OFT seeks new powers to suspend credit licences

The Office of Fair Trading, or OFT, has started a consultation that will look at new powers that would allow them to suspend the credit licenses of companies such as debt purchases, debt collection agencies, and similar licensed firms within the debt industry. The OFT stated that it needs the new powers in order to better protect consumers.

One of the reasons that the OFT wants the consultation is to make sure that they can quickly put a stop to any business that are operating via deception by taking their license before the appeals process starts so that no one else can be hurt in the meantime. The regulator explained that it would not use the abuse the power and would only use it when there was an urgent reason.

Factors that the OFT would consider when they were deciding whether to immediately suspend a license or not include what evidence there is that the business has engaged in fraud, violence, or dishonesty as well as any evidence that might indicate that a business is targeting consumers. Additional factors might include a failure to address concerns that were previously made against them by the OFT or organizations like the Local Authority Trading Standards Service.

Director of credit at the Office of Fair Trading, David Fisher, stated that this would be a new power that is very important because it will allow them to take immediate action against businesses that pose a serious and immediate risk to consumers. He added that after consultation is completed with the interested parties they hope to be able to use the new powers in very serious cases where it is important that a business immediately ceases activity so that additional people are not harmed or deceived.