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NBU and Opendatabot Launch Service to Fight Debt Collector Malpractice

Opendatabot now has a guide on protection from debt collector malpractices and a feature that lets you file a complaint with NBU.

5 July 2021

Over 2.5 million Opendatabot users can now protect themselves from debt collectors’ abuse.

The Ukrainian Catholic University and Bot&Partners developed the debt collector communication system as a part of NBU’s Know Your Rights program.

The service has been integrated into the Opendatabot already and is available 24/7 via messengers and the app. It teaches users how to protect their privacy, check their data in the state registers, and submit their complaints to the National Bank of Ukraine.

Although debt collectors’ activities are regulated by law, numerous complaints regarding their ethical violations are still filed with the National Bank of Ukraine. This year, NBU received 3,142 written complaints and 8,258 contact center calls regarding debt collectors’ unethical behavior.

The complaints are filed chiefly in connection with:

  • Debt collectors unethical behavior—1,422 complaints (45%)
  • Usage of third-parties’ personal data—1,189 complaints (38%)
  • Aggressive behavior on the part of debt collection service employees—398 complaints (13%)
  • Disclosure of borrowers’ personal data—133 complaints (4%)
Top debt collector–related complaints in Ukraine
Unethical behavior 1,42245.3%
Usage of third-parties’ personal data 1,18937.8%
Aggressive behavior39812.7%
Disclosure of borrowers’ personal data1334.2%

In March, a law was adopted to protect debtors during the settlement of their debt. It also sets rules for debt collectors’ ethical work.

Specifically, the new law prohibits:

  • Searching and leveraging the data on the debtor’s work schedule, health, meetings, travels, and the information from their social media
  • Resorting to intimidation, blackmailing, psychological and physical pressure
  • Misrepresentation as to the debt size and repayment data, demanding that the debtor compensates the debt collector’s work and debt collection—related expenses.
  • Interacting with the debtor from 8 PM to 9 AM as well as on weekends, holidays, and non-business on the debt collector initiative
  • Using autodial services over 30 minutes per day
  • Disclosing to third parties the existence of the debt or demanding that they assume debt-related obligations unless stipulated by the loan contract
  • Reputation harm
  • Meeting with the debtor without preliminarily notifying the debtor and coordinating it with them
  • Interacting with the debtor and related persons if they are hospitalized, legally incapable or partially incapacitated, Group 1 disabled persons or under-age from the moment the documentary evidence thereof is obtained
  • Interacting with the debtor more than twice per day unless the interaction has been initiated by the debtor (the interaction via communication devices is deemed to have taken place if the debtor receives the information about the size of the overdue debt, repayment profile, amount of penalty and other charges in the event failure to perform their obligations under the credit contract or in conformity with the law)

One also should bear in mind that only those debt collectors operate legally that have been entered in the corresponding debt collector company registry. This is stipulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Consumer Lending.” Only these companies are entitled to assist lenders in settling overdue debts.

As reported earlier, over 2 million Ukrainians are currently in the register of debtors. Their number increased by 18% during the year.

To use our debt collector communication guide:
  1. In the main menu, click/tap the Help button
  2. Then select Protection From Debt Collectors

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