Research conducted by the Citizens Advice Bureau has named and shamed the HMRC as the worst organisation for recovering outstanding debts in the United Kingdom.
The report has the HMRC ranked bottom in a list of private companies and government organisations which chase debts and labelled some of its activities and treatment of the general public as “shocking”.
Bad practices and unprofessional procedures are to blame says the report as it details instances of monies being taken from peoples bank accounts without just cause to do so and disputes not being dealt with in a ethical or timely manner.
The report detailed information and analysis on over 250 separate debt collection specialists and rated them against seven factors such as how quickly disputes were dealt with, how easy they were to engage in dialogue and it also inspected the repayment plans that were offered.
The report gave HMRC just 34 out of a 100, ranking it way below mobile phone operators and private debt collectors. Water Companies were stated to be the most efficient and ethical of all major Debt Collection Departments scoring 78 out of 100.
The report has also highlighted how difficult it is to actually get through to the HMRC. The CAB said it found that a huge 60% claimed they rarely or never had managed to get through to speak to someone to resolve a dispute compared to just 5% for private debt collection agencies.
James Daley of Consumer Campaign Group Fairer Finance commented “It is shocking that a government department has got such poor standards.” He adds “It undermines the government’s ability to ask private debt collection companies to do better”