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Debt Collectors Letter

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,908
Thanks: 588
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Debt Collectors Letter

An elderly neighbour of ours has received a letter from a debt collection agency informing him he owes £280 and if this is not paid within 7 Days they will be paying him a visit.
He assumed this was a scam letter but checking on the internet the firm is legitimate.
He contacted the Police but they did not want to get involved and simply said it was up to the firm to prove he owed this money.
Fortunately he is not short of money and could easily pay this sum but it is not his debt so why should he pay.
Clearly someone has got his name, address and telephone number correct which is either from a credit card transaction or something he has bought over the internet.
I Don't really know what to advise him about this, a younger person would probably bin the letter but he is extremely worried about it, has anyone on the forum been in this position or offer any advice.
17 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

I suggest going to see the local  CAB
Moderator
Moderator
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Re: Debt Collectors Letter

I would have thought a good start would be for your neighbour to contact the debt collector informing them that the debt is not his and that they should investigate the origin of the debt with the company involved.
Probably far better than not replying and having them turn up one day.

Forum Moderator and Customer
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

I would suggest he sends a recorded delivery letter pointing out the debt is nothing to do with him and he will regard any further contact as harassment.  
Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

artmo has got it right.....
If you or your neighbour, feel that you do not have the skill to "construct" such a letter, then I would suggest contacting the CAB, Age UK, or even the local social services dept of the local council.
Ignoring the letter, will only cause further problems, and needless worry for your neighbour.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

By far the best person to construct a letter , if finances allow, is a solicitor.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 24-09-2008

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

Agree with artmo, tell him not to mess around, use a solicitor and get the solicitor to bill the debt collection agency for both the solicitors fee and a "harassment element" of say £1000.
Debt collection agencies not getting there facts right make me mad.
Suggest to your neighbour he registers with www.cifas.org.uk under the heading "Protective Registration?" (costs £20 per year).
It sounds like somebody has registered at his address as their postal address.
Quote
CIFAS Protective Registration is a service that enables individuals to seek protection against possible impersonation attempts when they have good reason to believe that their details might be used by a fraudster.  For example, there may have been a burglary or a violent crime where personal documents have been stolen, and some requests follow a police or Citizens’ Advice Bureau recommendation.  Applicants are required to supply to the CIFAS Protective Registration team details such as employment, telephone number, and the length of time at their address.  This information is held in strictest confidence and is not used for any other purpose.
CIFAS Member organisations dealing with requests for credit or other services from someone who has taken out CIFAS Protective Registration will be alerted to the need for caution.  During their routine checks, they will see a CIFAS warning flag marked ‘Protective Registration’ against the individual’s name and personal details which indicates that he or she has been recorded on the CIFAS database for their protection. CIFAS Members when undertaking a search against your name and personal details will see "CIFAS - DO NOT REJECT - VALIDATION REQUIRED
".
JamesM
Grafter
Posts: 1,103
Registered: 24-06-2009

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

My understanding is that debt collection agencies are the last resort for companies that are owed money. My advice would be to phone the debt collectors and enquire who the company is that has employed them. When you find out the company then phone them and ask what the money is owed for. Then your neighbour will have more understanding to take to the CAB or a solicitor.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

@journeys, not heard of that site before.  Thanks for posting.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

I got one when living at my old flat a few years ago, was from a company called 'Past Due Credit Solutions' asking if I could call them regarding an important matter. Thing was the letter was addressed to 'The Occupier' (didn't have my name anywhere on it) and the letter didn't state what the important matter was. Not that it really made a difference to me as I don't owe money to anyone.
I initially thought it was a scam, but after a google and scan of some forums later, I found it seemed legit, and people had experience of them after debts had been passed on from energy companies. I assume it may have had something to do with a previous tenant not paying a bill (which quite frankly is not my problem).
Given that the letter wanted me to ring one of those 08xx revenue generating numbers, it wasn't addressed to me and they couldn't be bothered to provide any detail, I decided to ignore it. I saw posts on the forums saying they were sending out further letters with more information, so I decided to wait for one of those.
I never heard from them again.
EDIT: Can't seem to spell important correctly Smiley
SpecialD
Grafter
Posts: 130
Registered: 14-03-2012

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

Just ignore it til anther turns up. No-one will come, no-one can take anything.
Do NOT phone them - they can sometimes use bullying tactics and language that may upset some people into paying (See the letter as an example - that made them worry didn't it!)
If another letter is received then have the neighbour send a request of proof under the consumer credit act.  See "Letter 'N' " in the CAG forum here...
http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?20758-Creditors-and-DCAs-Letter-Templates-...
They have 12 working days to respond (they never do) - then 30 days before it's an offence on their part (normally this happens).
Then they don't have a leg to stand on anymore.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 24-09-2008

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

Registering with CIFAS  puts a flag on your credit file with the credit rating agencies (Experian, Equifax etc). To the extent that any activity on the registered address is reported to the person registered for clearance, in our case by email with a security code. Specifically useful if you travel away a lot or are anyway concerned about ID theft, or simply had a “pocket picked”.
Covers things like registering at an address for Voting, opening a bank account, buying anything on credit, the list is endless. As insurance it is £20 well spent.
We've used CIFAS for 10-12 years, during that period we've had 4 maybe 5 folk try to use our address, one was legit, a house sitter we had for 9 months, but she still had to be "validated",.
Friend of mine uses CIFAS to keep track of the debts run up by his offspring (his son went through a spending spree when he first got a credit card).
john50
Grafter
Posts: 162
Registered: 05-07-2010

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

We used the cifas voluntary system when we moved back up north, the post office thought it would be more fun to deliver the post rather than forward it  Angry  even though we had paid for the service.
By pure chance one of the bank accounts they tried to set up using SLIGHT variations of name  and  dob came to our attention as the postie for once forwarded some mail ( they finally admitted they weren't forwarding it after a fight  Undecided  )
amazingly the bank concerned wasn't that bothered and it was hard work to even get them to look into it, anyway I digress we registered with cifas and it flagged as journeys said, and for about 2 months after we were getting a phone call every other day from various catalog companys and banks etc untill the fraudsters realised they had been clocked.
The voluntary registration works very well and is well worth it especially you are moveing
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,908
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

Thanks for all the feedback on this one.
Registering with CIFAX is a good idea but it seems wrong that you pay £20 a year to prevent someone stealing money from you, equally £20 is cheaper than having the hassle of trying to sort the problem out.
CAB & Solicitors are also a good idea but in the case of a solicitor if the debt firm drops the claim you are still left with the solicitors bill.
I will pass all this info on.
Thanks
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Debt Collectors Letter

I don't know what a solicitor charges to send a letter but it may be worth it for peace of mind.