Do the right thing
24 February 2010
Advisers' and creditors' experience of best practice in debt collection
The free-to-client debt advice sector believes that all creditors should do the right thing and help people deal with their debts in a way that suits their circumstances. But some debt collection practices can have dire consequences for people in debt: homes, possessions and essential services can be lost if they are persuaded to make debt repayments before paying for every day essentials; relationships can breakdown; and the health and well being of individuals and their families can suffer.
However, at present there is no definitive statement of best practice for debt collection that creditors can follow, and regulation only sets out what creditors must not do. We want this to change, and this report aims to start a conversation with creditors about how debt collection practices can be improved.
This report uses the experience of advisers from across the free-to-client debt advice sector - including members of AdviceUK, the CAB service, members of the Institute of Money Advisers and staff at National Debtline - and interviews with creditors to set out the advisers’ view of best practice, and the five steps creditors should take to achieve it:
- Step 1: Set the right organisational culture
- Step 2: Achieve the right motivation for debt collection staff
- Step 3: Develop clear and encouraging communications
- Step 4: Provide information and support
- Step 5: Be willing and able to maintain and develop best practice
Our research includes practices from a range of creditors, including local authorities, housing associations, debt collectors, water companies, home credit providers, debt purchase companies and credit card providers. We believe that if they can achieve best practice, all creditors can.
If you’d like to be part of this conversation please let us know. Our contact details are at the back of this report and we look forward to hearing from you.