- Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:42 pm
First things first: Hello and welcome. I know where you are coming from as I myself suffer from anxiety and severe clinical depression.
Now with regards the points you have raised. To begin with you need to try and stop worrying and panicking as there really is no need.
Debt Collection Agengies (DCAs) have absolutely NO additional powers other than the SAME powers as the Original Creditor (OC) has in which to recover debts.
Oh sure, they will try and make you think that they do, but the bare fact is they DO NOT
. Moorcroft or MoorDebt are notorious for this as their letters are very carefully composed with the addition of 'Pre-Court Division'
at the top of their letters. They also print it in red just like I have to make it stand out and to make you think that they are in some way connected to the Courts, when the reality is they are NOT
It is very clever use of font style and colour to scare you. This is the ONLY 'weapon' a DCA has - *The Scare Tactic*. And many other DCAs use similar tactics. If a DCA gets the slighetest indication that they have scared you, then they will play on that. So you do really need to stand your ground and stand up to them. Do not allow yourself to be scared or intimidated by them. If you can do this, you have to all intents and purposes beatem them in their own game, as apart from scaring you, they really do not have any other 'weapon' in which to try and get you to pay up.
Right, so they have written to you out the blue offering you a reduced amount. That alone indicates to me that they are aware that this debt is *Statute Barred
* and are simply trying their luck. They will have bought your debt for a fraction of the outstanding amount and even by offering you a reduced amount offer, they will still be making a profit if you fall for their scare tactics and pay up.
And that brings me nicely onto my next point. DCAs are in that business to MAKE
money, not spend it or give it away. Therefore it will be extremely unlikely that they will send *Doorstep Collectors* to your home as that will cost THEM
money. And in any case, they must first obtain your permission to attend and book a mutually agreed time and date. If you are still concerned about possible Doorstep Visits, then you could WRITE
to the DCA who has contacted you and include the following:-'With reference to any possible Home Visit you may be contemplating, I would advise you that OFT rules and regulations clearly state that you can only visit me at my home if you make an appointment and I can advise you now that I have no wish to make such an appointment either now or at any time in the future. Further, there is an implied license under English Common Law for people to be able to visit me on my property without express permission; the postman and people asking for directions etc. (Armstrong v. Sheppard and Short Ltd  2 Q.B. per Lord Evershed M.R.). Therefore, take note that I revoke license under Common Law for you, or your representatives, to visit me at my property. If you send "doorstep collectors" to my home you will be reported for harassment and be liable for damages for a tort of trespass. You would also be liable for conspiring in a tort of trespass by acting in defiance of my instructions and sending someone to visit me nevertheless. Should it prove necessary, I will obtain an injunction.'
Now, let us suspose you send the above and they still send a Doorstep Agent to your home, (that is extremely unlikely, but lets go along with it for now),
then you are under no legal obligation to let them into your home. You do not even have to speak with them through the letter box, except to advise them to leave or you will dial 999
and call the Police. DCAs will try tto fool you into believing that Doorstep Agents have the same powers as Bailiffs. They DO NOT
. Doorstep Agents have no more power than your local postman, free newspaper delivery boy, Jehova's Witness or a Double Glazing Salesman. They may 'threaten' to send Bailifs as that is often a very successful *scare tactic*, but no Bailiffs will attend, which leads us onto our next point......
......with regards to Bailiffs attendng your home. IF this debt of yours IS *Statute Barred* then that simply ain't gonna happen. Bailiffs can ONLY
be instructed to act by a Court of Law and the Courts DO NOT
become involved with *Statute Barred* debts. And even then that would not happeen unless the OC or the DCA has successfully obtained a CCJ against you and you have defaulted on the agreed repayments.
So what should you do? Well, you basically have three options:
(1) Ignore this letter and ignore all further letters. Once the DCA 'gets the message', which they will eventually, they will give up.
(2) Write to them and send them the *Statute Barred* letter. And then wait and see what their next move is.
