This website features
content already in the public domain concerning the conduct and practices
of specific offending debt collectors and debt purchasing companies.
This website is intended as a source of reference and help to people
who are already in the clutches of these firms or who fear that they
or their loved ones will be targeted by them. We have a "tell it
like it is" approach and will not be intimidated by debt collectors,
their agents, or the lawyers who work for them, often on a "letterheads
for hire" basis.
This is a registry
of debt purchasing companies and "debt collector" companies
(debt collecting agencies or DCAs) in the United Kingdom who buy the
data of delinquent closed credit accounts from banks and other lenders
for pennies on the pound and then attempt to get the full value of the
original debt from the borrower. The site also features agents and associates
of such companies, including solicitors and miscellaneous legal practitioners.
All have been found to have used unreasonable behaviour and/or questionable
methods in the pursuit of profit and without due regard for the suffering
of their victims.
Many debt collectors
and debt purchasing firms use such questionable means on a daily basis.
Many are regularly featured in the various consumer websites which have
sprung up in recent years and which have helped spread the word about
DCA malpractice, much to the discomfort of the DCAs themselves, and
have attracted the interest of government bodies such as the Office
of Fair Trading and local Trading Standards offices.
The laws regarding
what DCAs are allowed to do are bizarre and, it seems, not subject to
logic. Even though bad debtor accounts have been closed and written
off by the original lender, and the insurance and tax breaks have been
taken to the benefit of the bank, the bad debt somehow comes to life
again in the hands of the Debt Purchaser (who has bought the data relating
to the closed accounts rather than the accounts themselves , as these
have been written off), and who then seems to get away with making your
life a living Hell in the pursuit of profit.
of the insolvency world make a living buying and selling information
about debts of ordinary folk who have fallen on hard times, and then
harassing and bullying them for the full amount, sometimes to the point
of driving people to suicide, in order to turn a profit of 100s of percentage
practice is not illegal.
are now empowered to use the law to your own advantage.
The 1974 Consumer
Credit Act made debts taken out before April 6th 2007 unenforceable
(even by a court) if the original credit agreement did not contain certain
details, known as the "prescribed terms".
It is thought that
a large proportion of credit agreements drafted before this date do
not meet the stipulations as laid down in the Act, and that they are
therefore unenforceable. The very basis of their validity in law is
The great news for
people whose accounts have been bought by these debt purchasing companies
is that you are much more likely to be able to write
off these debts because the chances are very much higher
that the debt purchasing firms who bought them would not have in their
possession the original documentation. This is because they buy the
information about bad debts in job lots, often as simple printouts or
floppy disks which contain incomplete data sets.
This applies to
any of the following types of credit agreement (not just credit cards):
Secured and Unsecured Loans
Car Loans/Finance (up to £25,000 each)
Hire Purchase agreements
There have been
problems in finding reputable companies to do this for you, which is
why we recommend you do this yourself. We do not supply this service
ourselves and we do not know of any service which currently does (or
at least none that we can fully recommend). The problem is the time
it takes - it can take many months. If you have the lender's (or the
DCA's) "Final Response" which shows that they cannot produce
the original credit agreement, or what they do produce is nothing like
a credit agreement (i.e. it does not contain ALL of the prescribed terms)
then that's the battle mainly over (but see below).
Either they produce
a copy of the original credit agreement or they don't. It's quite simple,
which is why anyone can do it. Advice on how to go through the various
stages of this is given on the consumer financial websites; their treatment
of it is comprehensive, so there is no need for it to be duplicated
A case in the Court
of Appeal (Phoenix Recoveries v Kotecha Jan 2010) found that "A
creditor had failed to satisfy a debtor's request under the Consumer
Credit Act 1974 s.78(1) for a copy of a credit card agreement as it
had not, on the evidence, included the original, actual terms and conditions
in respect of interest rates then in force. The creditor was, accordingly,
not entitled to proceed to enforce the debt under s.78(6)."
This judgment is
of the Court of Appeal Civil Division, it is binding on all lower courts
including High Court. That means that it would almost certainly be binding
in all cases heard by District Judges who normally preside over cases
involving debt in a County Court, for example.
