This article will outline what to look out for when looking for a legitimate collection agency in the UK, and how to avoid getting scammed.
Avoiding UK Debt Collection Agency Scams
All debt collection agencies in the UK need to meet certain minimal professional standards, including those associated with formal registration. Even so, some organisations operate on an unethical or unprofessional basis and scams are not unknown.
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In the meantime, here are a few classic scams or poor practices perpetrated by a small number of debt collection agencies that you, as a creditor, may need to look out for:
Misrepresentation of their legal status to debtors
This might include suggesting they have rights relating to entry and seizure of assets, when in reality no such right might exist. Caution is required here in case your company’s name or reputation becomes associated with such malpractice on the part of your debt collection agency
Seeking payment up-front
Although this might not be a scam as such, you should be very cautious as it may be difficult to ascertain what if anything you are getting for your up-front contributions. Many reputable debt collection agencies will work on a no-recovery no-fee basis then charge a percentage of any sums they do recover from your debtor.
Encouraging chargeable activities when there is little prospect of success
This is closely linked to the second point above but may arise in situations where you are being persuaded to pay for additional services without having a clear view as to the probability of a successful outcome.
Proper Debt Collection Agencies
There is no obvious single way of ensuring that you are not potentially finding your trust abused or your reputation put at risk, other than to use basic commercial common sense as part of your debt collection agency selection criteria.
For example, check to ensure that they are duly licensed and registered and where possible, take testimonials and references. Also, research them thoroughly on the internet prior to entrusting them with your business.
The following are legitimate agencies in the UK:
Debt Collect UK
Has multiple UK offices, 30+ years’ experience in all aspects of debt recovery.
Based in Maidstone, has a lengthy pedigree going back to the USA and 1955.
Based in St Albans, started operations in 1983 and has built up a huge volume of experience.