The obtaining, recording, holding and passing on of information about individuals for the purposes of tracing a customer and/or recovering a debt due under a credit agreement or a consumer hire agreement or a P2P agreement will involve the processing of personal data. Accordingly, firms processing such data are data controllers or data processors and are obliged to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and, in particular, to adhere to the eight data protection principles.
[Note: paragraph 3.16 of DCG]
A firm must take reasonable steps to ensure that it maintains accurate and adequate data (including in respect of debt and repayment history) so as to avoid the risk that:
A firm must endeavour to ensure that the information it passes on to its agent or to a debt collector or to a tracing agent (a person1 that carries on the activity in article 54 of the Exemption Order), whether for the firm's or another person’s1 business, or to any other person involved in recovering the debt or, where appropriate, to a credit reference agency is accurate and adequate so as to facilitate the tracing and identification of the true borrower or hirer.
Before pursuing a customer for the repayment of a debt, a firm must take reasonable steps to verify the accuracy and adequacy of the available data so as to ensure that the true customer is pursued for the debt and that they are pursued for the correct amount.
[Note: paragraphs 3.7e and 3.23a of DCG]
A firm should ensure (subject to any legal requirements) that adequate and accurate information it holds about a customer in relation to a debt is made available to persons involved on its behalf in the debt recovery process. Information relating to the customer which should be made available to agents or employees includes, for example:
being in financial difficulties;
being particularly vulnerable;
disputing the debt;
a repayment plan or forbearance being in place;
having a representative acting on the customer's behalf.
[Note: paragraph 3.23b (box) of DCG]
A firm should not impose limitations on the number or the extent of reasonable applications that can be made to it for documents or other relevant information pertaining to a customer in respect of which it is, or has been, the lender or owner, by a firm seeking such information to facilitate its pursuance of the relevant debt.
[Note: paragraph 3.23i of DCG]
Where a firm has established that an individual being pursued for a debt is not the true borrower or hirer under the credit agreement, regulated credit agreement, consumer hire agreement or regulated consumer hire agreement or that the debt has been paid, the firm must update its records and the data supplied to the credit reference agencies (where applicable).
[Note: paragraph 3.23f of DCG]
A firm should take reasonable steps to seek to ensure that, where it has engaged a third party to recover debts on its behalf, the customer is not subject to multiple approaches by different persons, resulting in repetitive or frequent contact with the customer by different parties.
[Note: paragraph 3.7c of DCG]