HomeInsightsRegulators publish joint letter warning firms about debt collection communications


The UK Regulators’ Network has published a joint letter with the Financial Conduct Authority, Ofcom, Ofwat and Ofgem, setting out their shared expectations of firms in their respective sectors in relation to debt collection.

The letter follows an earlier joint letter in June 2023 in which the same four regulators shared their expectations of how firms should support customers in financial difficulty, and coincides with Debt Awareness Week. The letter sets out the rules, guidance, and best practice relevant to each regulator’s respective sector, while also making a number of general observations and detailing outcomes that regulated firms are expected to deliver. These include ensuring that the frequency of collections communications is appropriate in the relevant circumstances, and that firms should consider the impact of the frequency and channel of their communications. The tone of the communications is also crucial: the regulators expect them to be supportive and facilitate positive engagement with the customer, rather than being intimidating or threatening.

It is also expected that information about free debt advice is “clear and prominent” in collections communications, and that firms make it as easy as possible for advisors from debt advice organisations to contact creditors. The letter suggests that firms should “consider how they can clearly signpost the contact channels available to debt advisers and whether these channels are sufficiently resourced” and also ensure that customer service agents are empowered to resolve issues raised by advisers.

The letter states that the regulators will use their respective powers to ensure that these expectations are met and appropriate processes are embedded within regulated firms, warning that they may take “robust action” if firms fall short.

To read the letter in full, click here