New measures to end the blight of nuisance calls have come into force.
People will now be given the choice to opt in to receiving such calls, which could be about personal injury claims or PPI.
Cold calls offering to settle personal injury claims or sell payment protection insurance will be banned if the claimant has not chosen to opt in to receive them.
Previously, people had to opt out by registering with the free Telephone Preference Service or withdraw their consent while on the call.
The UK-wide measures force the caller to make sure they have the recipient’s consent before calling.
Those offering unwanted claims management services could be fined as much as half a million pounds by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if they breach the rules.
Plans to clamp down on nuisance calls were previously announced in May.
Around 2.7 billion unsolicited calls, texts and emails have been made to people offering to help them make a claim over the past 12 months, including calls about recent accidents or PPI – equating to around 50 calls, texts or emails being made to every member of the adult population.
Minister for digital Margot James said: “Today we are one step closer to ending the menace of nuisance calls.
“Our new laws mean people will now have to give consent to receive calls and have the power to choose where they seek compensation for personal injury claims or mis-sold payment protection insurance.
“This is a big boost for the Information Commissioner’s Office and will help them crack down on the cold call sharks.”
Andy Curry, enforcement group manager at the ICO, said: “Millions of nuisance calls, texts and emails are made every year in the UK and can cause real distress to people.”
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Nuisance calls have plagued millions for years and our research revealed more than seven in 10 believe that they received unsolicited calls last month.
“While the new rules are welcome, they must be enforced to stop companies flouting the law with these dodgy practices. The Government must also urgently deliver on its promise to hold those responsible personally accountable.”