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Debt Collection News Roundup - February 2016

Here at Access Credit Management we like to make sure we bring our readers interesting and relevant news about our industry so once a month we’ll be publishing a News Roundup.  This should keep you up to speed with all the important goings on within the sector so that you have a resource that keeps you fully informed of all the latest news.  It would be interesting to know what you, the readers, think of the stories that feature here.  Please join in by adding your comments below the regular news roundup postings or email us if you come across anything that you think we should include.

Our first story deals with car owners being threatened with court action over disputed parking charges as an increasing number of private firms pass outstanding tickets on to debt collection agencies.  Citizens Advice Scotland revealed that the number of people concerned about receiving a letter from a debt agency over parking fines has risen from zero last year to 100 in the past few months. 

Meanwhile debt specialists from the Citizens Advice Service are calling on government department to review their debt collection practices after a new report revealed that nearly £1 in every £5 of the debt that people contact them about is owed to the government.  Some of their most pressing concerns include the difficulties that people face when trying to contact government departments.  They went on to disclose that HMRC is deemed the worst offender with 56% of advisers claiming that they “rarely or never” manage to get through to somebody who can help.  Water companies, however, are considered the most responsible when it comes to debt collection solutions.

On March 2nd Radio Four will be broadcasting an episode of Thinking Allowed that features the debt collection industry.  Laurie Taylor will be looking at what happens when everyday types of borrowing (like credit cards, personal loans and store cards, etc.) gets out of control.  He’ll be interviewing Joe Deville (Lecturer in Mobile Work at the University of Lancaster) who has published a study on consumer default and the evolution of agencies designed to provide a debt collection solution.

On a sobering note, Russian television has been flooded with reports about debt collectors using unacceptable practices in order to recover overdue loans.  The recession has resulted in 11.5 million Russians owing money that is overdue and concern is growing over increasingly violent methods used by debt collection agency staff.  Alarmingly, in December police with sniffer dogs and bomb disposal technicians evacuated a kindergarten after a teacher who owed money was told the premises would be blown up unless she paid up!  It seems that there are microfinancing organisations at the unregulated end of the Russian debt collection industry who are using terror tactics in order to collect monies owed.

Thankfully, here in the UK, such behaviour is a thing of the past and there are strict regulations in place to ensure that debt collection agencies work within the industry’s Code of Practice.