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Debt collectors

26th January 2022 · 5 minute read

Published by The Real Debt Guy

  • Debt problems
  • Communicating with Creditors
  • Managing debt
  • Financial problems
  • Financial Ombudsman
  • Debt Collector complaints
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I need to complain about a debt collector

Creditors & Debt Collectors - 8 steps to make a complaint

Financial businesses like creditors and debt collectors, deal with thousands of people every year, who owe them money. The truth is service standards are not always acceptable and complaints do happen. This might be due to poor communication, or the way they have treated you, or even overcommunication - perhaps you are feeling harassed! No matter what your complaint, it should be taken seriously and if you are still unhappy with the outcome, you can take it to a body set-up for this exact reason, the Financial Ombudsman.

Now, all financial businesses, like creditors, or debt collectors, are allowed 25 "free" complaints to be passed to the Financial Ombudsman. Once the 26th complaint is submitted, they will be charged approximately £550 for the Financial Ombudsman’s involvement in managing the case. This applies, even if it turns out that the business was not in the wrong. However, it’s important to note you, as the consumer, will not be charged for this service. This is why financial businesses will try to resolve your case directly with you (the complainant).

If you’re looking to make a complaint about a creditor, debt collector, or other financial business, we have eight steps, to ensure you manage the complaint using the correct procedure.

Not in the mood to read? We got you covered. Listen to the rest with the YouTube link at the bottom of the page.

Step 1 – Send your complaint to the creditor

Before contacting the Financial Ombudsman, you must start by sending a complaint directly to the business in question, giving them the opportunity to resolve your issue, for example, the original creditor such as the bank or lender.

At The Real Debt Guy, we always recommend that you send the complaint in writing to ensure you have a clear record of what you said, but you can give the complaint over the phone should you wish.

Step 2 – Creditor confirms receipt of your complaint

Now, unless the creditor resolves your complaint within three business days, you should receive a response acknowledging your complaint along with an overview of the complaints procedure they will be following.

Step 3 – Creditor responds to your complaint

Following acknowledgement of the complaint, the creditor is generally required to respond to your complaint within 8 weeks.  In this response, they should inform you if your complaint has been upheld or not. Alternatively, they may respond asking for more time. If this happens, they should provide you with a reason why.

Step 4 – Request a Final Response Letter

If the creditor finally responds and your complaint is not upheld, you should always request a final response letter.

Remember, regardless of whether you make a request, the creditor is required to respond with a final response letter within 8 weeks of the complaint being received. Unless they have requested more time to investigate.

Step 5 – Contact the Financial Ombudsman

If after following the creditors complaint procedure, you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you’re free to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. Your complaint with the Financial Ombudsman must be raised within 6 months of the creditor's final response letter, otherwise you might miss the boat.

When taking your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman, you can either do it over the phone, or in writing. Again, we always encourage you to communicate in writing...so you have a record.

Step 6 - Financial Ombudsman confirms receipt of Complaint

The Financial Ombudsman should contact you within 10 working days of receiving your complaint. They will first check if they can deal with your complaint and verify if all other requirements regarding your complaint have also been met.

Step 7 – Financial Ombudsman completes an Initial Assessment

Next, the Financial Ombudsman will complete an Initial Assessment by considering the complaint from both perspectives; yours and the creditors. Following the Initial Assessment, they will decide whether to rule in favour of you, or the creditor.

This could take up to 90 days ...sometimes longer, so be prepared to wait. Depending on the outcome of the Initial Assessment, you could be eligible for compensation if the Financial Ombudsman rules in your favour.

Step 8 – Request a Final Decision from the Financial Ombudsman

Now, let’s say you or the creditor are unhappy with the outcome, either of you can request a Final Decision from the Financial Ombudsman. By making this request, the Financial Ombudsman will take a fresh look at the complaint, and provide a final verdict.

Still not satisfied with the outcome?

If you are still unhappy with the final outcome, you do have the option to take the case to court. We never recommend this at The Real Debt Guy, unless you are 100% sure you will win, and the financial benefit is so great it is worth the risk.

Don't forget to read The Real Debt Guy's final thoughts below!

The information in this article is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication.

The Real Debt Guy's final thoughts.

You shouldn't accept poor conduct or a poor service from any financial businesses such as those governed by the Financial Conduct Authority.

If you feel you are being treated inadequately, or you feel like your situation isn’t being handled as you would expect, feel empowered to take action, always remember that you are in control.

If you feel like you’re being hounded by a creditor or debt collector, we got you covered. Take a look at our article '16 ways to tell if a Debt Collector or Creditor's actions are harassment', to understand what signs to look out for and to feel in a stronger position to handle the situation.

Remember, you aren’t alone in this, we care about your mental well-being.

Simplifying complicated matters.

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