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Thread: Complaints to OFT about DCA's

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  1. #1
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    Default Complaints to OFT about DCA's

    ***BEFORE YOU COMPLETE AND SUBMIT A COMPLAINT , PLEASE ENSURE YOU READ ALL THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS AND SUBSEQUENT POSTS***

    Do you feel you have been treated unfairly by one of the following in the course of collecting a debt:-

    • Internal Collections Department
    • Debt Collection Agency
    • Solicitors acting on behalf of a creditor
    • Debt Management or Enforcement Company (Bailiffs)

    The guidance does not relate to the routine collection of repayments. It applies to the collection of debt once an account is in default. This guidance does not therefore affect the ability of traders who deal in home collection of repayments to visit their customers as those payments fall due.

    We at Legal Beagles wish to assist the OFT in compiling evidence against those companies who constantly fail to comply with their obligations under the OFT's Debt Collection Guidelines.
    Although the majority of companies do comply with these guidelines, sadly many do not.

    The
    OFT would like your help in checking whether those licensed under the Consumer Credit Act are complying with the OFT’s Debt Collection Guidance(oft664).

    Many people are unaware why, when or how to complain about the unfair treatment they have received. You may have threatened to complain to the OFT previously, but never actually carried it through. The following posts should help you to decide if you have a valid complaint.

    Unless the OFT are made aware of these breaches they cannot act.

    A few examples of breaches are


    • 2.6a. contacting debtors at unreasonable times and at unreasonable intervals
    • 2.6f. pressurising debtors to pay in full, in unreasonably large instalments,or to increase payments when they are unable to do so
    • 2.8k. not ceasing collection activity whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt

    A more comprehensive list can be found in the oft664 attachment.

    Also attached to this post is the OFT's Debt Collection Complaint Form. If you feel you have a genuine complaint that you have not been able to resolve with the company concerned then we would encourage you to complete the form with as much information as you can and submit it to the OFT.


    ***BEFORE YOU
    COMPLETE AND SUBMIT A COMPLAINT , PLEASE ENSURE YOU READ ALL THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS AND SUBSEQUENT POSTS***

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~










    Last edited by Tools; 16th December 2008 at 19:50:PM.
    Any opinions I give are my own. Any advice I give is without liability. If you are unsure, please seek qualified legal advice.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Complaints to OFT about DCA's

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has a duty under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to ensure that licences are only given to and retained by those who are fit to hold them.

    The guidance attached in post#1 is intended to set out the type of behaviour the OFT considers to fall within the category of unfair business practices which will call into question fitness to retain or be given a licence. It is expected that applicants and licence holders will abide by the spirit as well as the letter of this guidance. Publication of this guidance will also enable the OFT to take speedier action against behaviour that clearly falls into the type of categories of unfair practices shown.

    If dissatisfied with some aspect of the business to be licensed, the OFT may impose a requirement on the business to do – or to stop doing – something in order to address the cause(s) of its dissatisfaction. The OFT can impose a financial penalty of up to £50,000 on a business which fails to comply with a requirement.

    If the OFT receives evidence that a licensee is not a fit person after it has issued a licence, it can revoke, suspend, or change the terms of the licence. If the OFT becomes dissatisfied with some aspect of a licensee’s business, it can impose a requirement to address the cause(s) of its dissatisfaction.

    The guidance outlines unfair practices with illustrative examples a small selection is shown below, please read Section 2 for a full list.

    • 2.2b. leaving out or presenting information in such a way that it creates a false or misleading impression or exploits debtors' lack of knowledge
    • 2.2e. failing to provide debtors or creditors with information on status of debts, for example, not providing requested balance statements when reasonably requested
    • 2.4f. pursuing third parties for payment when they are not liable
    • 2.6a. contacting debtors at unreasonable times and at unreasonable intervals
    • 2.6f. pressurising debtors to pay in full, in unreasonably large instalments,or to increase payments when they are unable to do so
    • 2.6h. ignoring and/or disregarding claims that debts have been settled or are disputed and continuing to make unjustified demands for payment
    • 2.8g. failing to refer on to the creditor reasonable offers to pay by instalments
    • 2.8i. failing to investigate and/or provide details as appropriate, when a debt is queried or disputed, possibly resulting in debtors being wrongly pursued
    • 2.8k. not ceasing collection activity whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt.
    • 2.12c. 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
    • 2.6d. entering a property uninvited
    • 2.6e. not leaving a property when asked to
    • 2.6f. visiting or threatening to visit debtors without prior agreement when the debt is deadlocked or disputed(see clarification note 1)

    The examples given are based on OFT complaint information and issues brought to their attention by organisations representing consumers, business and other regulators.

    If consumer credit licence holders choose to do business or continue to do business with third parties engaged in questionable fitness behaviour, then their own fitness will be called into question.

    Our aim is to ensure that creditors do not ignore the unfair practices of debt collectors, whether in-house or external, acting on their behalf.

