Following the massive economic turmoil of 2008, debt has become a common problem everywhere. At a time when almost every single individual is confronting troubles in making ends meet, it’s quite obvious for them to default on their bill payments. Consequently, they get trapped in a never ending cycle of debt. While borrowers are obliged to make their payments within a fixed timeframe, creditors cannot abuse or harass them. Even though lenders are allowed to track you for any due amount of cash, there are certain set of rules and regulations to protect borrowers against unjustified harassment. As a debtor, you do have certain rights, and if you are suffering unreasonable harassment from a creditor or appointed collection agency, there are ways to prevent harassment and lower collection calls. These creditor harassment laws are in strict harmony with the Office of Fair Trading – Debt Collection Guidance and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations of 2008.
Debt Collection Guidance – An overview
In accordance with this guidance, some types of activities are considered as ‘unfair business practice’ and any creditor acting in this manner could run the risk of losing his consumer credit permit. These types of activities are described broadly as:
Causing excessive tension to debtors, including threats, or forcing debtors into settling the debt by making threats to disclose their indebtedness to others like neighbours and employers.
Misinforming debtors or communicating in an ambiguous way, for example sending letters to debtors that have the look of a court form, or using puzzling legal phrases.
Employing unjust collection techniques, for example, refusing to talk to the debtor’s spokesperson and dealing directly with the debtor instead.
Adding irrational charges, for example, expenses that hold no similarity to the expense of debt recovery.
Acting in a hostile manner when visiting debtors; due to this reason, any visits should be made by prior agreement and with the consent of the debtor.
Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) – Consumer Protection
These set of laws offer added protection to debtors. According to these rules, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) or the Trading Standards can take legal steps against any creditor found culpable of ‘aggressive commercial practices”; this could mean an imprisonment or fine in certain situations. According to OFT rules, actions that amount to ‘aggressive commercial practices’ are:
· Calls from a debt collector at awkward times or inconvenient places, such as office
· An intimidation from a debt collector to take legal actions for the collection of debts that cannot be collected through court proceedings
Options available for a debtor
In case you are being harassed by a lender, the first thing you need to do is to keep a track of all the occurrences and the dates of these incidents. Your next step should be to contact the lender through a formal letter. Make certain that you send the letter with recorded delivery and mention that you thoroughly understand the obligations of the Office of Fair Trading – Debt Collection Guidance and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations of 2008. Besides, the contact letter should include how you would like to be communicated and that you are making the complaint in reference to the guidelines.