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Who regulates creditors?

Most creditors are regulated by a Government body which sets out the standards they should meet, and monitors them to ensure they’re meeting these standards.

If a creditor doesn’t follow the rules set by their regulator action can be taken against them.

The Financial Conduct Authority

Most common types of household debt in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA publishes rules and guidelines which creditors have to follow, and they can fine or close down companies who ignore these. They also have the power to order companies to refund money or compensate their customers if they’ve been treated unfairly.

Credit products regulated by the FCA include:

  • Credit and store cards
  • Payday loans
  • Personal loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Mortgages
  • Hire purchase
  • Any other debts which are regulated by the Consumer Credit Act

The FCA also regulates financial advice. This includes all debt advice given by fee-charging debt management companies, and by charities like us.

Like most regulators, the FCA doesn’t investigate individual complaints. If you’ve made a complaint about an FCA-regulated debt and you’re not happy with the creditor’s final response you should contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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Other regulators

Not all types of debt are regulated by the FCA. 

For example, utility companies or telephone providers have their own regulators, such as Ofgem or Ofcom, which set and monitor rules for their industry.

Even if they’re not regulated by the FCA, most common household debt types have an ombudsman or independent organisation which oversees standards in their industry and investigates complaints. 

Who regulates bailiffs?

There are codes of conduct bailiffs should follow. If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly or illegally by a bailiff (also known as an enforcement agent), first make a complaint to the company that employs the agent and to the creditor they are collecting for. 

If you’re not satisfied with the way they deal with your complaint, you can escalate it to a governing body or ombudsman, depending on the type of debt being collected.

Find out more about making complaints against bailiffs

Types of debts which aren’t regulated

Some debts aren’t regulated in the UK. This means there are no set standards for how these creditors should act, and no independent body monitors whether they’re treating their customers fairly.

Examples of these include debts owed to family members or to small businesses.

Even if a debt isn’t regulated you still have legal protection from harassment.