More than 32 million people pestered by PPI claims

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The Government must give regulators more powers to crack down on unscrupulous claims firms that are contacting consumers without permission, Which? has demanded.

Meanwhile, the advice charity has said cold-calling from financial firms should be banned.

Which? spoke out this week after research from Citizens Advice revealed that two-thirds of us – about 32 million people – have received an unwanted telephone call, text, email or letter about payment protection insurance (PPI).

Almost all – 98 per cent of those asked – said that they have never given the companies permission to make contact.

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."

She pointed out that there is a particular problem with claims-management companies with promises made over an unexpected phone call often not fulfilled.

"I want financial-services firms to be banned from cold calling," said Ms Guy.

"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 a company not to be trusted," she added.