Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Crack Down On Hardline Debt Collectors

13th August 2010

Trading Standards Officers have joined forces with Money Advice Service colleagues on The Highland Council to tackle the "unacceptable and aggressive practices" of debt collectors.

Gordon Robb, principal trading standards officer, highlighted the joint effort to address the problem while presenting the annual report of the Council's trading standards service to a meeting of the Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee.

He said the aggressive and harassing debt collection techniques were often directed to the most vulnerable consumers in the Highlands.

The unacceptable behaviour was not restricted to "fly-by-night" credit companies, but had also been used by the major banks and large debt collection agencies.

He said: "The difficult economic times of the last few years have seen an increase in aggressive and harassing debt collection techniques."

These practices included:

* Letters threatening legal action which cannot be taken, e.g. seizing the consumer's essential possessions, suing the consumer in a court in England, forcing the sale of the consumer's house.

* Inappropriate telephone methods, such as very regular calls or calls to the consumer's work.

* Contacting the consumer directly when a clear written arrangement has been made for creditors to deal only with a third party e.g. Money Advice Officers.

He added: "Money advice officers are routinely checking for any evidence of such practices in relation to their clients. Any information gleaned is being passed directly to designated officers within Trading Standards, with the permission of the clients. Each case is then investigated appropriately. New Regulations called The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (known as the "CPRs") have created the offence of using an "aggressive commercial practice" and this has given Trading Standards Officers new "ammunition" to deal with such cases. In addition, any business involved in credit - including debt collectors - must be licensed and follow guidelines as to fit and proper conduct for a licensee.

"In addition to dealing with individual cases, Trading Standards is also compiling all the information received about this topic with a view to producing a future report on their findings."

Mr Robb also highlighted the partnership working between Trading Standards and Visit Scotland in Inverness.

Any complaints that Visit Scotland receives from the public or other consumer protection issues which have been raised about tourist accommodation, facilities anywhere in Scotland are referred to Trading Standards, to be dealt with or re-routed as necessary to the Trading Standards service where the relevant business is based.

He said: "This relationship has undoubtedly raised the awareness of our service on the regulatory issues associated with what is an extremely important industry for the Highlands and has resulted in the industry in the Highland and Visit Scotland being better informed about what the legal requirements are and a number of investigations into Highland based businesses who choose not to listen."

Committee Chairman Councillor John Laing paid tribute to the important work carried out by Trading Standards officers.

He said: "The annual report highlights the excellent work being carried out by our staff to highlight the rights of consumers and to call to account aggressive debt collectors and rogue traders ."


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Call for climate stories at Highland Climate Change Conference
The Highland Climate Change Conference is taking place on Thursday 21 and Friday 21 October 2021.   Chair of Highland Council's Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: "The conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together from across and beyond Highland to discuss the climate and ecological emergency.  
Internal Audit Reports Demonstrating Diligent Work Within The Council Praised By Audit And Scrutiny Members
Members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee (which took place yesterday, Thursday 23 September) were presented with a report outlining the areas of work which have been undertaken by Highland Council's Internal Audit section since the Committee’s previous meeting during June 2021.   Of the five audit reports considered, three were given the audit opinions of significant assurance or full assurance.  
Archaeology Festival To Showcase Highland's Historic PastThumbnail for article : Archaeology Festival To Showcase Highland's Historic Past
The high point of the year for celebrating our heritage starts on Saturday 25 September.  For three weeks, the Highland Archaeology Festival will offer a range of walks, talks, workshops, exhibitions, and activities for all ages.  
First digital tool to tackle recycling confusion in the HighlandsThumbnail for article : First digital tool to tackle recycling confusion in the Highlands
Zero Waste Scotland has launched a digital recycling tool to help combat confusion and meet Scottish recycling targets.   This Recycle Week (20-26 September 2021), Zero Waste Scotland is launching the first ever Recycling Sorter.  
Council's ambitious digital learning estate continues to support education in Highland
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff.   Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.  
Public Opinion Sought On Draft Gambling Policy Statement
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25.   The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.  
Caithness members supported in their call for a Highland-wide Playground Strategy
At the meeting of The Highland Council Members supported a starred item put forward by Caithness Members.   The Thurso and North West Caithness and the Wick and East Caithness Ward Councillors asked that the Council creates and implements a Council wide playground strategy that considers the needs and expectations of communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of children and their families.  
Proposals for 5 priority school projects agreed at Council
Members at a meeting on 9 September 2021 of the Highland Council agreed the scope, budget, phasing and timescale for 5 priority school projects including Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary, Park Primary, and St Clements School.  It was also agreed that these projects are to be incorporated into the Council's current capital programme.  
£1.5m Further Investment In Visitor Management Approved By Highland CouncilThumbnail for article : £1.5m Further Investment In Visitor Management Approved By Highland Council
Given the importance of tourism to the Highland economy and the need for the tourism experience to be positive for visitors and communities, members have agreed to extend the Visitor Management Plan funding into the 2022 season by a one-off investment of £1.5m.   A one-off Visitor Management Plan investment of £2.4m agreed by the Council in March 2021 for this year's season has enabled a range of service improvements.  
Spirit Of The Highlands - Photography And Filming Tenders AdvertisedThumbnail for article : Spirit Of The Highlands - Photography And Filming Tenders Advertised
On behalf of The Highland Council, High Life Highland has this week advertised a tender and invitation to quote seeking creative filming and photography input to the Inverness Castle - Spirit of the Highlands project.   The tender and invitation to quote will contribute to Spirit:Journeys, a natural and cultural heritage initiative that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region.