0 £0.00
This item was added to your basket
Credit Strategy homepage
LinkedIn
Twitter

Treasury announces changes to debt collection letters

The Treasury has announced today that debt collection letters sent by lenders and collections firms will change to include ’less threatening’ terms and simpler language for customers.

Share on LinkedInShare on TwittereCard

Whitehall published proposed new rules today (October 7) that will see the Treasury legislate to change the language and presentation of information in debt letters.

 

The new rules will be delivered through secondary legislation and are expected to come into force in December 2020. All lenders will then be required to make the changes within six months.

 

Trade bodies including the Credit Services Association have been lobbying for years for the rules on default notices to change - much of the formatting and content has not been updated in nearly 40 years. More recently a campaign led by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute for the rules to change prompted the Treasury to act.

 

The new rules will restrict the information that must be made prominent on letters. They also mean:

  • Default notices will now use more accessible and less threatening language;
  • Creditors will be able to replace legal terms with more widely understood terms;
  • Letters will no longer contain capitalised text, and instead use bold or underlined text;
  • Letters will signpost to sources of free debt advice.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Being behind on your credit repayments can be a really distressing experience which is made worse by a confusing and intimidating letter from your lender.

 

“As part of our effort to help to people struggling with their finances, it’s right that we look again at the legislation around these letters. These new rules will help to take the fear out of finance by ensuring that letters are easier to understand, less threatening, and empower people to take control of their finances.”

 

The news follows the recent campaign led by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, with the support of the Money Advice Trust, other debt advice charities and financial firms, who have long been constrained by the previous rules.

 

The changes apply to consumer creditors including credit card, personal loan and hire purchase providers, but do not apply to other debts such as council tax, utility arrears, tax debts or benefit overpayments.

 

Martin Lewis, founder and chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that this change could save lives. Over 100,000 in England attempt to take their lives each year due to debts, and four times that amount consider it.

 

“So we’re delighted the government has agreed to back this element of our campaign and change the default demand rules. The last thing people struggling with debt need is a bunch of thuggish letters dropping through the letterbox, in language they can’t understand, written in shouty capitals alongside threats of court action.”

 

Eric Leenders, managing director, personal finance at UK Finance, said: “The banking and finance industry understands the impact that debt can have on a customer’s wellbeing and has been working closely with government to help support customers, especially those in vulnerable circumstances.

 

"Lenders have to send default notices and these important changes ensure customers receive more appropriate and supportive communications.”

 

The wider impact of the Treasury’s intervention on debt collection letters, as well as breathing space, will be explored at the Collections, Debt Sale & Purchase Conference, part of the Collections & Vulnerability Summit, in November.

Share on LinkedInShare on TwittereCard
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment. Login or Register to access enhanced features of the website.

GET THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

READ NEXT

Listen on demand: Webinar - Tracking confidence in Car Finance

Listen on demand: Webinar - Tracking confidence in Car Finance

Car finance webinar at noon today to reveal and explore market's recovery 

Car finance webinar at noon today to reveal and explore market's recovery 

Mortgage approvals reach highest since 2007, as consumer credit remains ‘weak’

Mortgage approvals reach highest since 2007, as consumer credit remains ‘weak’

Credit Strategy
LinkedIn page

Member of

Did you find our website useful?

Thank you for your input

Thank you for your feedback

creditstrategy.co.uk – an online news and information service for the UK’s commercial and consumer credit industry. creditstrategy.co.uk is published by Shard Financial Media Limited, registered in England & Wales as 5481132, Axe & Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen St, London, SE1 1YT. All rights reserved. Credit Strategy is committed to diversity in the workplace. @ Copyright Shard Media Group