Creditor Harassment

It is always worth noting that creditors and their agents are not allowed to harass you and that to do so is considered to be a criminal offence. Remember that debt collectors are not Bailiffs and all they are legally allowed to do is request that you pay your debts.

What would be considered as harassment ?
Anything considered reasonable when trying to recover a debt will not be seen as harassment. It is however an offence if they harass you by making demands for payment frequently or in a manner that you consider to be threatening and thereby causes distress to you.

What they are not allowed to do
The Office of Fair Trading states that it is unfair for the debt collectors to communicate in a manner that is unclear or misleading to you. They are not allowed to contact you at unsociable times and should not send you letters that look like court claims. At no point should the debt collectors or debt recovery agency claim to work for the court or say that court action has been taken action against you if it has not. They are also forbidden from implying that they are a bailiff and that they could take your possessions to cover the debt.

Debt collectors should not contact you too frequently or put any pressure on you to sell your belongings or make payments that you cannot afford. They should always inform you if at any point your debt has been passed to another company. It is also worth noting that they are not legally allowed to tell a third party about your debts. When it comes to additional charges, they should not be charged unfairly and the collectors should tell you what costs you are liable for.

Debt collectors should always explain the reason for their visit and provide you with adequate notice. They should not visit if you are ill, vulnerable or distressed and should leave when asked.

What to do if you are being harassed
If you feel that you are being harassed then you should contact the creditor and inform them of this and the reasons you are unhappy. It is worth informing them that you are aware of the Office of Fair Trading guidelines and you will make a complaint if their behaviour continues.