1st Credit Debt Collectors – Don’t Pay Them, Read Why Here

1st Credit Debt
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Are you being hassled by 1st Credit Debt Collectors? Do you owe money you are unable to repay? Are you being asked to repay debts you don’t owe? Are you being threatened about being taken to court? If any of these or any related questions apply to you, this article is designed to help you.

1st Credit Debt Collectors

Who are 1st Credit Debt Collectors?

1st Credit is one of the leading UK debt collection agencies. The company has more than 50,000 account holders and also provides debt management services.

They collect debt for companies like Co-op Bank, Vanquis, Halifax and Lloyds.

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Why you are being contacted by 1st Credit Debt Collectors?

Make no mistake – the debt collection business is huge. Debt collectors like 1st Credit Debt Collectors come in several forms; many debt collection agencies are independent businesses; some may also be a business arm of a creditor such as a credit card company (sometimes hiding their real identity – see below); there are even individual sole trader debt collectors.

Independent debt collection agencies and sole trader debt collectors business model relies on purchasing debt at a fraction of its face value, possibly for as little as 20% of the face value, and making a profit by collecting all or a proportion of the debt. There are few morals involved; as far as they are concerned it is you who ran up the debt and you who is responsible for repaying it. They care nothing about you and your personal circumstances. Simply put, they tend not to be nice people. The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2010) acknowledged that such poor practices “appear to be widespread”.

check if you owe the money

Check if you really owe the money

Is the debt money you really owe? The first thing to establish is where the debt has originated and how much you really owe. It is quite likely that the original debt, if there was one, has been inflated by various charges and interest, and could be substantially more than you believe you owe.

You should write to 1st Credit Debt Collectors and demand a copy of your original credit agreement. If they are unable to provide this you have no obligation to make any payment to them.

Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.

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What is the total amount of your debt?

Can pay but won’t pay?

If you really do owe the money, then the road of least resistance is to repay the debt if you are able to do so, but if you can’t afford to repay it, or if doing so would prevent you from servicing more important credit such as your rent or mortgage, then try to make some arrangement with 1st Credit Debt Collectors, perhaps offering them a partial repayment.

How debt collectors can ruin your life

How debt collectors can ruin your life

It isn’t unusual for debt collectors to employ questionable tactics that may or may not fall foul of the law. This might include pressuring and bullying threats, frequent phone calls sometimes made to your workplace and empty threats.

Being pursued by 1st Credit Debt Collectors could have a devastating effect on your life, leading to emotional distress, mental illness, and even suicide. According to the debt support trust, almost half of people who struggle with debt at some point consider suicide, and it was recently reported that a coroner raised concerns over debt-collection agency’s practices following the suicide of a debt-ridden courier. In their report into mental health and the credit industry (Walker et al, 2012) researchers from Brighton University concluded: “Debt clients frequently feel humiliated, disconnected and entrapped, with the process of debt collection having a clear impact on people’s mental health”. They called upon the government to tackle the problem of irresponsible lending and intimidating collection tactics.

1st Credit Debt and the Law

1st Credit Debt Collectors and the law

The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2012) has published a set of guidelines for the debt collection business. To summarise these, 1st Credit Debt Collectors should:

  • Treat debtors fairly and not use aggressive practices, coercion, deceit, or be oppressive, unfair, or improper
  • Be transparent and provide clear information that is not confusing or misleading
  • Be considerate towards debtors experiencing difficulty
  • Act proportionately taking into account debtors’ circumstances.

If you are being intimidated by 1st Credit Debt Collectors who are not abiding by these guidelines, then you have a good case for reporting them to the OFT which has the power to remove their license.

To make a complaint about 1st Credit Debt Collectors, you can use this online complaint form.

Some debt collectors pretend to be an external agency when in fact they are a business arm of the company you owe money. That is a clear case of deceit, though they are likely to claim that this information appears in the small print.

Understand how they operate

Understanding how 1st Credit Debt Collectors operates

Understanding how debt collection agencies operate can help you defend yourself against them.

They are on a bonus

The 1st Credit Debt Collectors agents who phone you are likely highly incentivised and are expected to collect a specified minimum amount of money per hour. Usually, there are daily and monthly bonuses and each collection they make contribute to that bonus. Hence, they will do what they can to collect some money rather than record a “No Payment” call, including making intimidating and threatening behaviour.

The lesson here is if you are able to be strong and stand up to threats from 1st Credit Debt Collectors, knowing that their threats are empty, you can to some extent turn the tables. Keep them talking but just don’t pay. You will still owe the money, but at least you won’t have to pay that day.

