OFT gets tough
The Office of Fair Trading has deemed three Debt Collection companies as ‘unfit’ to hold consumer credit licenses and refused to renew them with immediate effect.
HFO Capital and its two associated Debt Collection Agencies, HFO Services Limited and Roxburghe (UK) Ltd have been refused a renewal of their licences on the grounds that they are “unfit” to hold them according to the OFT.
The OFT has said there is substantial evidence to support their decision and the companies operations demonstrated “misleading and unfair” practices. There have also been many instances of inappropriate conduct and behaviour by its agents during telephone calls with debtors.
Investigations have also uncovered significant evidence of letters sent by the Debt Collection Agencies that were totally misleading and falsely represented the legal position of the debtors. It is also alleged that disputed debts were never properly investigated.
Despite various warnings from the OFT, the Debt Collection Agencies failed to act, leaving the OFT with no option. David Fisher, Senior Director of the OFT said “We expect businesses in the debt collection sector to behave with integrity”. He added “We will not hesitate to refuse to licence debt collection businesses that fail to do so”.
The most commonly known of the three entities is Roxburghe who, according to their website, have been in operation since 1961. They have also released a press statement saying they fully intend to appeal against the OFT’s decision, calling the announcement a ‘travesty’.
The companies have till 28th February 2014 to appeal against the OFT’s decision.