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Credit Services Association

2 Esh Plaza

Sir Bobby Robson Way

Great Park

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NE13 9BA


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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 eight 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,


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



Credit Services Association

Complaints Department

2 Esh Plaza

Sir Bobby Robson Way


NE13 9BA


Why the CSA need a signed copy of your complaint




Blog: Is a Debt Collection Agency the same as a Debt Management Company?

Peter Wallwork is CEO of the Credit Services Association (CSA), the UK trade body for the debt collection sector.


Following the recent collapse of Debt Management Company (DMC), Compass Debt Counsellors, there has been widespread criticism of the fee-charging ‘debt settlement’ model which sees customers’ repayments being held in a ‘savings pot’ in order to agree a one-off settlement figure for the debt, rather than being paid to creditors gradually. This meant that when the company went into administration, customers’ balances were still outstanding and their supposedly ‘held’ payments lost. There are now calls by Debt Camel and others for this high risk, unethical practice to be banned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).


Do all Debt Management Companies use the ‘debt settlement’ model?

No. A DMC is any organisation that represents an individual in ‘managing’ his/her debt. They can be free or fee-charging, charities or businesses, and will typically negotiate with lenders (creditors) for affordable repayment solutions, either by reducing the total owed or agreeing sustainable monthly repayments for their customers. They should offer a range of solutions and recommend the most beneficial to the customer. They may negotiate a Debt Management Plan (DMP), a fixed agreement to help customers to reduce and ultimately eliminate their debt. For those firms that charge a fee, the costs can be high and have to be met by the customer, thereby prolonging the time it takes to pay off what’s owed. The ‘free’ DMC sector is generally funded through charitable contributions by the creditor, so that any monies paid by the customer go exclusively toward repaying their debt.


What’s the difference between a Debt Management Company and a Debt Collection Agency?

A Debt Collection Agency (DCA) is an organisation that collects debts on behalf of a third-party client (typically banks, building societies, credit card companies, mail order companies, utilities, mobile phone companies etc.). They operate for a fee or for a percentage of the total amount collected, which they receive from the creditor, not the customer.

The DCA contacts the customer to inform them of the amount due and to either set up an affordable repayment plan or determine that the customer is unable to repay the debt. If the customer requires help and advice with repaying the debt, the DCA may signpost them to free debt advice and they may go to a fee-charging DMC of their own accord. In this instance, the DCA will receive proposals from the free debt advice organisation or DMC and work with them on behalf of the customer to agree a settlement figure or a suitable Debt Management Plan.

As the UK trade body for the debt collection sector, the Credit Services Association (CSA) represents Debt Collection Agencies - not Debt Management Companies. CSA member companies who have customers that were using Compass Debt Counsellors are now working with those customers on a case by case basis to ensure that their loss is minimised.


What should customers who need debt advice do?

Both we and our member companies advise customers to seek free debt advice from a not-for-profit debt advice body such as StepChange or Citizens Advice rather than a fee-charging DMC. This is in line with what regulator the FCA advises. There is widespread availability of free debt advice and the ‘help with your finances’ section of our website lists the key organisations. Fee-charging debt advice is still a legitimate practice and is regulated by the FCA but, given the concerns about the security of customer funds, DMCs using the ‘debt settlement’ model should be avoided.

You can read more ‘myths and facts’ about debt collection in the resources section of our website.