In more recent times
there has been case law which shows that what was originally taken to
be a valid credit agreement may also be a reconstituted document from
a number of sources or different documents, and this has muddied the
waters a bit. The cases of judges Carey and Waksman, in particular,
have tended to shift the law slightly in favour of the debt purchasing
companies. But nevertheless, documentation of some sort is still needed.
We recommend that you take legal advice before making any decisions
about going down this route. In particular, make sure that the solicitor
whom you contact has a current knowledge of the law as it stands
at the time you enquire, as the validity of your argument is likely
to rest with the most recent precedent.
Debt collector Roxburghe UK in Administration
Roxburgh UK, the debt collector and part of the HFO/Turnbull Rutherford group, latterly infamous for their parking ticket exploits, have been placed in administration. Some time ago they were judged by the old OFT as "unfit" to hold a consumer credit licence and consequently had this taken away from them. Read about it here. It is to be assumed that, since they have sunk with many thousands of pounds of debts, these debt collectors turned debtors will be seeking a pre-pack administration so that the directors can save their own hides, having spent years taking money from ordinary decent people. The legal profession and insolvency practitioners - not to mention the Financial Conduct Authority - take note! There should be no hiding place for them or anyone like them.
It should be made
clear at this point that establishing that your account is unenforceable
will not make the debt disappear. It will probably remain on your credit
file for 6 years, unless the debt itself is proven to be in error or
a factual mistake. Only then can the debt be eliminated from your credit
file more or less immediately.
It should also be
made clear that this website does not approve of people taking on debts
which they have no intention of paying back! Everyone is responsible
for the loans or other credit agreements that they voluntarily make,
and should ensure that they have budgeted to meet the repayments according
to the terms of such agreements. People should also ensure that they
are able to meet the obligations of rent, mortgage, utility bills and
council tax in addition to the debts which they have also taken on.
The point of this website is not to encourage profligacy, but to curb
the excesses of certain debt collectors and debt purchasing companies
(and their solicitors, if applicable), and to pursue those who would
wish to abuse the provisions of the law to make a quick and easy profit
at the expense of the sanity and dignity of ordinary folk.
The Importance of Establishing
a Good Credit Rating
It is particularly
important at this time to know what your credit rating is, and also
to be in a position to know if this rating changes, and why. Experian
is usually the company which comes to mind when thinking of credit checks.
But we recommend QuickCreditScore, which will not only give you a free
credit check, but also monitors your credit profile constantly, and
alerts you when anything changes or there is unauthorised access. They
also have very robust ID theft monitoring with fraud alerts and very
useful Identity Recovery Assistance. This gives a much more extensive
service than the better known credit rating companies can deliver.
Being aware of your
credit rating, and knowing how to increase your credit score, is just
one aspect of your credit health recovery.
Seeking A Permanent End To Debt Misery
For people who have
arrived here seeking a permanent way out of debt we can recommend independent
advice leading to one of the many forms of debt management plan or debt
settlement programme, including the ever-popular IVA (Individual Voluntary
Agreement). This is the sensible alternative to a debt consolidation
loan which should only be considered if you cut up your credit cards
and other forms of temptation! The following link will take you to the
IVA Is A Different Instrument But CAN Be Used
Please note that
writing off a debt on the grounds that it is unenforceable, as described
above, is not a debt management plan or an IVA, where
the debt is written off over 5 years. To write off credit card debt
is a response to the law which says that lenders offering loans without
proper documentation cannot enforce recovery of the debt resulting from
However, we are
also affiliated to excellent independent IVA and debt management specialists,
if that should be more suitable to your own circumstances. To apply
for an IVA go to the Best
Debt Consolidation IVA site.
There are special
qualifying circumstances for both IVAs and PTDs; people are not automatically
eligible for these and everyone has to go through an application process
to see that they are suitable for each particular plan. More details
are available at these respective websites.
