Tactics are instilling fear into older people
Age Scotland has spoken out against anxiety-inducing debt enforcement tactics used by utility companies.
It comes after several serious allegations were made regarding Scottish Power’s aggressive and threatening manner when seeking payment, including footage revealing debt enforcers breaking into a woman’s flat in Glasgow due to debts she did not owe.
The charity has highlighted the danger of failing to treat customers with understanding and respect, as well as the importance of having robust systems in place to ensure the correct information is held in order to avoid such serious mistakes.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “These accounts are extremely concerning and speak to the unacceptable levels of anxiety and fear people can face at the hands of debt collectors, at times even when utility companies themselves are at fault.
“We would hope and expect enforcement calls and visits to be carried out with a level of understanding and respect for customers, but the heavy-handed tactics revealed today are nothing short of fearmongering.
“With systems becoming increasingly automated and digital-by-default, we’ve heard from older people how difficult it’s becoming to speak to anyone directly if they have a problem or query.
“By looking to invest in customer service and availability over the phone, companies would be able to address and resolve issues long before they have the chance to escalate to this level.
“Going forward, we hope companies will go further to ensure the information they hold is accurate and up-to-date and that they communicate sensitively and accessibly with their customers.
“It’s clear that failure to do so can have a serious impact on mental health and wellbeing, and the last thing we want is older people feeling anxious about an unexpected appearance at their door.”