Debt collection regulations are changing as firms have been warned not to target people using social networking websites.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has revised the Debt Collection Guidance report so that debt collectors cannot use social networking websites to recover outstanding payments.
The OFT cautioned the industry, saying that firms should not contact people at inappropriate times and locations such as a hospital.
David Fisher, the OFT’s Director of Consumer Credit, said; ìIn the present economic climate, with many people, including those who may be particularly vulnerable, in financial difficulties, it is crucial they are treated fairly by companies recovering their debts.
ìThis updated guidance makes clear the standards the OFT expects of all businesses involved in debt recovery, including debt collectors, banks and law firms.î
The report is aimed at all businesses engaged in recovering debt, from banks to law firms. It also aims to provide greater clarity for consumers who may be targeted and treated unfairly.
During these tough economic times, many risk falling into debt. Money management is a sensitive issue for many and the OFT believes it is unfair for firms to post messages on social networking websites where friends, family and work colleagues can see.
If the regulator finds that a firm is doing this and breaking the rules, it could fine them or strip them of their consumer credit licence. This is the first time the guidelines have been adjusted to raise the standard of service for consumers since 2006.
Debt recovery firms can use aggressive and intimidating methods to collect outstanding payments, which could be upsetting for individuals. If you have debt problems, a debt management solution tailored to your individual needs could be ideal.
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