Updated: Sunday, 18th March 2018 @ 6:00am

Unsolicited PPI text messages and cold calling: Bolton residents call for tougher sanctions over infuriating tactics

Unsolicited PPI text messages and cold calling: Bolton residents call for tougher sanctions over infuriating tactics

By Alex Bysouth

Unsolicited text messages, cold calls and companies offering payment protection insurance are leaving Bolton residents irate and calling for tougher sanctions to be imposed.

In the previous financial year Bolton made the fourth most PPI complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, but this has resulted in a rise in unsolicited fraudulent companies offering their services.

Ajaz Khan is Business Development Director at Credit Claims in Bolton. He believes that despite 400 claims management companies being struck off or barred, rules need to be altered to stop unsolicited text messages and cold calling.

“Many of our customers come to us after recommendation and often tell us that they have had text messages or cold calls,” he said.

“The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) recently revealed that over 75% of adults in the UK have been contacted by text message or cold call regarding mis sold PPI.

“That is tantamount to harassment and we have already expressed our concerns to the Ministry of Justice about such practices.”

Complaints about PPI calls now peak at about 2,000 cases referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service on a daily basis.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, is calling on the government to step in if the regulators cannot police and punish these complaints correctly.

“Unwanted calls or texts are not just a nuisance,” he said. “They can be intrusive and distressing.

“Many of us have been bombarded with spurious claims of PPI or injury compensation, and people are telling us they are totally fed up with this nuisance and want to see action.

“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 CMC industry.”

And a Westhoughton resident, who wished to remain unnamed, has experienced these companies becoming aggressive in an attempt to gain financial and personal details.

“The particular calls I got were from people claiming I had a Sky repair plan, when I said I didn't they got quite defensive, then asking for my bank details,” he said.

“When I refused they started quoting reference numbers and saying I was with Barclays – I'm not.

“They got a bit aggressive when they said it will get cancelled and I said I didn't care as I wasn't paying them anyway.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office confirms companies sending text messages must lawfully identify themselves and stress any which do not should be ignored by recipients.

“We are aware that lots of people are receiving unsolicited text messages relating to accident claims, debts, pensions or mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance,” they said.

“We believe the companies sending the texts are randomly generating mobile telephone numbers and sending several hundred or thousand texts.

“They hope that a proportion may reach the mobile phone of someone who has recently had an accident, or been sold a financial product, and who will then reply.”

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.