DEMSA, the Debt Manager’s Standards Association, has welcomed the news, but has urged the government to take further action.
DEMSA are a professional body which actively encourages ethical practices within the debt management sector and looks after the interests of not just its members, but also the general public.
The body has a code of conduct, previously approved by the Office of Fair Trading, which all DEMSA members must abide by. The code, which is available to view online, covers all aspects of the industry, but amongst other things, requires members to ensure all their staff are trained properly and that misleading or incorrect information is not given at any time.
In a response provided by ministers to the BIS Committee’s report on debt management, approval was given for the DEMSA code to continue and in the future will form part of the Trading Standards Institute. This arrangement will allow customers to more easily identify businesses which subscribe to the code.
The director of external relations at DEMSA, Melanie Taylor, said the news had been welcomed, with the possibility of increasing the public’s awareness of the protection available a particularly positive step.
However, she urged the government to implement measures to prevent firms who had been told they could be closed down from carrying on accepting new business. Ms Taylor said DEMSA was ‘particularly encouraged’ that the government had accepted that consumers could suffer, if a firm was allowed to continue to trade whilst they appealed the revocation of their consumer credit licence.
Ms Taylor added that DEMSA has ‘long campaigned’ for a much speedier appeals process, whilst, simultaneously, preventing firms from trading during this period.