Making money woes public causes stress and embarrassment to the debtor, says the watchdog
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has that debt collectors should not contact people through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
An OFT spokesman said that contacting debtors through social networking sites was a new take on the old method of placing a postcard through the door, according to the Daily Mail.
The OFT has updated its Debt Collection Guidance. The new guidance prevents debt collectors from using social networking sites as it causes ‘stress and embarrassment’ to debtors as their money woes are made public.
The updated guidance says debtors should not suffer "undue pressure" from creditors "posting messages on social networking sites in a way that might potentially reveal that an identifiable person is being pursued for the repayment of a debt," according to the Daily Mail.
The OFT spokesman said of the new trend, ‘It’s unfair and improper and it makes that private correspondence public.
‘It causes stress and embarrassment to the debtor. It is not good business practice to do that.’
The OFT said that it has received aonly a few complaints from people who have been hounded by debt collectors, but the watch dog is "future-proofing" the guidance.
The OFT spokesman said, ‘It is not a widespread trend. We are future-proofing the guidance.
‘We have had a couple of complaints which we have dealt with.
‘We will continue to monitor the market for that kind of communication,’ the spokesman added.
The OFT’s director of consumer credit David Fisher said, "In the present economic climate, with many people, including those who may be particularly vulnerable, in financial difficulties, it is crucial they are treated fairly by companies recovering their debts.
"This updated guidance makes clear the standards the OFT expects of all businesses involved in debt recovery, including debt collectors, banks and law firms."