On the 5th February 2014 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued, in a press release, that they would not be renewing the Consumer Credit Licence of Roxburghe UK Ltd. In addition, they have expelled Alasdair Turnbull, who represents and part-owns HFO Services, from the Law Society's group licence. This is something which is totally without precedent and marks the extent to which Turnbull and Roxburghe UK Ltd have been found in breach of consumer laws.
Here is the relevant text from the OFT's website:
OFT finds three debt businesses unfit and excludes a solicitor from undertaking licensable activities
08/14 5 February 2014
The OFT has refused to renew the consumer credit licences of debt purchaser HFO Capital Limited, and two associated Hdebt collectors, FO Services Limited and Roxburghe (UK) Limited.
Alasdair Turnbull, a solicitor who acted for the group of firms, has also today been excluded from the group consumer credit licence held by the Law Society for England and Wales.
The OFT found evidence of misleading and unfair practices in the businesses' operations, including:
- sending debt collection letters which misrepresented debtors' legal position
- misleading and otherwise inappropriate behaviour by HFO and Roxburghe agents during phone calls to debtors
- failing to properly investigate disputed debts
- failure to respond appropriately to the concerns of regulators, including the OFT.
David Fisher, OFT Senior Director for Consumer Credit, said:
'We expect businesses in the debt collection sector to behave with integrity and treat their customers fairly and transparently. We will not hesitate to refuse to license debt collection businesses that fail to do so.'
The parties have until 24 February 2014 to appeal the decision.