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clemma

Are the OFT finally listening.....?

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So, I complained to the OFT on Monday night after watching Dispatches, and today they sent me the following email. Thought I would share it with all of you.......maybe they are starting to listen:

 

Consumer Credit Act 1974 (the Act)

 

Thank you for your email following the Dispatches programme about debt collection practices, which was aired on Channel Four on 20 July 2009.

 

We have noted your comments both in relation to the Dispatches programme and Marlin Financial Services.

 

The Consumer Credit Act 1974 (the Act) established a licensing system to protect the interests of consumers in the credit area. If a business wishes to undertake the collection of debts that arise from consumer credit agreements then the Act states that they are required to hold a consumer credit licence; this is issued by the OFT. Under the Act, the OFT has a duty to consider the fitness of all traders who hold consumer credit licences.

 

As you may be aware, in July 2003 the OFT issued guidance aimed at consumer credit licence holders involved in debt collection. This outlines the type of business practices we consider unfair and therefore incompatible with fitness to hold a licence. Consumer complaints are vital to the OFT in its role of monitoring a trader’s fitness to hold a credit licence and assist in providing the evidence base we require to take enforcement action. We investigate complaints or other adverse information and where appropriate take proportionate enforcement action against licensed traders to protect the collective interest of consumers. This may include taking steps remove a licence, where we consider the trader to be unfit to hold one, or to impose requirements in order to improve the trader’s conduct. The OFT will therefore look into the allegations in the programme alongside any other complaints we may receive.

 

It may also be helpful if I outline the enforcement process the OFT must follow. The OFT does not have the power to impose a financial penalty where we are dissatisfied with a trader’s conduct unless the trader has failed to comply with requirements imposed. Failure to comply with requirements may also result in revocation of the licence. More information about our enforcement powers can be found via the following link: http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/resource_base/legal/cca/CCA2006/requirements/

 

Decisions to refuse or revoke a consumer credit licence or to impose requirements or a financial penalty are made by an independent adjudicating officer acting for and on behalf of the OFT. Before a decision is made, the adjudicating officer issues a notice to the trader. The trader is given the opportunity to make representations to the adjudicating officer. In the event that the decision is adverse, the trader then has the right of appeal against the determination to the Consumer Credit Appeals Tribunal.

 

As I am sure you can appreciate there are restrictions imposed on the OFT which prohibit us from disclosing details of any action we may take against a licensed trader (Part 9 of the Enterprise Act). This means that we are unable to inform members of the public whether we are taking any direct action against particular traders. However, the outcome of formal action, including the imposing of requirements and financial penalties, is made available on the OFT’s public register (via the OFT’s web-site: http://www.oft.gov.uk).

 

With regard to different brand or trading names, a consumer credit licensee may use any trading name which appears on its licence. There may be nothing wrong with using different internal branding, say for in-house solicitors, for example, but the OFT considers it unfair if correspondence does not identify who the correspondence is from and why the debt is being dealt with by them. It is vitally important that a debtor has clarity about who is chasing the debt and why. The OFT would also consider whether any trading names/branding were being used in a threatening or misleading manner.

 

Finally, the OFT responded to specific questions from C4 about its enforcement action in the debt collection sector and provided the following figures which show formal action taken since publication of the debt collection guidance in 2003:

 

32 formal actions which resulted in:

8 licences being surrendered (the company voluntarily decided to give up their licence - but the OFT enforcement team would have submitted a case to the independent adjudicator before this happened)

4 undertakings given

4 adverse decisions (licences refused or removed)

1 adverse decision (refused to add debt collection to licence)

3 favourable decisions (licences retained)

1 licence application withdrawn

7 cases where requirements imposed

4 cases still to be decided.

I also attach links to the press releases about the requirements imposed on 1st Credit Limited and two other major players in the debt collection sector, Mackenzie Hall Limited and Link Financial Limited.

http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2009/20-09

http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2009/44-09

http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2009/58-09

 

More recently the OFT has issued a notice that it is minded to impose requirements on Aktiv Kapital (UK) Limited and associated company Thames Credit Limited. This action is subject to the independent adjudication process explained above. I enclose copies of the respective public register notes for these licensees.

 

Thank you again for writing to us.

 

Yours sincerely

Edited by clemma

:)I am not an expert, but I can give good advice about Brighthouse:)

 

Am learning more and more about DCA's too :)

 

I have no legal experience and all advice given is based on the knowledge I've gained from this site.

 

<------If you think I have been helpful, please feel free to tip my scales - remember to put your CAG name though!

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identical to what everyone has been receiving ;)


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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Friad so same useless usual template as everyone else gets:rolleyes: Sorry clemma Thanks for trying anyway

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Ah well...........


:)I am not an expert, but I can give good advice about Brighthouse:)

 

Am learning more and more about DCA's too :)

 

I have no legal experience and all advice given is based on the knowledge I've gained from this site.

 

<------If you think I have been helpful, please feel free to tip my scales - remember to put your CAG name though!

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