Debt Collection Tactics Leave 4-in-10 Brits ‘Fearing for Their Lives’

Aggressive tactics by debt collectors in the United Kingdom have left four out of 10 adults “fearing for their lives,” according to the results of a poll. Nearly 50% of those who were polled reported not feeling like they were treated humanely by the businesses to whom they owed money, and nearly one-third have been visited at their home by enforcement agents seeking to collect on the unpaid debts.

To pay off the debts, more than half of those surveyed said they took out more loans, adding to the amount that they owed. More than 12% of respondents said they felt trapped by the situation.

While the collection practices here in the United States might be slightly different than those in the United Kingdom, there are some important takeaways that companies on this side of the pond may want to remember. For example, the tactics used by third-party collectors have led one-fifth of adults to stop using the business that was owed, 12% to post a bad review online of the company, and 11% to use social media to lodge their complaint.

The survey was commissioned by Ophelos, a company that claims to be “deeply committed to building a fairer debt collection process” that does not include “annoying calls” and “heavy hammers.”

On average, an adult in the U.K. has about $6,200 in unpaid debts, typically owed to four different companies. The most common types of debt are credit cards, energy bills, rent, overdraft, mortgage, property tax, and buy now, pay later loans.

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