And there's the other side ...
There's the scumbag companies with sales and accounting departments that could tell their a**e from their elbow if you gave them a map. For example, a well known mobile phone company with a colourful name who quite happily sold me a contract on one set of terms and then billed it under a different set of terms. Other than the first bill (with only up-front standing charge), not a single bill produced during 18 months had more than a passing resemblance to reality.
I tried really hard to persuade them that all I wanted was for them to bill me what I'd contracted to pay - but the clueless muppets didn't seem to understand that setting up their billing system to match the terms on their website didn't constitute giving me a personal tariff ! And that's after 12 months of them just repeating "I've added up the bills, the total is correct, pay it" - do they train people to be incapable of understanding the simple concept of "the contents of these bills is incorrect" ?
Needless to say, they employed the sort of debt collection agencies people here mention - the phone calls, the "on the edge of legality" letters, etc. In all, between them they owe me getting on for £200 - but still put a bad entry on my otherwise unblemished credit records. I was really tempted to take them to the small claims court, but it coincided with a difficult time for me and I couldn't do it.
Unfortunately, back then you couldn't use the useless adjudication schemes they are all required to be members of - because the scheme this company was a member of required a deadlock letter from the company before they'd stat a case. Needless to say, the company kept forgetting to issue one ...
As an aside, no-one has mentioned the credit reference agencies that will quite happily post libelous statements from businesses with no more proof than "they told us that information". When you try to post a statement that there is no debt as the company concerned failed to bill properly and failed to keep it's accounts properly - then the reference agencies refuse to post it as it's libelous.
In this, the OFT are a bunch of useless muppets who don't seem prepared to tackle this imbalance of rights.
Posted AC for obvious reasons.