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How to Use the Debt Collection Ombudsman 

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Scott Nelson

Managing Director

MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.

Learn more about Scott
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Janine
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.

Learn more about Janine
· Feb 6th, 2024
Could you legally write off some debt? Answer below to get started.

Total amount of debt?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

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How to Use the Debt Collection Ombudsman

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

The Debt Collection Ombudsman can be your friend if you’re dealing with debt collectors who are not being fair. This guide will show you how to use it in 2023.

If you’re not sure where a debt has come from or if you’re worried about paying, we’re here to help. Each month, over 170,000 people visit our website for help on debt matters.

In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  •  How to understand if the debt is yours.
  •  When and why to complain to the Debt Collection Ombudsman.
  •  Step-by-step guide on how to make a complaint.
  •  How much debt is too much, and when you can write off some debt.
  •  How the Debt Collection Ombudsman can help you deal with debt collectors.

The Debt Collection Ombudsman is not on any side; it helps people who owe money and also the ones who are trying to get the money back. They will look at your case and help you find the best way to solve the problem.

We know it’s not easy dealing with debt collectors, but we’re here to help.

Could you legally write off some debt?

There are several debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one for you could write off some of your unaffordable debt, but the wrong one may be expensive and drawn out.

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find. MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

What Is the Debt Collection Ombudsman?

Lots of people refer to the Debt Collection Ombudsman, but in reality, there is no such thing as a Debt Collection Ombudsman. What they really mean by this phrase is the Financial Ombudsman, which is in charge of monitoring the debt collection industry along with all the other financial industries.

The Financial Ombudsman was created at the turn of the last century and has been given legal powers to resolve disputes between UK residents and companies that provide products and services relating to finance.

For example, the Financial Ombudsman may be used if someone raises a complaint with a UK bank and the bank do not resolve the complaint in the eyes of the consumer. Overall, the Financial Ombudsman will use the law – including the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 – to make judgements on any complaints that have been escalated to them.

Just like many other people who use them for debt matters, we will also refer to them as the Debt Collection Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman interchangeably in this post.

When Should You Complain to the Debt Collection Ombudsman?

The Debt Collection Ombudsman is the last point of call for a complaint. Most financial service providers, including debt collection agencies, do not want any complaint from their customers to reach the Ombudsman because it can have serious consequences, including heavy fines.

You might want to go straight to the Debt Collection Ombudsman because they have a lot of power and are influential in the debt collection industry, but you have to try to complain directly to the company responsible first. This means gathering evidence on your accusation. If your accusation was debt collection harassment, you might provide them with copies of phone call logs.

If the creditor or collection agency does not respond to your complaint in time or does not change their behaviour because of what you complained about (you can request contact preferences etc), you should then make a complaint to the Debt Collection Ombudsman.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Fill out the short debt form

Why Complain to the Debt Collection Ombudsman?

Most debtors who make a complaint to the Debt Collection Ombudsman will do so because they feel that their creditors or any company chasing them for debt have not acted appropriately. One of the common complaints is debt collection harassment, which is when debt collection groups make repeated calls or home visits, i.e. they harass debtors until they pay.

This is a criminal offence, just like:

  • Disclosing your debt to third parties
  • Trying to get debt payments at your place of work
  • Applying pressure or using threatening tactics
  • Demanding entry to your home

How a debt solution could help

Some debt solutions can:

  1. Stop nasty calls from creditors
  2. Freeze interest and charges
  3. Reduce your monthly payments

A few debt solutions can even result in writing off some of your debt.

Here’s an example:


Situation

Monthly income £2,504
Monthly expenses £2,345
Total debt £32,049

Monthly debt repayments

Before £587
After £158

£429 reduction in monthly payments

If you want to learn what debt solutions are available to you, click the button below to get started.

Get Started

How to Complain to the Debt Collection Ombudsman (Step by Step)

Complaining to the Debt Collection Ombudsman is made easy. Below you can find the process involved, as explained on the Financial Ombudsman website:

Step One: Contact the Company Directly

As mentioned, you will be asked to try and resolve the matter between you and the creditor. However, the Financial Ombudsman will offer to guide you on how to make a direct complain if needed.

Step Two: Complain to the Financial Ombudsman

If you don’t receive a response or are not satisfied with their response, you have up to six months to move your complaint over to the Financial Ombudsman. You only need to provide your basic information, details of the complaint and any reference numbers you have with the creditor/collection agency.

Step Three: The Financial Ombudsman Assesses the Complaint

The Financial Ombudsman will take the facts, your information and evidence, as well as any information provided by the debt collection group to assess the situation. Sometimes this takes more than three months to be finalised.

Step Four: Result and Resolve?

After the complaint has been analysed by the Financial Ombudsman, they will give their opinion on the events. They may ask the company to put things right with you because you were wrongly treated. Most complaints to the Financial Ombudsman end here and are resolved.

Step Five(A): Second Look

If you disagree with the Financial Ombudsman’s decision and verdict, you can ask for a second opinion which is legally binding. If you are still unhappy after this stage, your case can only go further in a court of law. The Financial Ombudsman do not offer a third opinion on a complaint.

Step Five(B): Taking Action

If the second opinion goes in your favour, the Financial Ombudsman will ask for things to be put right and they may even order the debt collection agency to pay you compensation because of their actions.

Is the Debt Collection Ombudsman Unbiased?

Yes, all judgements and complaint procedures handled by the Financial Ombudsman are done so without bias. They work impartially to get the right result pertaining to the law. They are neither on your side or the debt collection group’s side. They are on the side of debt industry regulations and applicable laws.

Could you legally write off some debt?

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

Can a Debt Collection Ombudsman Wipe My Debt?

It would be nice if your complaint against any rogue debt collection companies was upheld and the benefit was that your debt was wiped. Unfortunately, that is not how it works, and your debt will still need to be paid (if it is not statute barred).

You can find more content on the MoneyNerd website about getting out of debt. All our information is broken up into simple-to-read chunks without confusing jargon.

The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.
Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Debt Expert
Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.
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