Skip to content Skip to footer

Citizens Advice: 32 million unexpectedly contacted about mis-sold PPI

29 August 2013

New figures from Citizens Advice finds two thirds (67%) of British adults, equivalent to 32 million people, say they have received an unwanted telephone call, text, email or letter about claiming for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI).

Of these, 98% did not feel that they had given their permission to be contacted in this way.

More than half (55%) estimate that they were contacted over ten times in the last 12 months.

The national charity finds people’s work, family time and even household chores are being put on hold to answer calls about re-claiming for PPI.

  • 1 in 4 (27%)  received their most recent call during a during a family meal time;
  • Around 1 in 7 (14%) received the call while at work including during meetings and presentations;
  • Around 1 in 8 (13%) of people were contacted during TV and film viewing;
  • 1 in 25 (4%) were carrying out their domestic duties, like cleaning, cooking and gardening, when they last received a PPI claims call.

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.

The new figures are from a national survey of  5,682 people aged 18 and over in Great Britain, carried out by Ipsos MORI, between June and July 2013.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“It’s completely unacceptable that precious family time, important work meetings and rare opportunities to relax are being ruined by PPI cold calls.  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.

“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.

“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 company not to be trusted.”

Citizens Advice research found 56% of complaints about PPI claims management stemmed from cold calls.  The figures, released in May this year, come from a detailed analysis of a sample of complaints (1,845) about financial services to the Citizens Advice consumer service between January and February 2013.

Nuisance phone calls are not just confined to claims management companies, 35% of complaints to Citizens Advice about financial services were from a cold call.  People paid upfront fees for loans that never materialised, had their bank details passed onto other companies and firms failed to abide by cancellation rules.

Half of 30,000 complaints about cold calling, dealt with by the Citizens Advice consumer service between April 2012 and March 2013, related to professional and financial services including PPI and offers of loans.

You don’t have to use a claims management company to make a claim for mis-sold products like PPI, credit card protection and packaged bank accounts. You can make a claim yourself by going direct to your bank. Citizens Advice can help you make a claim.  There is information online, including template letters, at or you can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you have a problem with a claims management company you can also get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06.


Top tips to give cold callers the cold shoulder

  • Ignore spam text messages.
  • Put the phone down on marketing telephone calls.
  • Be careful how you share your personal contact details.
  • Forward spam texts to your mobile provider for them to take action: 7726 for Everything Everywhere or O2, 37726 for 3, 87726 for Vodafone.
  • Report any scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • Make a claim for mis-sold PPI yourself by contacting your bank directly.
  • Get advice about claims management companies from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 040506 (or Welsh speaking 08454 04 05 05), online at or from your local CAB.
  • Complain to the Information Commissions Office about spam text on 030 3123 1113.

Notes to editors

  1. The research was conducted on Capibus, Ipsos MORI’s face to face omnibus, between 21st June and 15th 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. The estimate of approximately 32 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 31.5 and 32.4 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.