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FOS deadline nears - collectors complaints procedure


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Less than a week to go before the Financial Services Ombudsman Service (FOS) takes over responsibilities for investigating complaints against debt collecting companies.

 

If warranted the FOS will charge the collector £450 just for the investigation whether or not this is successful or not.

 

While this is very good news for the consumer and extremely bad news for the debt collecting industry as a whole there are some pitfalls which we, as complainants, have to be wary of.

 

For a start the complaints procedure must have been exhausted before we can go to the FOS. This is a problem in itself because few debt collectors have a complaints department.

 

This has been flagged up at meetings held by the FOS in recent weeks with consumer credit licence holders.

 

FOS Officials stressed the need for such a systems and for business owners to familiarise themselves with the rules and then implement a written complaints procedure.

 

The appropriate record keeping administration systems, they said, must be designed and implemented. Staff must then be trained. Copies of the FOS leaflets must be obtained and notices prepared for places where the public have access. Professional indemnity insurance needs to be purchased.

 

Link to the leaflet from the FSO here:

 

http://www.financialombudsman.org.uk/publications/introduction_consumercredit.pdf

 

However I cannot see the likes of Lowell, Thames, Mackenzie Hall and other collectors spending too time or money on a complaints procedure which can be shown to the FOS as being exhausted.

 

We therefore need to stat thinking of a strategy to circumvent the lack of a complaints procedure by the debt collectors.

 

The first and obvious point would be to avoid phone calls at all costs and starting a paper trail by writing letters or e-mails and keeping a file.

 

Anyone got any other ideas?

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