The United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has declined to renew the consumer credit licenses for debt buyer HFO Capital Limited and two affiliate collection agencies - HFO Services Limited and Roxburghe (UK) Limited - after finding evidence of misleading and unfair practices.

The OFT' charged against the agencies include:
    •    sending collection letters that misrepresented debtors’ legal position
    •    failing to properly investigate disputed debts
    •    failure to respond appropriately to the concerns of regulators, including the OFT
    •    misleading and otherwise inappropriate behavior by HFO and Roxburghe agents during phone calls to debtors

Alasdair Turnbull, a solicitor who acted for the group of firms, has been excluded from the group consumer credit license held by the Law Society for England and Wales.

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 agencies have until Feb. 24 to appeal the decision.

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