- Act and conduct the business with integrity and ensure that all regularity and legal requirements are met and governed with robust governance arrangements.
- Show skill, care and diligence when conducting our business with both clients and customers.
- Ensure clients’ assets are adequately protected and not used to fund the business by holding an additional account where all monies collected on behalf of the customer is held.
- Regularly audit and reconcile accounts held, along with practices to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Maintain adequate policies and procedures, sufficient to ensure compliance with industry legislation, regulation, codes and standards, and take reasonable care to organise and control business responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems
- Exercise due diligence and care in selecting an outsourced partner and assess their competency to undertake the work, as well as monitor activity and performance and ensure adequate levels of governance throughout the relationship.
- Consider the competency and suitability of management and staff employed, and consider relevant skills, experience and background.
- Report sums collected to the client and remitted in a timely fashion no longer than 1 month from receipt unless otherwise agreed with the client.
- Pay due regard to the interests of our customers and businesses and treat them fairly.
- Provide prior written notice to debtors when outsourcing accounts to ensure debtor awareness as to who their data is being shared.
- To Cooperate with CSA, FCA, or any regulator or governing body in an open way and disclose anything relating to the member of which the CSA & FCA, a regulator or other governing body would reasonably expect notice.
- Have clear and easy to understand policies.
- Make contact at reasonable times and intervals which includes debtors preferred method of contact where possible.
- To assist the debtors in making reasonable re payment plans that are sustainable and also in the interests of the client.
- To follow Ofcom Statement Policy when using automated dialler systems.
- Take appropriate steps to ensure accuracy of data processed.
- When an account is reasonably disputed via a complaint, suspend collection activity, investigate and refer the matter.
- Not to put debtor under any undue pressure to borrow money.
- Ensure that communication is only made with the named debtor through security policy.
- Cooperate with debtors authorised third parties.
- Exercise consideration of debtors’ personal circumstances.
Financial Difficulties & Mental Health
- Unless instructed otherwise, accept all reasonable offers by debtors to pay instalments provided evidence of inability to pay in full via the use of an accurate income expenditure report.
- Consider all claims of financial difficulties with empathy.
- Provide signposts and options for the debtor in respect of engagement with appropriate advice organisation who can assist.
- Consider when arranging an instalment plan to prioritise debts such as mortgage, rent or secured debts for the debtor.
- Suspend collection activity where it is demonstrated the debtor is actively seeking financial or mental health assistance for a period of 30days “breathing space”.
- Consider reducing or dropping additional costs incurred as a result of the debtor being unable to pay on agreed terms, where financial difficulties have been demonstrated.
- To consider reasonably a token payment/s if evidence has been provided of the debtors inability to pay.
- To cooperate with third party agencies engaged to assist the customer.
- To not obtain, hold or store sensitive information without explicit consent from the debtor in respect of Mental Health or medical notes.
- To competently manage the requirements of the debtor who has supplied information that they maybe subject to mental health issues and to treat the debtor with consideration, and proportionately.
- In respect of mental health issues, ensure the client or third party instructed by the debtor is supplied such information.
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 5 working days of its receipt with complaints handling process.
- Suspend collections activity whilst investigating the complaint.
- Advise the debtor of their right to refer the complaint to the CSA or FCA as appropriate
- Take remedial action in instances of error or failing process.
- Undertake an audit of the failing process to find root cause and improve business practice.
- Record all complaints, store and manage ensuring appropriate staff are aware of the route cause.
- Ensure all complaints are dealt with promptly and within 14 days from the date of receipt, or the complainant is informed in the event more time is required to investigate the complaint properly.
- Provide a detailed conclusion that is sufficient to justify the stated conclusion.
The personal data provided by a client will be processed in accordance with Data Protection Act 2018 by Lawton Hathaway Ltd, and used for debt collections purposes under “legitimate interest” regulation of the Data Protection Act. We will provide data subjects with details of services, publications in direct relation to our service where appropriate and specific consent is received.
- Lawton Hathaway process personal and sensitive data in accordance with the relevant Data Protection legislation ensuring compliance to the data protection principles.
- Only obtain data from legitimate sources and where appropriate to the service provided.
- Correct data where errors or inaccuracies are highlighted on notification.
- Utilise controls to ensure data exchange to third parties is lawful and protected
- To respond and comply promptly to any subject access request received either by the subject or an authorised agent.
- To ensure robust controls for agents and IT security to prevent unlawful processing of data and/or disclosure.
- To ensure data security checks are carried out when speaking to a data subject.
- Validate and update any changes to the subjects’ details promptly.
- Operate a written data retention policy.
- To not hold data unnecessarily, and to only keep essential data for the purpose of a later dispute allowing the business to deal with such incidents as they occur competently.
Lawton Hathaway commits to keeping up to date of all relevant legislation, regulation, guidance relating to this code of practice. Lawton Hathaway periodically tests regulation knowledge of its agents and staff. In addition, from time to time it employs a sufficient organisation to audit performance, regulation compliance and training whilst holding all records of such activities.
Allegations of breaches to our Code of Practice will be investigated thoroughly. If any serious breach is confirmed, then the company director will be informed, and it will be referred to the CSA and or FCA where full transparency and cooperation will be provided. Any sanctions or action applied because of any serious breach may be publicised by the CSA or FCA.
- Reasonable steps will be taken to ensure the data information being used from an identification process is to the best of knowledge and accurate.
- Ensure that any practices involved in tracing by our third party agents is fair, transparent and in line with current compliance guidelines.
- To ensure any miss traces where information is proved to be incorrect are promptly reported back to our agents and all records updated.
Communications for Collection and Recovery
- All calls will adhere to data protection requirements with verification of identity of the subject with an individual or authorised third party.
- To not leave a message which discloses the nature of the call or any other personal details.
- To not refer to litigation, legal proceedings unless commencement of proceedings is genuine.
- To ensure staff members within the organisation are easily identified within the calls.
- When making contact by letter, adhere to CSA & FCA guidance on standard debt collection letters, and ensure the letters are written, produced and in line with applicable regulations.
- To ensure any transfer of debt to a third party is reported to the debtor in writing and naming the organisation who will now be responsible for collecting the debt.
- To provide debtors any repayment methods
- Consider statutory requirements which require a particular method for sending documents or notices.
- To take reasonable steps to verify that the mobile telephone number obtained is valid.
- Ensure the text messages do not disclose the nature of the contact or refers to debt or any other personal details unless permitted to do so by the debtor.
- Only state intention to commence litigation proceedings that are reasonably likely to be undertaken or applied for as confirmed by the client.
- Make clear to debtors prior to issuing a claim or making and application its intended course of action and what the debtor can do to prevent such action.
- Not mislead debtors
- Comply with section 2 v (Legal Action) of the CSA & DBSG Guidance on Standard Debt Collection Letters.
- Adhere to applicable Pre-Action Protocol.
Lawton Hathaway is unlikely to provide litigation services itself and will in pass any claim to a named third party where request by the client.
Lawton Hathaway will adhere to the Code of Practice when collecting unpaid accounts from businesses. It will make clear all costs including late payment, interest, legal and contractual costs. We will consider OFT Debt Collection Guidance in addition to FCA, CSA. Lawton Hathaway will have in place an adequate complaint handling process which includes referral to the CSA complaints scheme.