence interval of +/- 1 percentage point, we can be 95% confident that the true value lies between 29.6and 30.6 million British adults. Please note though that these tolerances assume a random sample with no design effect, and do not strictly apply to quota surveys (although good quality quota surveys are often assumed to behave in the same way). In reality there is also likely to be a design effect to these findings, which means that the confidence intervals are likely to be wider.
  4. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  5. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or 08454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  8. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.