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CONC 7.11 Disclosures relating to “authority” or “status”

CONC 7.11.1R

When contacting customers, a firm must not misrepresent its authority or its legal position with regards to the debt or debt recovery process.

[Note: paragraph 3.4 of DCG ]

CONC 7.11.2G

For example, a person misrepresents authority or the legal position if they claim to work on instructions from the courts as bailiffs or, in Scotland, sheriff officers or messengers-at-arms, or in Northern Ireland, to work on instructions from the Enforcement of Judgements Office when this is untrue.

[Note: paragraph 3.5a of DCG ]

CONC 7.11.3R

A firm must not use official looking documents which are designed to, or are likely to, mislead a customer as to the status of the firm.

[Note: paragraph 3.3a of DCG ]

CONC 7.11.4R

A firm must not falsely suggest or state that it is a member of a trade body or is accredited by a trade body.

[Note: paragraph 3.5c (box) of DCG ]

CONC 7.11.5G

It is an offence under section 17 of the Legal Services Act 2007 to falsely imply that a person is entitled to carry on a reserved legal activity, for example, to conduct litigation or to appear before and address a court, or to take or use any relevant name, title or description, for example, “solicitor”.

[Note: paragraph 3.5c (box) of DCG ]

CONC 7.11.6R

A firm must1 not suggest or state that action can or will be taken when legally it cannot be taken.

[Note: paragraph 3.5b of DCG]

CONC 7.11.7G

Examples of where a firm is likely to contravene CONC 7.11.6 R include where a firm or a person acting on its behalf:

  1. (1)

    states or implies that bankruptcy or sequestration proceedings may be initiated when the balance of the outstanding debt is too low to qualify for such proceedings;

  2. (2)

    states or implies that steps will be taken to enforce a debt where the customer is making payments under a Debt Payment Programme Arrangement agreed under the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002;

  3. (3)

    claims a right of entry will be exercised when no court order to this effect has been granted; or

  4. (4)

    states that goods will be repossessed when they are “protected goods” (as defined under section 90(7) of the CCA) and no specific authorisation to repossess the goods has been granted by a court.

[Note: paragraph 3.5b (box) of DCG]

CONC 7.11.8R

A firm must1 not suggest or state that it will commence proceedings for a warrant of execution or an attachment of earnings order when a court judgment has not been obtained, or that it will take any other enforcement action before it is possible to know whether such action will be permissible.

[Note: paragraph 3.5c of DCG]

CONC 7.11.9R

A firm must1 not suggest or state that an action has been taken when no such action has been taken.

[Note: paragraph 3.5d (box) of DCG]