As rising living costs continue to impact a growing number of individuals, the issue of problem debt has become increasingly prevalent in the UK.
Our research estimates that as many as 3.36 million more adults in the UK may now be struggling with problem debt, bringing the total number to 11.56 million (up from 8.2 million in 2021). These staggering figures reveal the extent to which individuals and families are struggling to afford everyday expenses such as rent or mortgages, council tax, and energy bills.
The research also highlights the significant financial and reputational risks that businesses face as a result of this problem debt crisis. Half of the survey respondents reported that they had not been treated in a humane way by the businesses they owe money to, and nearly a third (32%) had experienced negative interactions with bailiffs. These negative experiences have led to a growing number of individuals choosing to boycott the products and services of companies that allow unethical debt collectors to represent their business.
Our study aims to shed light on the impact that poor industry practices have on customers' mental wellbeing and loyalty to businesses. As the cost of living crisis deepens, it is crucial that companies understand the consequences of inhumane debt collection practices and the long-term effects they can have on individuals and their perceptions of the company.
This research will serve as a valuable tool for companies looking to improve their debt collection practices and promote a more ethical and compassionate approach towards individuals in financial difficulty.