As a UK consumer, you have certain rights and protections regarding debt collection practices. Here's a breakdown of the key rules:
Who can contact you?
- Only authorized debt collectors working for the original creditor or a debt purchasing company can contact you about outstanding debts. They must be licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Third-party individuals like friends, family, or employers cannot be contacted about your debt unless you have given them permission.
When can they contact you?
- Debt collectors can only contact you between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM on weekdays and 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM on weekends and bank holidays.
- They can only visit your home once, unannounced, and not more than two times in 12 months with an appointment.
What can they do?
- Debt collectors can:
- Contact you by phone, letter, email, or text message.
- Discuss your debt and repayment options.
- Offer you a repayment plan.
- Take legal action to recover the debt, such as applying for a County Court Judgment (CCJ).
- They cannot:
- Use threatening or abusive language.
- Visit you at home or work without an appointment unless you have agreed to it.
- Contact you repeatedly in a way that causes you harassment, alarm, or distress.
- Misrepresent facts about your debt.
- Contact third parties about your debt without your permission.
- You have the right to request information about the debt, including the amount owed and the name of the original creditor.
- You have the right to ask the debt collector to stop contacting you for a specific period.
- You have the right to complain about any unfair or illegal debt collection practices to the Financial Conduct Authority or the Financial Ombudsman Service.
- Seek debt advice from organizations like StepChange, National Debtline, or Citizens Advice.
- Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
- StepChange Debt Charity: https://www.stepchange.org/
- National Debtline: https://nationaldebtline.org/contact-us/
Remember, debt collectors are not allowed to intimidate or harass you. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about their communication, don't hesitate to contact the resources mentioned above for help and advice.
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