Treating Customers Fairly
We have defined 10 principles for ethical and sound debt collection practices which can form the basis of a future industry standard to enable that all customers are treated fairly and ethically, regardless if there is strong consumer protection law in place or not.
Intrum’s purpose is to lead the way to a sound economy. We do that by helping our clients to receive payment for their goods and services so that they can prosper and grow.
Our clients consist of approximately 80,000 small, medium-sized and large companies and financial institutions across 24 European markets. We support their customers, individuals and businesses alike, to address debts and regain control over their financial situation. This in turn benefits society as a whole.
As Europe’s largest credit management services company, we bear a great responsibility to conduct our operations in an ethical and sustainable way. On a daily basis, we are in touch with more than 250,000 individuals who face varying degrees of debt and different financial circumstances. It is important for us to respect and strive to understand each individual situation. We are driven by our four core values – Empathy, Ethics, Dedication, and Solutions – and have established strict guidelines to ensure that Intrum employees treat everyone in line with these values.
As part of these efforts, we have developed a detailed set of guidelines, the Treating Customers Fairly Instruction, that is applied across our operations. It is based on 10 key principles for ethical and responsible debt collection services. These are robust principles that we believe should be a standard for our industry.
10 principles for ethical and sound debt collection practices
- Debt collection services must be conducted in compliance with applicable national legislation, regulations, regulatory guidance, local market conduct and requirements at all times.
- Debt collection services must be conducted with integrity and confidentiality by ensuring that any information provided by individuals is respected and handled with the utmost care.
- Debt collection services must be conducted with due care, professional skills and diligence.
- Debt collectors must treat customers, individuals and companies alike, fairly, with respect, and honour their privacy.
- Debt collectors must ensure that customer costs, fees and interest rates are lawful, reasonable and proportionate to the claim at all times.
- Debt collectors must pay due regard to the information needs of its customers and ensure that all employees who are in contact with customers are trained to communicate information in a way which is clear, fair, and not misleading.
- Debt collectors must manage conflicts of interest openly, fairly and ethically. This is especially important regarding conflicts of interest between the case handler and the customer.
- Debt collectors must take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of the advice, (in countries where it is permitted to give advice), and discretionary decisions for customers.
- Debt collectors must arrange adequate protection for the customers’ assets when responsible for them.
- Debt collectors must take extra precautions with vulnerable customers. Drivers of potential vulnerability include health conditions, major life events, or limited knowledge of financial matters. Vulnerable customers should be shown special care and be handled by trained employees and, if suitable and possible, forwarded to a relevant authority for support.