New research by StepChange has revealed the types of firms more likely to treat you unfairly if you’re in debt.

In a survey of over 1700 customers, the firm asked if they had been treated unfairly.

Half of those surveyed said they had been unfairly treated by bailiffs. While 42% said that their local council authority had also treated them unfairly. The Department for Work and Pensions, who are responsible for state benefits, came third with 36%. 32 and 30% respectively mentioned that mobile phone providers and debt collection agencies had also treated them unfairly.

It’s worth mentioning that 51% of those contacted by bailiffs were in relation to Council Tax debts.

Here’s the list:

Type of organisation “I was treated unfairly”
1 Bailiff 50%
2 Local authority 42%
3 Dept. for Work and Pensions (DWP) 36%
4 Mobile phone company 32%
5 Debt collection agency 30%
6 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 28%
7 Payday or short term lender 28%
8 Utility company 27%
9 Catalogue lender 26%
10 Fee-charging debt management firm 26%
11 Store card lender 23%
12 High street bank 21%
13 Credit card company 20%

Source: StepChange 

Treatment of vulnerable customers

The report mentioned nearly 85% of respondents had experienced a creditor who didn’t take their vulnerabilities in to account. This was after the customer had made the creditors aware of their circumstances.

What are Harrington Brooks doing for vulnerable customers?

While our staff undergo an intensive induction and training programme, we have a Specialist Support Unit to help manage vulnerable customers.


If you’re currently worried about your finances, have unsecured debts from personal borrowing and would like to speak confidentially to an advisor who can talk to you about the benefits and considerations of a range of debt solutions and personal insolvency solutions, then please get in touch by calling 0800 048 1764. You can also visit to request a call back at a time to suit you. By requesting a call, you are under no obligation to use our services. Harrington Brooks provide solutions to customers living in England, Scotland and Wales.

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