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Students: Loans

Volume 490: debated on Thursday 26 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many complaints have been made against the Student Loans Company for its use of bailiffs in error in cases where former students have not defaulted on their payments in the last 12 months. (265052)

The Student Loans Company (SLC) employs debt collectors where borrowers persistently fail to respond to SLC’s attempts to contact them by telephone or letter. SLC does not employ bailiffs for the purposes of debt collection. However, if SLC’s debt collectors also fail and SLC proceeds to litigate, the courts engage bailiffs to serve papers or to enforce county court judgments.

The SLC does not maintain statistics for this category of complaint. Generic complaints about the use of debt collectors by the SLC amounted to 37 cases in the last 12 months, which is a small percentage of the cases managed by debt collectors.

In all cases, the borrower was in default when the debt collector approached them. The only reported exception was the case of a borrower who appeared to be in default but was due to have the repayments met by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) under the now closed Repayment of Teacher Loans Scheme.