Debt Collection: Licensing

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform written question – answered on 30th April 2008.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will hold discussions with the Office of Fair Trading about the issuing of consumer credit licences to debt collecting companies and ensuring that recipients of licences have a responsibility to check properly the history of those individuals passed onto them to prevent older people who have faced identity theft from being caused distress.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Parliamentary Under-Secretary(Department for International Development) (Trade Policy) (also Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Trade and Consumer Affairs) (also Department for International Development), Party Chair, Co-operative Party

We have recently given the Office of Fair Trading wider ranging powers to tackle debt collectors. Debt collectors are now subject to greater scrutiny at the licence application stage and greater monitoring throughout the life of the licence. Furthermore, as part of a recently completed investigation, the OFT has issued warnings to 13 companies telling them that they need to take steps to improve their debt collection practices. In particular, the companies involved have specifically been asked to review their policies and procedures for tracing debtors, including keeping client data up to date and maintaining its accuracy.

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