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Law is failing nuisance call victims

31 Hydref 2013

Citizens Advice has warned that consumers are being failed by regulations to control nuisance callers, as their evidence shows that the current law is failing to punish companies who flout the rules. Now, the national charity is calling for MPs to support a Private Members Bill to clamp down on unscrupulous cold callers.

Despite rules that people must give permission to be contacted, recent research by the charity has shown that 98% of those who received these calls and texts weren’t expecting it.

Even when a company is found to have done something wrong the unreasonably high threshold of harm, which sets out how much damage a company must do before it can be punished, means that companies can rarely be fined.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said:

“Huge loopholes in the current rules allow companies to hound people with a barrage of unwanted calls and texts. It’s good to see MPs recognising this and fighting for changes to the inadequate laws.

“Everyone knows how annoying it is to be interrupted by someone hawking unwanted products. But at Citizens Advice we also see people who are left out of pocket by scams and unsuitable products and vulnerable people who are menaced in their own homes by silent or repeated calls.

“The proposed bill could make a real difference to people who have been  exposed to cold calling for too long. I’d also like to see financial services banned from cold-calling so that consumers know , if they get a cold call from such a firm it is either a scam or company not to be trusted.”

A survey of 5,682 British Adults aged 18 and over revealed that 72% of people have received received an unrequested call, text or email in the last 12 months.

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%)

Notes to editors:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.