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Hiring a Debt Collection Agency in the UK

Whilst many businesses and creditors are unsure about hiring a professional debt collection agency, unfortunately the time comes when they have to protect their business and recover unpaid accounts. Whilst customer relationships are important, sustainability and payment take priority and hiring the services of a professional debt collection agency can assist you in achieving these goals and often maintain a good relationship with clients.


Good debt collection agencies will understand your relationships with your clients and aim to maintain that working relationship, adapting how they handle different client accounts. This will allow you to receive the payment due to you without losing valuable clients - if you wish to keep them. You should take the time to choose your debt collection agency carefully to ensure you receive the high quality and professional service you require to serve your business interests.

What kinds of debt collection agencies are there in the UK?

There a number of different types of debt collection agencies in the UK. Some debt collection agencies are fronted by large companies which may be based in the United States or elsewhere in Europe - their contact centers may even be based in locations that are cheaper to operate in such as India or the Philippines. These types of debt collection agencies focus on gaining a large volume of accounts from a small number of clients. Their clients will usually be credit card companies, high street banks or utility companies. Large debt collection agencies like these will not deal with businesses that are not able to give them a large volume of accounts every month or even each year and do not work to maintain customer relationships. Usually the relationship between debtor and creditor has already been lost and thus the creditor is not concerned about how tactfully the debt collection agency handle the account.

The second type of debt collection agency is those which deal exclusively with debt they have purchased. These are known as Debt Purchasers. Debt Purchasers buy debt from large organisations such as high street banks, utility companies and credit card companies at a fraction of the debt owned - sometimes this may only be a penny to the pound. Debt Purchasers then seek to reclaim the debt and thus hope to make profit from their purchase. After the debt has been sold the original creditor will not have any relationship with the debtor any longer, and again there is no incentive to keep the debtor as a customer.

However, there are other specialist debt collection agencies which aim to assist and provide support for all kinds of businesses. These types of agencies often work specifically in one industry such as Oil & Gas or construction but many cover all business sectors. These specialist agencies provide a very unique service for their client and also for debtors. This type of service means that they usually have a high success rate and can pay more attention to each individual case, offering a more tailored approach. These agencies are usually small to medium sized businesses and can adjust their services to meet the needs of their clients.

Top Tips for Choosing a Debt Collection Agency

  1. If you don't know where to begin when choosing an agency, or are not sure which agency is right for you, you can ask them to provide you with references from former or existing clients. Any agency you decide to use should be able to provide this as it is recommended that you use a well established agency that has been trading for a number of years. These references allow you to get a client perspective of the agency so you know it's not biased. After the debt collection agency has provided you with a reference, we recommend that you phone the company to ensure it is genuine.
  2. Any reputable and trustworthy debt collection agency will not charge you any upfront costs and will work on a "no collection-no fee" basis. Any agency which looks to charge you a registration fee may just be looking to take your money with no intention of acting on your behalf. It is unfortunate that it happens but there have been many stories in the industry where clients have given debt collection agencies up to £2000.00 upfront to collect debts of £10,000. Agencies that trade on a no-collection-no fee basis have more incentive to collect and will have great expertise in doing so, after all, if they don't collect they don't get paid!
  3. Furthermore, you should ask to see the terms and conditions the debt collection agency adheres to before you instruct them to carry out a collection on your behalf or before signing any contracts. In the terms and conditions, the rates for the services should be clearly stated and there should be no 'hidden charges'.
  4. The Financial Conduct Authority has recently taken over the regulation of the Debt Collection industry in the UK from the Office of Fair Trading. This means that you should ensure the agency you choose to use is registered with The Financial Conduct Authority and never use an agency that is not. Every debt collection agency must gain the requisite permissions from the The Financial Conduct Authority in order to be legally permitted to collect debt. Agencies registered with The Financial Conduct Authority are given a registration number which can sometimes be found on the agencies website, however you should ask for this number and check it is genuine before you hire the agency.

Commercial Debt Collection – Get More Advice

Following the simple steps outlined above can help you find the best debt collection agency to meet your needs. This agency should have a high rate of success - and not cost you a fortune. Here at Unlock the Law we can help you find the right debt collection agency to meet your needs.

Information provided by Debt Collect UK - find out more at www.debtcollectuk.com

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Last Updated

Monday, 11 November 2019