Plans to make the debt rulings process fairer outlined by Government

Plans to protect people from unresolved debts which can damage credit ratings without them knowing have been outlined by the Government.

It has launched a consultation on how County Court Judgments (CCJs) are issued, after concerns were raised that some rogue companies were deliberately sending claims to consumers using incorrect addresses.

Credit ratings can be harmed and the issue may only come to light years later when someone's application for a mortgage, loan or car on finance is rejected.

The proposals include striking a CCJ from the register immediately once unknown debts are resolved and a judge agrees that the person was unaware.

The plans cover England and Wales and the consultation runs until February 21.

The Government is seeking formal evidence on the scale of the problem, and will consult on how best to protect consumers and businesses.

The proposals also include looking at better protecting consumers who do not receive mail because it is sent to an old address and introducing a Government information campaign providing a centralised, trusted source to raise awareness and help people deal with unresolved debts.

Launching the consultation, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: "We want to protect vulnerable consumers from abuse by rogue companies that can destroy the credit rating of innocent people without them even knowing about it.

"Debts should be paid, not exploited by a minority of cowboys who need reining in."

Over the past four years, the number of CCJs has surged by nearly two-thirds (59%), with more than one million issued in 2016, the Government said.

Evidence has been gathered and discussions conducted with consumer groups and advice organisations to assess the scale of the issue.