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BT: Debt Collection

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will instigate an investigation into the use by BT plc of different debt collection agencies to collect the same debt from the same customers or their relations for the non-payment of invoices due to complaints of poor quality of service. [HL1149]

The Office of Fair Trading has issued guidelines setting out the type of behaviour it considers to fall within the category of unfair business practices which will call into question fitness to be given or retain a consumer credit licence. Among the unfair practices identified in the guidelines are “using more than one debt collection business at the same time resulting in repetitive and/or frequent contact by different parties” and “not informing the debtor when their case has been passed on to a different debt collector”. All businesses engaged in debt collection are required to hold a consumer credit licence—as does BT itself. The Office of Fair Trading would consider any evidence it receives of consumer credit licence holders failing to adhere to its guidance and would take proportionate action if appropriate to do so.