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+44 (0) 191 217 0775

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+44 (0) 20 7330 8810

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+44 (0) 191 236 2709

Write to us

Credit Services Association

2 Esh Plaza

Sir Bobby Robson Way

Great Park

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NE13 9BA

Additional Sections

Complaints Procedure

Useful Links

Making a complaint

We work hard to ensure our Members act within the rules set by the industry regulators.

Please click on the following link and read our Code of Practice. If you think a Member has broken the rules of this Code you can make a complaint by downloading our Complaints Form.

Before making a complaint we would encourage you to carry out the following activities:

 

  • Go to the Members Directory and check whether the company you wish to complain about is a Member of the CSA. If you are still unsure, feel free to contact us. If the company is a Member of the CSA then we are able to help you with your complaint.
  • On first instance, we recommend you contact the Member company to discuss any issues you have and enquire about their complaints process. If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome then you can review our Complaints Procedure.
  • If you believe that the Member has acted in breach of our Code of Practice and the complaint meets the necessary criteria, please complete, sign and return the Complaint Form to our registered address.

CSA Complaints Procedure

 How we deal with your complaint.

All complaints must be submitted in writing, with a signed complaint form. We require the form to be signed so that we, and our Member, have the requisite authorisation to share information.

The following is the sequence of events after the CSA receive a complaint form;

  • CSA receive a signed complaint form
  • CSA register the complaint and send a copy to the relevant Member company
  • The Member is given four weeks to respond directly to the complainant
  • CSA get a copy of the response from the Member company
  • CSA considers both positions and determines whether the Code of Practice has been breached
  • Appropriate action is taken (if required) to remedy the situation
  • If further information is required the CSA contact the relevant party (the complainant or the Member company).
  • After a full review, the CSA provides a formal response to the complainant

 

If you remain unhappy with the outcome of the complaint, you may have justification to escalate the matter to our our head of compliance, Claire Aynsley, claire.aynsley@csa-uk.com.

 

Please note: The CSA can only intervene when;

  • a Member company is in breach of the Code.
  • the company is a Member of the CSA (we cannot act when the complaint is about the client of a Member company, a bank or building society for example).
  • the information supplied by a Member company appears from the facts to be incorrect.

Methods of Contact

 

Address

Credit Services Association

Complaints Department

2 Esh Plaza

Sir Bobby Robson Way

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

NE13 9BA

 

Why the CSA need a signed copy of your complaint

 

Top

14-11-2016

Blog: Financial Capability Week 2016 #FinCapWeek: One small step consumers can take to avoid unknown debts

Claire Aynsley is Head of Regulatory Compliance and Standards at the Credit Services Association. This blog on what consumers can do to avoid unknown debts has also been published on the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK website as a guest blog for Financial Capability Week #FinCapWeek, which is taking place during 14-20 November 2016.

 

With 40% of adults saying that they are not in control of their finances, financial capability couldn’t be higher on the agenda in 2016. We therefore welcome the Money Advice Service’s launch of the first ever Financial Capability Week #FinCapWeek, which is taking place this month (14-20 November 2016) to bring organisations together to discuss what we can do to make positive change.

As the UK trade association for the debt collection sector, the Credit Services Association’s vision is to build confidence in the debt collection and debt purchase industry amongst our member companies and the customers they deal with on a daily basis, in order to ensure that outstanding balances can be resolved for the mutual benefit of all parties. It is fair to say that, in the past, the relationship between debt collection agencies and customers has been a turbulent one. However, in recent years, both regulatory reform and increased investment in customer service and research into customer behaviours, has greatly improved things. But there is still a long way to go on both the industry’s and, just as importantly, the customer’s part.

How do you avoid debt that you’re not even aware of?

Financial capability is of great relevance to us as an industry. The reason a customer can get into debt is often down to a lack of ability to manage their finances. However, it is also often the case that an account is placed with a debt collection agency not because the customer is unwilling or unable to pay, but because they are unaware of the outstanding balance. This was raised in a Daily Mail article regarding supposed abuse of CCJs by debt collection agencies  passing judgments without a customer’s knowledge. We responded to this by highlighting that litigation is always a last resort (after numerous attempts at establishing a dialogue).

Hence we want to raise awareness of the fact that a key part of financial capability is not just managing your finances effectively, but also being proactive in ensuring that you keep your creditors informed when it comes to a customer’s circumstances and what you think is owed.

Ignorance isn’t bliss

Customers being in debt that they are unaware of is frequently due to the fact that the original creditor has been unable to contact them. Data protection and various regulatory activity has resulted in debt collection agencies spending a large amount of time locating customers in order to come to a mutually beneficial resolution. We recently launched a new ‘Trace Code of Conduct’ to raise standards in this area as tracing activity will always be necessary if customer details are not kept up to date or correspondence is ignored.

Unfortunately, in a large amount of cases, consumer forums recommend ignoring letters from debt collection agencies and encourage customers to avoid making contact to find a resolution– whether you believe the debt to be yours or not. We have worked hard to communicate the fact that it is never in debt collection agencies’ interests to try and chase payment from someone who is either unable to pay or who is a case of mistaken identity or mistrace. It therefore is not in anyone’s interests to ignore the unresolved issue.

A customer’s responsibility

One very simple step a customer can take is to always keep creditors up to date on current contact details. If you move home, change phone number, change email address, change your name, or even your personal circumstances change, it is vital that you inform all of the service providers you’ve had accounts with over the years, including the Local Authorities you’ve lived under. A question was raised at our UK Credit & Collections Conference (#ukccc) in September 2016 about why creditors/collectors find it so hard to contact past customers and why email addresses were not being captured to help with this. This is partly down to organisational processes and systems and partly down to what permissions a company has for data to be shared. It is also down to the fact that there are still so many customers (particularly those that are vulnerable to financial difficulty) that don’t have access to the internet or that don’t check or respond to emails. It’s therefore still vital that address details are kept updated.

Communication is key

In the debt collection sector, we are working hard to open up lines of transparent communication between creditors, collectors and customers – and involve the money and debt advice sectors where necessary. We are committed to taking a compassionate approach to understanding customers’ personal circumstances and ensuring that they do not get into further financial difficulty as a result of repaying outstanding debts. We’re also acutely aware of issues around mental health and vulnerability and recognise that there is a barrier to full disclosure in some circumstances. However, whilst we ensure that our members play their part, it is important that customers do too. The onus must also be upon customers to understand that, in such a heavily regulated environment, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by engaging with and responding to debt collection agencies, most of which are now FCA authorised, to ensure that any outstanding balances are dealt with, or incidents of mistrace are communicated as soon as possible.

You can find out more about Financial Capability Week and the strategy behind it at www.fincap.org.uk and by following @fincapstrategy on Twitter. During the week, we and others will be using the hashtag #FinCapWeek in our tweets about financial capability to help raise awareness of this important issue.