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Debt Collectors have scared me...tell me I'm being stupid!

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Bethannie, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Ok....I know I'm an idiot - but I'm an idiot who is panicking!
    First...it's not my debt...let me explain....
    Ever since I moved in to my flat, I have been getting mail for the previous tenant. ...well actually for the three previous tenants, but one in particular.
    I generally cross the the address, write 'not known at this address' and put it back in the post-box. This doesn't seem to have any effect - the letters keep coming, up to half a dozen a week.
    This week I opened one of the letters - in error. I realised it wasn't mine the minute I saw a the words 'overdue' in red. It is from a debt collection agency. I read through the letter which basically says "Dear Mr xxxx we are concerned that our previous correspondence has been returned marked 'unknown at this address'. We have conducted extensive research with credit reference agencies and are assured that you are indeed resident at the above address. If you do not contact us to arrange payment within the next week we will take more direct measures to recover this debt. This procedure will start with a personal visit from one of our agents and will, as a last resort, involve the bailiffs. Please understand that you have no option but to pay this bill."
    This has left me with a number of concerns.
    First - I can't get credit. I wanted a land-line to get a decent internet connection, but the providers I have approached won't touch me. (I have a perfect credit record....in my eyes!....I have never had credit - no car finance, no credit card, no mortgage...which apparently makes me a bad risk!)...I had a check done with Experion, and they included a check on this address, I am the only name they linked with the address. ...So how do the debt company say that a different credit check shows someone else living here? Don't they all have the same data?
    Secondly, I am Aspie - I don't like strangers coming to the door. Especially not angry ones claiming money! Should I be worried that they will send someone round?
    And finally, this is just one company - the mail i have been returning comes from dozens. I'm guessing he has run up debts all over. How many other companies are planning on paying me a visit?
    Am I worrying over nothing? (A favourite pastime of mine!) . Some one tell me I'm an idiot and the debt collection agency were just trying to scare him into paying!
    (I have handed mum the letter I opened and she says she will phone them - and how guilty does that make me feel! She's still not 100% fit, but I don't use the phone!....but that will only deal with one company - if they believe her! - what about all the others?)
     
  2. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    (((bethannie)))
    You do not have anything to worry about but it is understandably scary.

     
  3. Get a copy of your tenancy agreement, forward that to the debt collection agencies to show that you live there, not the previous tenant. Then you should get onto the Consumer Credit Association (Google them) to see about getting any black marks against your property removed. You might also want to get a credit card, just to pay for thing and pay off every month - it'll help your credit rating exponentially.
    No-one will turn up at your door - they don't do that. It's a threat designed to scare you, for which you have my sympathy. These companies are soulless bullies, and deserve every bit of abuse they get.
     
  4. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Thankyou! It's good to know I'm not being unreasonably nervous.!
    Getting a credit card won't be easy - I am on benefits. But I'll look into it.
    Sending a copy of the tenancy agreement sounds a good idea. But if I am going to do this to all the companies, I'll have to start opening all his mail - am I legally allowed to do this?
     
  5. You shouldn't be opening someone else's mail.
    If you are going to get a first card and you will be paying the full amount off every month then you should start looking at something like vanquis or capital one. They are cards that will take on poor credit ratings but charge incredibly high interest (hence needing to pay off every month).
     
  6. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    That's what I thought - and the one I opened was a mistake.
    But if I am tp try the suggestion of sending a copy of the tenancy agreement to let the debt-collector's know that this chap no longer lives here (as at least one group don't believe the 'not known at this address' messages I'm sending) then I'll have to open them!

    I don't really want a card! But I think having one is the only way to get a credit rating! I don't know what I'd use the credit card for. Not having much money means I don't buy a lot of stuff!
     
  7. What about using it to buy your weekly shopping?
     
  8. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    It's a thought...Well for the week I shop at Morrisons at least.
    I alternate one week at Morrisons and one at Lidls...I've never seen anyone use a credit card at our Lidls! Maybe I could set a new trend!
     
  9. inq

    inq

    Quite often there is an address on the back of the envelope that you can use to write to them saying something along the lines of
    Dear Sir,
    You have recently written to Mr XXX at <address>. I have previously returned mail to you as unknown at this address but I am still receiving mail so I have enclosed a copy of my tenancy agreement to show that I the only tenant. I hope this clears any confusion.
    Yours faithfully,

    Beth
     
  10. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Thanks inq, that sounds a good idea - it'll cost me an envelope and a stamp each time, but I'm prepared to do that if it stops the letters.
     
  11. phatsals

    phatsals Occasional commenter

    All you need to do is write on the envelope 'not known at this address' and return it to sender. It really isn't your problem.
    Please don't get any form of credit card as you are on a very low income. Part of the reason you haven't got your line rental etc is that you haven't been at your address for very long. It takes several months to show up on the electoral role and several cycles of bill payment will work in your favour.
    You are not trying to get finance so you have no need to build up proof of credit payment. The advice written above is for those who are trying to rebuild a credit history having already been in difficulties, as you are not in that category please just carry on as you are.
     
  12. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    The best advice I can give you is to write to your MP with copies of as much correspondence as you have, proof of your tenacy and so on. Tell him or her as well about your circumstances. It will be sorted within days. I spent months with my phone and Internet cut off by BT due to an error they made, and no matter how I tried, I couldn't get it sorted. Their systems don't allow it.
    A single letter to my MP and his subsequent one to the BT chairman resolved it in a couple of days with a &pound;50 refund for my inconvenience.
    The problem you are facing, beth, is trying to deal with a system entirely comprised of box-tickers. You can never comunicate with a decision maker, but your MP can, and you'd be surprised how smartly these people get their act into gear when they receive a letter of complaint on House of Commons notepaper.
     
  13. Debt collection agencies have nothing to do with credit ratings or anything else. The only thing you have to worry about is if a court action Iis taken against you (and no-one else and I can't see how that could happen) which for some reason you lose (which you couldn't as it is not your debt) but if you did lose (which you can't) and you then ignore any demands for payment (which won't happen) then the COURT (and the court only - not a debt collection agency which has NO legal powers)would appoint bailiffs to seize goods to the value of the debt. Then and only then might your credit rating be affected. <>
    In short these are just bullying letters designed to intimidate and they have NO basis in law.
     
  14. You may find some help in this forum. It's a bit of a mess to navigate but if you register and start your own thread you will get good advice.
    http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/forumdisplay.php?167-Debt-Collection-Industry
     
  15. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Don't worry Beth. I rented my flat out a few years ago and the tenants ran up lots of debts. I opened a couple of letters with similar threats to yours but nothing ever came of it. Remember, you haven't opened any previous mail so they can't assume you know anything, their threats are empty ones, they are not legally allowed to come to your home if the debt has not been acknowledged. Xx
     
  16. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Methane, I strongly advise against entering into correspondence with them. Do not coward any personal details, especially at personal expense. At the most, I'd go to a CAB and ask them to write a letter on your behalf. That's what they are good at.
     
  17. WIthout wishing to scare you Bethannie, they do turn up at your door - our recently evicted neighbour has had several visits.
     
  18. Addresses aren't 'black listed' for credit, only people.
     
  19. Not necessarily - you would need to do a credit check with Experian, Equifax and CallCredit to see what information each one holds as different companies use different agencies.
     
  20. Having posted all that, you don't have anything to worry about - if they DO come to the house you can tell them that the person in question doesn't live there. Until then just keep returning the letters unopened.
     

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