    It is not for the OFT to specify in this guidance how choices about third party selection are made nor to advise on desired conduct between third parties.

    However, during any investigation in this respect, the OFT would expect to see that care had been taken in the selection process, complaints had been investigated and that firm action had been taken as appropriate. It would be unlikely that we would take action against a creditor who could demonstrate such action had been taken.
    Last edited by Tools; 16th December 2008 at 19:55:PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    ****A BRIEF GUIDE OF HOW TO FILL OUT THE COMPLAINT FORM COMPLETE IN AS MUCH DETAIL AS POSSIBLE AND INCLUDE COPIES OF ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE YOU MAY HAVE****

    1. About yourself

    This section is usually completed by the organisation assisting you with your debts such as CCCS or Payplan. However, you can add the details of Legal Beagles if you wish using:-
    Name - Admin
    Organisation - Legal Beagles
    Address - www.legalbeagles.info
    Contact Telephone Number - n/a
    E-mail Address - [email protected]
    Preferred method of contact - Email
    Time(s) of day when you would prefer to be contacted - Any

    2.
    Details of your client.

    This section is all about you.

    Name, address, etc are pretty self explanatory

    It would be preferable if you would allow the OFT to contact you directly.
    3. Details of the creditor/debt collection agency.
    Name of company about which the complaint is being made - Bank name/ DCA name/ Solicitors Co. name etc
    Contact name(s) and position(s) of all relevant staff members (if known) - Names and positions that have appeared on any correspondence i.e Mr Joe Bloggs - Collections Department Senior Advisor , names you have taken over the phone etc
    Address - Address given in any correspondence

    4.
    Complaint Details Please provide details about the complaint, including dates and times of any relevant events (if you run out of space, please attach additional sheets).
    a) When and how did your client first become aware of the debt collector?
    Usually this will be when arrears have become due on a debt that you have fallen behind with. Include as much detail as possible here including dates/times if you have records or can remember.
    b) How did the company contact your client? How frequently were they contacted? What was the nature of the contact? Provide dates and times and copies of any correspondence if possible.
    Again, pretty much self explanatory. i.e "By telephone - daily", "By letter -fortnightly", "At my home address -twice". The nature of the contact will usually be along the lines of "To ask for payment". Again, if you have letters or can remember dates/times of telephone calls include these.
    c) Please explain:
    - what sort of debt was claimed to be owed by your client.
    - to whom the debt was alleged to be owed
    - the amount of the debt.
    Example -
    Credit Card debt
    Virgin(MBNA)
    £4000
    COMPLETE IF YOUR CLIENT DISPUTES THE DEBT
    d) Did you or your client explain that they disputed the alleged debt? If so, in what terms did you or your client dispute the debt? How did the debt collector respond when the debt was disputed?

    Example - "I have written on several occasions disputing the debt as it consists of charges currently being determined in the OFT Test Case, I also have a claim (Number xxxxxxxx) stayed within the xxxxxx County Court. The debt collection department/agency said they were still entitled to collect the debt"

    e) Did you or your client explain their situation to the debt collector? How did the debt collector respond? Did you or your client offer a repayment plan? Was this accepted? Did your client fill out a personal budget sheet or financial statement?
    Once again, include as much information as possible with supporting letters, times/dates/contact names of telephone calls to collections departments/agents
    f) Did the debt collector threaten your client? If so, in what way - verbally, physically or both? Please provide any evidence you have to support this information, including client’s testimony.
    Ideally you should be able to provide a witness for verbally or physically abusive behaviour i.e another occupant of the house. If the threatening behaviour was by letter/telephone then records may normally be kept, if at all possible, record any telephone conversations from collections staff
    COMPLETE ONLY IF YOU ARE AUTHORISED TO DEAL WITH YOUR CLIENT’S AFFAIRS
    g) When did you or your client inform the debt collector that your client's case was being dealt with by a third party? After this disclosure did the debt collector continue to contact the client directly? What was the nature of the contact? Do you have any evidence to demonstrate that such contact took place? If so, please give times and dates.
    Complete this if you are making payments through CCCS/Payplan/other debt management companies etc


    h) Please feel free to provide any further information that you think the OFT may find useful, including any contacts you might have made with the debt collector on your client's behalf and any response. Your summary of the debt collector's business practices, in the light of the OFT's debt collection guidance, would also be helpful
    If you feel they have breached any of the practices deemed unfair in the OFT’s Debt Collection Guidance(oft664) then list them and explain how/why they have breached them with any supporting evidence you feel relevant.
    Example -2.6a. contacting debtors at unreasonable times and at unreasonable intervals , include your records of times/dates/frequency of telephone calls . If a DCA is ringing 10 times a day from 7am until 9 pm and each time you have answered and told them the same thing.










    Last edited by Tools; 20th December 2008 at 15:25:PM.

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