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Balancingriskwith  collections

Does the industry have an appropriate set of enforcement options today? RT:When you look at enforcement methods, as a creditor, you want as many options as you can, but you also have to bear in mind consumer protection. You can see where people are looking to push the boundaries with options – I am thinking of the recent HMRC consultation of what they call ‘direct recovery of debt’ and I do not think that is something that we would want to champion as an option for all creditors. There clearly are deficiencies in the options available – I would like to see improvement.

JT: The third-party debt order is interesting in the consumer sphere because, as soon as you are looking to attach someone’s bank account, there is more limited oversight of making sure that the customer can afford it. Their use is, therefore, very limited. Today, the lenders want to talk about engagement with consumers.

So it is often a question of what enforcement method triggers that engagement. With warrants, for example, in the county courts they are of limited effect because the bailiffs do not have time to do a huge amount with them. Where they tend to have a positive impact is on a consumer realising that they need to engage with their creditors, or their agent, in order to come to an arrangement.

RestonsSolicitorsLimitedassistsanumberof marketleadersintheDebtPurchase,Finance and Utility sectors with both secured and unsecuredcollections.

Our fundamental understanding of

commercial, reputational and compliance issues, togetherwith a focused, proprietary interest in our clientsÕ receivables means that we continue to excel in terms of client satisfaction, recoveries and complaintavoidance.

To Þnd outmore about how our expertise can help you, contact Nigel Coe on 01925661602ororgoto

KS: If there was a mechanism where a pre-enforcement meeting could take place – more robust and efficient than the current Part 71 orders to obtain information from judgment debtors process – where the debtor was compelled to provide detailed information on their finances, that would give the creditor more accurate information to enable them to assess the best route for enforcement.

WM: There is a provision under the Data Protection Act which allows you to request disclosure of certain information if it is to enforce legal rights, but it is very specific.

AS: Over the past 15 years, creditors are doing ever more to engage with customers so that, as enforcement professionals, we are the last resort for the creditor whose customers do not want to engage.

DC: I think that social media is a great invention, however it often has a lot to answer for in terms of being used as a vehicle for debt avoidance. There are consumer sites set up to encourage customers to avoid debt. I think that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or Ministry of Justice should do something about the incorrect information, because it can often make matters worse for customers.

FJ: There is a broader issue in terms of access to justice. When our clients are seeking to recover payment through the courts, they want a judgment which will give them a workable remedy which will enable them to get payment. Having a right of action is useless without a cost-effective remedy.

JP: Having effective enforcement methods, which provide users with certainty, is a key part of any civil justice system. The distinct lack of certainty is a major problem at the moment, particularly for FCA-regulated businesses dealing with regulated collections and

14 October 2015

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