Debt collection question.

Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by hurrahfortheRE, Mar 16, 2007.

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  1. A question for those in the know or anyone with experience in this.

    I have received a letter today saying I owe 82 quid and if I don't pay it they're sending round the collection agency.

    However this has come from the department of works and pensions, whom I have never had any dealings with whatsoever.

    So I phoned up to ask what their game was and they told me I owed it from 1996 surely, they can't have a leg to stand on can they?
     
  2. Statute of limitations doesn't always apply when you owe money to the State - in other words they can go back more than 6 years.

    With such a small debt it's hard to advise what to do. On the one hand will they bother chasing it ten years on? On the other hand you don't want to end up incurring costs, which could end up being more than the original debt.

    All this of course assumes you actually owe them the £82.
     
  3. If you've never dealt with them then the only situation I can think of is if you were the executor of an estate, for example a parent, and the dept of W&P have decided that they were overpaid their pension then they can get it back from you.

    Or it could be that they just have the wrong person - not unknown for a government dept..
     
  4. Dont they have to get a County Court judgement against you first ??
     
  5. Usually RABC but if it is small enough then I believe they just sell it on to a dept collections gangster and they do the "collecting".
     
  6. Just get an immigrant to answer the door to the 'gangster debt collector', they'll soon realise the error of their ways and never return.
     
  7. Write to them and ask for full details of the alleged debt. If they don't reply, make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act. They are obliged to reply within 40 days.

    If you're satisfied that you owe the money then pay up. If not then invite them to take you to court. If you live in England, I believe you will have an opportunity to argue your case before a judgement is made.

    They can send anybody they want to your house. You can, and should tell them where to go unless they have a court order authorising collection of the debt. Don't be intimidated by threats.

    Debt collection agencies are increasingly being used by the government simply to deal with incorrect record keeping. I've had my name passed to debt collectors by the same local council eight times in the past few years. On all eight occasions they eventually admitted that the alleged debt was never owed in the first place. They said it was all down to computer errors.
     
  8. I'm quite confident that the debt is not mine and 11 years is a long time to chase 82 quid. I also live behind the wire and am due posting soon so I am tempted to write them a letter with the words "stick it up your hoop" on it.

    Its from the state so surley they have all my details and could have found me before 11 years if it was me I've been in over 9 of them.
     
  9. if they do send round the balifs, dont let them crose your thesh hold as they will then have a legal write to enter your property at any time! been there!
     
  10. if they do send round the balifs, dont let them crose your thesh hold as they will then have a legal write to enter your property at any time! been there!
     
  11. Does the NAAFI stil phone CSMs and OsC to demand that they chase recalcitrant, indebted soldiers?

    Used to really pish me off - tw*ts were quite happy to fail in their risk analysis when lending dosh at extortionate rates to blokes. Then they got c0ckstands with the sytem when said CSMs and OsC fecked them off at the high port if asked to do the bailiffs jobs. :frustrated:
     
  12. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    The Office of Fair Trading Guidance on Debt Collection states that is unfair to disclose or threaten to disclose debt details to third parties. It is also unfair to act in a way likely to cause public embarrassment to a debtor, such as by sending letters in unsealed envelopes or ringing and leaving a message asking to be called back about a debt. NAAFI, and any one else offering credit, must hold a Consumer Credit Licence (as must debt collectors), and anyone holding a CCL is subject to the OFT rules.

    It is also contrary to S40 of the Administration of Justice Act to harass anyone about debt.

    Then there's the Data Protection Act.

    MOD's policy is quite clear; debt is a private matter, and if a unit is contacted there are standard replies that are sent out. However, I am aware of cases where 'old school' RAOs, Chf Clks and others take it upon themselves to act for debt collectors.

    As for the original question, the advice to do a Subject Access Request is good. However, before doing this, write to the DWP (send recorded delivery), asking them for complete details of what they are claiming. See DWP's website for details of their 'Debt Charter', and how to make a formal complaint - since they say their letters will be 'accurate and helpful' I'd say that you already have grounds to complain.

    DWP use the following collection agencies:

    The Lewis Group Ltd
    Commercial Collection Services Ltd
    Legal & Trade Collections Ltd
    Eversheds LLP

    They are all fairly standard in the collections world i.e. they break the rules regularly, but are easily dealt with once they realise you are aware of your rights.
     
  13. Ahh! NAAFI's 'Pay us the money you owe or we'll write to your CO and ruin your military career' system!
     
  14. They do still try it on, although it isn't as bad as it used to be.

    Litotes
     
  15. I suggest you get in writing exactly what you owe the money for. Quite likely they will reply in doodar language so keep corresponding till you get it in plain English.

    I strongly advise you not to hand over any money yet until you are sure you owe it. Cos once you do its gone, no ones going to help you claim it back.

    And for the record, 82 pound is 82 pound. If you work full time then you havent got money to throw away - if you didnt need it you wouldnt be working.