The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes the view that the activities of process servers who serve papers in relation to credit, hire agreements, or Article 36H agreements (peer-to-peer agreements) are likely to fall within the very wide definition of debt collection because they are taking steps to procure the payment of debts due under a credit agreement, a consumer hire agreement or a relevant Article 36H agreement.
The regulator went on to comment that even if process serving in relation to consumer debt was not debt collection, it would be 'likely to fall under the 'similarly wide' definition of debt administration.
The legal definition of the regulated activity of debt administration includes that, "Debt administration is the taking of steps to exercise or enforce rights under a consumer credit agreement on behalf of the creditor so far as the taking of such steps is not debt collecting."
If the FCA's view holds, and process serving is deemed by the FCA to be a regulated activity then:
Anyone undertaking process serving of documents relating to regulated accounts will require an Interim Permission in order to continue to supply those services after 1 April 2014.
If you use the services of process servers for regulated accounts, you will need to make sure they have an Interim Permission.
Town and Country Legal Services has been granted Interim Permission and can offer a process service