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Seb Anthony

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Data protection


Can anyone give me some information on how the data protection act affects credit control (debt recovery) agents in call centres?

The team need to know what they legally can and can't say to customers when calling them to recover debts.

I don;t think reading through the entire act will help, as I don't really know exactly what I'm looking for. Can anyone give me a few pointers please?


Colette Johnson
Colette Johnson

2 Responses

  1. Law on debt control
    The Data Protection Act is not the only piece of legislation covering behaviour in debt recovery.

    There is also consumer credit legislation, harassment, telephone communications and Human Rights Act issues around the area of debt control.

    In a nutshell the DPA simply ensures the privacy of the client and therefore very little should be said until the account holder is spoken to. There are a series of steps which debt collection agencies take to ensure they are speaking to the right person.

    The DPA does not provide any guidance on the sort of things a credit control agent would say, it gives a list of items that must be adhered to as the whole purpose is to maintain privacy for the individual.

    The DPA also covers in part calls to the person’s workplace ( ensuring the employer is not involved in telephone debt collection but does not preclude court action ie earnings attachments) alongside other law relating to harassment (over number of calls, time and duration of call).

    The DPA also covers the issues of privacy and persons having access to the private records of an individual.

    The calls must not be abusive, nor made at unreasonable times or in such a manner as the person receving the call will be caused real distress. This covers a range from the threat of a home visit, to telling the person their house is being watched, to phoning many times in the same evening to discuss the debt. Such behaviour can constitute harassment and have both civil and criminal ramifications.

    Sorry to give you a bigger job but the DPA is a tiny bit of what your team need to know.

    If you want some information on the Acts email me on


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