Those visiting debtors must not act in an threatening or unclear manner in the UK.
Examples of unfair practices are as follows:
a) Not making the purpose of any proposed visit clear, for example, merely stating that field agents or collectors will call is not sufficient.
b) Visiting a debtor when it is known they are vulnerable, for example, when a doctor's certificate has been provided stating that the debtor is ill.
c) Continuing with a visit when it becomes apparent that the debtor is distressed or otherwise vulnerable, for example, it becomes apparent that the debtor has mental health problems.
d) Entering a property uninvited.
e) Not leaving a property when asked to.
f) Threatening to visit debtors or visiting them without prior agreement when the debt is disputed or deadlocked.
Note: By "deadlocked" they mean where a debtor's adviser or debtor agrees there is a debt and has offered a repayment program which has not been agreed by the debt collector or creditor. They are not saying that any offer must be accepted but we have seen cases where offers are disregarded and a debtor is told that "we are sending field agents". Many debtors are unlikely to understand this term and are likely to view the visit as a threat designed to make them offer more money when they can pay no more. Some letters appear to be designed to give this impression.
Note: "By 'disputed' they mean genuinely disputed. They are not seeking to protect "won't pay" but those who are being pursued for a debt they do not owe or genuinely believe they do not owe. Debt collectors who can show that the debt is due and that any dispute has been looked into and the debt confirmed will not be in breach of this provision."
g) not giving adequate notice of the time and date of a visit
Note: When a door-to-door debt collector makes an initial home visit to a debtor it may not always be possible for them to give notice that is adequate of the date and time of that visit. This is not necessarily unfair. The key word is adequate. This was inserted to ensure that what the debtor regarded as adequate was key.
What is adequate will vary from debtor to debtor. When initial contact is made, a debtor may be happy to speak to the debt collector then and there. If that is the case the visit would not be unfair. Where a debtor prefers to use that first visit to agree to a future visit at a time that is more convenient, a debt collector should respect their wishes. A debtor may prefer to do so at a later date so they can arrange for a third party to be there or seek advice about their situation. What is important is that a debtor is given enough time to prepare. They should never be coerced into immediate discussions.
h) Visiting debtors, unless requested, at inappropriate locations such as a hospital or at work.
View more topics on Unlawful Debt Collection Practices in the United Kingdom.
The source of this information was provided from the Office Of Fair Trading at oft.gov.uk and further information on illegal debt collection practices can be found there. Disclaimer: The above information was written in good faith, but we cannot guarantee accuracy or credit approval.