We do not
recommend so-called payday loans because of their extremely
high rates of interest, although they have their uses in the short term
if the circumstances are suitable. Instead we recommend reducing your
existing debt with an IVA or debt management plan, or with a lower interest
rate debt consolidation loan. Only take out another loan if you really
can afford the repayments. That way reducing the overall monthly payments
makes sense. Don't do it just for short term gains; that is a recipe
for disaster. Remember Mr Micawber!
the Scope of This Site to Debt Reform
Debt reform is a
huge subject and it is not possible to go into any great detail about
it here. But just reading the above information about what the law allows
debt collectors to get away with will be enough to convince most people
that the laws on debt need overhauling and reforming, and that these
new laws need to be enforced with vigour. To this aim we encourage debate
which will seek to widen the discourse and abolish the present Dickensian
structures of the punitive debt profiteering sector, which is about
as unjust as the law in the UK can get.
- A Debt Spiv's Dream!
Several people have
written in saying that they'd noticed that there were several direct
debit items on their bank statement for the same debt account, but that
these were being paid on a regular basis to different debt purchasing
It occurred to us
that this would undoubtedly be the result of one DCA selling the same
account on to another and creating enough obfuscation (or indeed fear)
that the victim sets up a standing order or direct debit to pay more
than one debt purchasing company at the same time for the same account!
It then occurred to us that this practice, which we have named "double
spivving" (or multiple spivving, which is also possible) may even
be part of the overall strategy when several debt spivs get together
(as they will do at their illustrious beanos and on other less "official"
events) to work out how they can get more money out of people.
So we recommend
that you keep close tabs on exactly which direct debts and standing
orders are going out for which accounts. Also it is important to keep
those Letters of Assignment which let you know who
has sold the debt to whom (though we know that not all DCAs bother with
sending out such letters because it erodes their profits, or they just
don't bother). Be aware, also, that such debtor accounts may not be
sold on if the account is in dispute for any reason. So if an account
changes hands then the debt purchaser is breaking the law.
Not that it makes
much difference because the law seems increasingly not to care.
This site, in spite
of appearances to the contrary, does not propose the abolishment of
the debt purchasing industry by law. Everyone is entitled to earn a
living, and to health, happiness and a quiet life (although not many
DPCs believe in giving their victims a quiet life). However, what would
kill off the more pernicious aspects of the DPC industry (and would
reduce the number and frequency of "statute barred" scams
which certain DPCs have come to specialise in) would be if the banks
were compelled not to sell on details of dead debts which they had already
written off, or not to sell on details of debts which they fully intended
to write off (and what business does not intend to write off bad debts?).
But no such legislation
exists, and banks are still allowed to sell the details of things which
no longer exist, by way of making an extra bit of cash, on top of the
compensation insurance that they receive when debts go bad and also
the tax breaks when they write off such debts at close of year.
There is no doubting
that such debts are written off by the banks. HMRC writes them off at
the end of the tax year. So no higher authority than the Crown itself
acknowledges that the debts are written off.
But, as usual, the
banks seem to have the legislators where they want them. I've heard
no breath of such a law even being considered.
Also, I can think
of no other case in which something which ceases to exist becomes ready
material for the second hand market. What if a car was sold for scrap,
then the cube of compressed metal was bought by a second hand car dealer
who then approached you and tried to convince you that you could drive
away in it?
Would you consult
Glass's Guide and consider the kind offer? I don't think so!
The other thing
that would kill this nefarious trade would be if sufficient numbers
of people were to realise that the DPCs have little or no powers. If
less than 15% of people paid the money then it would not be worth the
DPCs' time at all - they would simply not be able to turn a profit,
because 15 percent would be about the same as what they paid for the
dead debt plus their operating costs.
That is the real
purpose of this website: to spread the word. If enough people know about
this then that would be one injustice less that this country has to
News: ICO Agrees Selling On Debt is "Unfair"
a letter sent to us dated 27th October 2009, the Information Commissioner's
Office (ICO) has agreed with us that selling on written-off debts is
"an unfair practice under the Data Protection Act 1998"
is a good first step. But we are somewhat surprised to see that the
ICO regards this as unfair without actually being able (apparently)
to do anything about it.
all know who does this unfair selling on of written-off debts, don't
we? It's the banks, and also to some extent the clowns in the Rogue's
Gallery on the left, or their clients.
the first DPC who tries to take on this website will have the ICO to
deal with as well as ourselves.
it on, bullyboys! And get a taste of your own medicine!