If a firm arranges for someone to visit a customer in relation to debt collection it must give the customer adequate notice of the date and likely time (which must be reasonable) of the visit and clearly explain the purpose and intended outcome of the proposed visit to the customer.
The person making the visit must not:
- act in a threatening manner towards the customer;
- visit at a time when they know or suspect that the customer is or may be particularly vulnerable;
- visit at an inappropriate location (such as the customer's place of work or in hospital, if the customer is a patient) unless the customer has expressly consented to the visit;
- enter the customer's property without their consent or an appropriate court order;
- refuse to leave the customer's property when it becomes apparent that the customer is unduly distressed or might not have the mental capacity to make an informed decision regarding repayment or to engage in the debt recovery process;
- refuse to leave the customer's property when reasonably asked to do so; or
- visit or threaten to visit a customer without the customer's prior agreement wen a debt is deadlocked or reasonably queried or disputed.
Where a firm uses a third party to trace a customer it must make sure that any information held about the customer is accurate and is being properly held according to the provisions of the Data Protection Act. If a firm passes on any information to a third party for the purposes of tracing the customer or recovering the debt, it must take every reasonable step to ensure that the information is accurate and adequate, so that the true customer is pursued, and for the correct amount.