Debt Tracing: Dos and Don'ts
Want to trace your debtors and get your money back?
Want to recoup what is owed to you but don't want to get on the wrong side of the law?
Read our useful guide to debt collection, based on guidelines written by the Office of Fair Trading, the Government agency which regulates businesses and traders.....
We respectfully ask our clients to read the guidance, to avoid confusion. It is important that we operate within these guidelines.
- Be clear in your dealings with your debtors: You should give clear, comprehensive information
- Take into account debtors' circumstances, in particular if they are classed as 'vulnerable' (for example if they have certain medical and/or mental health issues)
- Establish and implement 'clear, effective and appropriate policies and procedures' (*1) for dealing with debtors: If you have these in place and can show you have adhered to them, courts will be more sympathetic to your case
- Refer your debtor, once found, to appropriate debt advice agencies
- Offer contact telephone numbers that are affordable (ie. not premium rate numbers) so your debtors can contact you without accruing hefty charges
- Allow for affordable repayment options, in instalments if appropriate
- Give the debtor adequate notice if you intend to visit their property
- Be aggressive, use coercion or conduct that is dishonest: This can and will count against you in the eyes of the law
- Act in a threatening manner if visiting a debtor at their property
- Give false or misleading information which exploits a debtor's lack of knowledge
- Contact debtors at unreasonable times of the day, or too frequently (you could be charged with harassment)
- Pursue third parties for payment (eg. a spouse or other family member) when they are not liable
- Put undue pressure on debtors to pay more than they can reasonably afford or to pay within an unreasonably short period of time
- Pass on debtors' details to third parties: for example, other creditors or debt collectors
- Take payment out of a debtor's account before the agreed due date or take out an amount higher than that agreed
Failure to comply with the OFT guidelines (*2) could result in your business being considered 'unfit to hold a consumer credit licence' (*3)
This could seriously impact on the viability of your business in the future...
*1 Quote taken from the OFT guidance for debt collection: www.oft.gov.uk
*2 See www.oft.gov.uk
*3 Quote taken from the OFT guidance for debt collection: www.oft.gov.uk
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