(3) Agree to accept their offer, but get that IN WRITING
first and make sure they make it clear that they will not be selling on the remaining balance to other DCAs and that they will remove any reference to this debt from your Credit Files. You should ONLY do this if your concious dictates and you want to clear this up, but remember, you are under NO LEGAL OBLIGATION
now to repay this debt - IF it is statute barred. The debt will NEVER go away as many debtors often believe, it will always be there lurking in the background, but it just becomes legally unenforceable. But this may not prevent the debt from 'doing the rounds' andd being sold on from one DCA to another.
I've had a few debts that have been bought by several DCAs and after I have made it very clear to them that I will not be scared or intimidated by their pathetic threats and 'we may'
scare tactics, they sell it onto to another DCA and the circle starts again, but it does eventually come to a halt. Do not misunderstand me, I am not a 'won't pay'
, in many cases I am a 'cannnot pay'
or for the vast majority of my debts, I simply refuse to deal with DCAs and negogiate repayment plans with my original creditors. But if I ain't got the money, as is my current situation, then they cannot have it. They cannnot have what I ain't got, so they can threaten as much as they like, it won't get them anywhere. It certainly does not get them any money. I've had many dealings with DCAs since I got myself deep into debt, and to date, not one of the countless DCAs who have sent me their 'we may' letters have got one single penny out of me and they never will.
So let me end by quoting a passage from your post:
"we would prefer an amicable settlement, however, should the sttlement amount not be paid by the specifgied date, we will not hesitate to review the options available to us, which may include: Instructing a doorstep agent to make an appointment to visit you at home and discussing your financial situation and repayment of this debt."
Now there is ONE word in that entire paragraph that you need to take note of, and that is the word "MAY
". 'MAY' might come after April in the Calendar, but in the DCA world, 'MAY' seldom, if ever, comes.
Of course they want "an amicable settlement
". They want to make a bit of profit on an unenforceable debt. "we will not hesitate to review the options available to us"
An interesting sentence, but they do not really have any other options as statute barred debts are legally unenforceable and they KNOW
it. The ONLY options they really have are (1) to forget all about it and give it up as a loss, or (2) to sell it onto another DCA.
That paragraph indicated clearly to me, (but remember I am no expert), that this DCA is simply trying it on and chancing their arm. They are preying on what they hope is your vulnerability to cope, and your ignorance of the Law. As soon as they can see that you will not be scared or intimidated by them, they do tend to back off. They might not leave you alone to begin with, but their letters will get less and less 'demanding' and intimidating. Well, that has always been the case with me, so I am speaking from personal experience.
Above all, calm down if you can, stop worrying and chill out. It is only money at the end of the day. And from what you have written in your opening post, it is money you are now no longer legally obliged to repay and money that they are extremely uinlikely to get.
Finally, I feel I ought to make two further, final points:
(1) There is a slim possibility that the DCA who has written to you, is not actually aware that this debt is statute barred. Many DCAs buy up debts, but they do not buy the history of the debt. They simple get the bare facts: who you owed the money to, and how much. So, you might want to consider sending this DCA the statute barred letter.
(2) If you spend some time reading the various threads on this forum, you will see that there are some 'good', or rather should I say 'not so bad' DCAs and it can sometimes be beneficial to deal with a DCA as opposed to the original creditor. For example, the OC will continue to apply interest charges to the outstanding amount, whereas a DCA will tend to 'freeze' all future interest payments. I've not, to the very best of my own recollection, had any dealings with such a DCA myself, but I have read enough topics on this Forum to know that this is the case.
I hope this will be of some help. Gazza
Do Not Let Debt Collectors Get You Down. It Is NOT a Criminal Offence To Owe Money (except Council Tax & Tv License) Just Give Them As Good (or bad) As They Give You. Information & Advise given in my posts is based on personal experience and should not be taken as the norm. Each Case is different.