Feeds

Debt collectors warned off pursuing punters on Facebook

OFT will bitchslap agencies who send heavies onto social networks

Security for virtualized datacentres

Debt collectors should not be allowed to chase people who owe them money on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, the UK's Office of Fair Trading has said.

The OFT issued new guidance today that warned banks, law firms, tracing agents and debt collectors that using social networks to track down debtors was "unfair or improper".

"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" was "acting in a way likely be publicly embarrassing to the debtor, either deliberately or negligently", the OFT guidance said.

An OFT spokesman told The Register that the practice was a lot like leaving voicemail or postcards that friends or family could easily hear or read, which could be distressing.

"When a company posts information on a social network, that information is even more in the public domain and could cause embarrassment or stress for the debtor," he said.

He added that chasing debts on social networks hadn't been a widespread issue so far.

"We've had a couple of complaints, which we've dealt with. We've spoken to the companies concerned and they stopped immediately," he said. "We'll continue to monitor how the guidance is complied with and we welcome any evidence of noncompliance."

Any debt agencies that continued the practice could have their consumer credit licence taken off them, the guidance 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," David Fisher, the OFT's director of consumer credit, said in a canned statement. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.