Solicitor appeals against OFT sanction

Print This Post

28 February 2014


Debts: OFT concerns about collection letters

A solicitor who faces the unusual sanction from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) of being excluded from the group consumer credit licence held by the Law Society is appealing against the decision.

The sanction against Alasdair Turnbull follows the OFT’s refusal to renew the consumer credit licences of debt purchaser HFO Capital Limited, and two associated debt collectors, HFO Services Limited and Roxburghe (UK) Limited. Mr Turnbull acted for the group of firms.

Earlier this month, the OFT said it found “evidence of misleading and unfair practices in the businesses’ operations”, including:

  • Sending debt collection letters which misrepresented debtors’ legal position;
  • Misleading and otherwise inappropriate behaviour by HFO and Roxburghe agents during phone calls to debtors;
  • Failing to properly investigate disputed debts; and
  • Failing to respond appropriately to the concerns of regulators, including the OFT.

David Fisher, OFT senior director for consumer credit, said: “We expect businesses in the debt collection sector to behave with integrity and treat their customers fairly and transparently. We will not hesitate to refuse to license debt collection businesses that fail to do so.”

The OFT confirmed yesterday that all those affected have lodged appeals. Mr Turnbull has not responded to efforts to contact him.

In a statement issued after the original announcement, Roxburghe expressed “extreme surprise, disappointment and dismay” at the decision, calling the announcement a “travesty”.

The company complained that, in the three years that it has taken the OFT to act, the regulator has not met with or visited it, and had “consistently” given Roxburghe inconsistent information about the delays in the decision-making process.

Roxburghe said its consumer credit licence remains in force pending the appeal. The company has also applied for, and received, interim permission from the new regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in readiness for the transfer of consumer credit responsibilities in April.

A spokesman said: “We have consistently provided the highest levels of service to our clients and their customers, in adherence with the Credit Services Association’s code of practice, and in accordance with our own values and cultures and we shall continue to do so as we look to overturn this decision.”

Roxburghe has been in the debt collection industry since 1961 and in 2009 was voted Credit Today’s debt collection agency of the year.

Tags:



One Response to “Solicitor appeals against OFT sanction”

  1. Does anyone know where this leaves people who are currently on repayment plans with HFO Services Ltd.

  2. Anon on March 19th, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

Three reasons why you should be more vigilant about the emails you send in 2018

Ben Mitchell DocsCorp

In December 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (reported that data security incidents between April and June 2017 had increased by 15% compared to the previous year. This is nothing new – data breaches have been on the rise for years. Yet law firms are often more concerned about protecting sensitive information from external threats than from a far more likely cause: human error. Human error was behind the forwarding of confidential plans from The Bank of England to The Guardian. The sender included the wrong recipient in the email and, ever since, autocomplete has been disabled and staff at the UK’s main financial regulator must now enter every single address manually.

January 17th, 2018