Firms behind a wave of junk calls, emails and texts dodge fines worth millions.
They have been ordered to pay £4.2million in five years for plaguing people.
But only £887,140 – or just over 20 per cent – has been collected.
Cold callers can dodge fines by closing down or going bankrupt then starting up under a new name.
They are thought to make £5billion a year with messages like those about mis-sold payment protection insurance . Bosses will soon be held personally liable for nuisance calls under a new clampdown.
Campaigners Stop Junk Mail uncovered the stats on fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office. The ICO said: “We chase unpaid fines by working with an insolvency practitioner and the Insolvency Service.”
An ICO spokesman said: “We’ll continue to chase unpaid fines by working with an insolvency practitioner and the Insolvency Service.
“While, in some respects, it marks a frustrating end to our investigations it’s worth noting that when nuisance call companies go out of business, they stop making calls. And that’s a successful outcome.
“We’ve been calling for a change to the law and are pleased the Government plans to introduce fines for company directors heading up nuisance call firms.
“This should put an end to directors making large amounts of money from nuisance calls and texts, only to try and duck away from the fine when they’re caught.”