A debt collection company has been roundly criticised for employing what have been called “bully boy” tactics by an array of debt help charities and politicians.
Nightfox Investigations & Debt Recovery Ltd has reportedly been promoting itself as an “old-fashioned face-to-face debt recovery operation” that offered its customers the chance to show their debtors “who is in charge”.
The company also said it aims to be the “first thing on your debtor’s mind in the morning and the last thing at night,” according to a Sunday Mail investigation.
It was even found that Nightfox Investigations were willing to target a debtor’s family and friends as part of their efforts to retrieve whatever monies were owed to their clients.
The firm has an operating base in Edinburgh and has apparently been targeting Scots for some time with its promises to employ “real men that get the job done”.
“Vindictive debt collection helps no one. Intimidating potentially vulnerable people isn’t the way to help creditors recover money,” said Sharon Bell, head of debt advice at StepChange Scotland, in response to the reports.
“The majority of people who turn to StepChange for help with debt have suffered unfortunate changes in circumstances. You cannot bully someone out of a position of difficulty,” she said.
Myles Fitt from Citizens Advice Scotland said: “It’s very concerning to see anyone proposing these kind of tactics to pursue debts. If people feel threatened in any way, they should contact the police.”
The Credit Services Association (CSA), the trade body for debt collectors, has confirmed that Nightfox Investigations in not one of its members.
“Treating customers (those in debt) fairly must be at the heart of any debt collection activity,” said a CSA spokesperson.
“The CSA, which represents 90 per cent of the debt collection market, expects its members to follow a code of practice that embeds this very principle.
“Customers must not be subject to aggressive collection practices and firms must pay due regard to the interests of those they are dealing with.”
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The number of Scots struggling to keep a roof over their heads is sure to rise in the coming months as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt.
The charity Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has called for a new approach to be taken towards supporting people who find themselves deep in debt.
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