Backing the Money and Mental Health Policy Institution’s campaign to end intimidating debt letters, Carlos Osorio, Director of Debt Recovery at TDX Group, an Equifax company, joins the call for a fresh, more humane approach to debt collection processes:
We fully support the calls from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institution charity to end the outdated and harmful practice of sending threatening debt letters. The COVID-19 crisis should act as a watershed moment, allowing the government and debt industry to reshape the way we think and operate around debt and debt collection.
The pandemic has had an enormous financial effect across much of our society, with 40% of UK households seeing their income drop since February*. Our own data shows that in the first four weeks of lockdown alone there was a three-fold increase in the number of consumers identified with short-term vulnerability. Furlough, reduced working hours and redundancies continue to impact people’s ability to keep up with repayments. Aggressive debt collection was not fair or effective before the crisis and it is even less so now.
Via our network at TDX Group, we’re in contact with 60,000 customers each week, as we try to help them with overdue bills. Aggressive debt collection is counter-productive, making it less likely people will engage, and puts vulnerable people at further risk. All debt collection activity should be informed by customer data and insight, tailored to individual customer needs and circumstances, and delivered via the recipient’s preferred contact channel.
We have enhanced our communication with customers on behalf of our clients since COVID-19 emerged, and launched our V+ service to identify and cater for those most at risk of financial vulnerability. We passionately believe that earlier and better identification of vulnerability, coupled with sympathetic and tailored treatment, will improve outcomes for both creditors and individuals in debt.
Carlos Osorio, Director of Debt Recovery.