Automated call technology

You might be tempted to simply not answer calls from 1st Credit Debt Collectors, but when this happens agencies often employ automated call technology that will attempt to phone you say every half hour until you do eventually answer. Sometimes if you do pick up the call is silent; the calls are simply being made to intimidate you.

If this happens to you make a note the frequency of the calls. Such behaviour on the part of the debt collectors is in clear breach of the OFT guidelines. Tell the agent that you will be reporting them to the Financial Ombudsman.

The best way to contact the Financial Ombudsman is by phone on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123

Bad cop, good cop

Bad cop, good cop is a tactic frequently employed, and often is highly effective. When subject to such an approach you are likely to be subject to relentless calls some of which are abusive and harassing, but with the occasional polite and friendly enquiry. This change in attitude can happen in a single phone call where the agent starts off politely but should you fail to make a payment their behaviour becomes abusive. Nor is it just relentless phone calls. Frequent threatening and sometimes sinister letters are another common practice. The total process is designed to eventually wear you down, to break your will so that eventually you will make a payment.

It is difficult to stand up to such behaviour, which is exactly why they use it. But again, you should try to stay strong if you possibly can. Report it to the OFT using this online complaint form.

Embarrassing you by talking to third parties

If someone apart from you answers the call then agents frequently attempt to embarrass you by discussing your debt and financial problems with whoever answers the call. This could be a family member at your home, or it could be someone at your workplace. This is certainly illegal behaviour and breaches not only OFT guidelines, but also other privacy laws.

Again, such behaviour should be reported to the Financial Ombudsman on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123

1st Credit Deceit and Lies

Deceit and lies

If everything else fails some debt collectors feel they are immune from the law and will apply some very nasty forms of leverage. They might pretend to be calling from the court, that they are a bailiff and will be visiting your home to remove your possessions, possibly even threatening you with criminal prosecution.

Never give them permission to visit you and if they do then never let them into your home and if you feel physically threatened then don’t hesitate to call the police.

Don’t let them wear you down

As we have seen, debt collectors such as 1st Credit Debt Collectors are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to 1st Credit Debt Collectors requires a degree of strength and courage few people possess. But there is help out there. Ultimately you need to get out of debt, but you need to do so in a controlled manner that will minimise your pain and distress. Ultimately all debt problems are solvable.

Getting help with debt

There are various kinds of help with debt available: there are not-for-profit agencies who exist to provide one-to-one help for you, and there are commercial debt management companies whose aim is to make money out of you. The former should be your first port of call. Some of the important agencies include:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provides extensive help with debt and should help you stop debt collectors contacting you if you are able to show you are seeking help and are trying to repay your debts.
  • Christians Against Poverty (CAP) provide free debt help.
  • StepChange provides free online debt advice helping people take charge of their debt.
Writing off your debt

Writing off your debt entirely

It is possible to write off your debt entirely through an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). This is a formal agreement to pay the debt collectors an amount you can afford as a one-off sum or as monthly payments and the rest of the debt will be written off after a defined period, usually five years. This must be carried out by an insolvency practitioner.

You only qualify for the government IVA scheme if your debts are over £1,200 and you have more than one debt. Fill out a 30 second form to see if you qualify using my 5 question virtual assessment.

Finally

Despite warnings from professional bodies, government guidelines, and other measures the behaviour of many debt collecting agencies is atrocious, leading vulnerable debtors into mental illness and even suicide. However, it is possible to fight back, especially with some help from the agencies mentioned in this article. While it’s not as simple as just refusing to pay, you can reduce the amount you must repay and spread your repayments over a period you are comfortable with. Certainly, you can stop their bullying and by reporting them to the Financial Ombudsman they may even lose their licence.

More details about 1st Credit Debt Collectors

Company Name: 1st Credit Limited

Other Names: 1st Credit Debt Collectors

Address:
The Omnibus Building
Lesbourne Road
Reigate
Surrey
RH2 7JP

Contact Number: 01737 237370
24 Hour IVR Payment Hotline: 0203 131 2356

Fax: 01737 887697

Website: www.1stcredit.com/ 

Email: enq@1stcreditltd.com

Numbers they call from:

01737235228
01737237376
08433200000

FAQs

Who owns 1st Credit Limited?

1st Credit Limited changed its name to Intrum UK Limited on 1st March 2018.The company is part of the Intrum Group, the world’s leading debt collection and credit management agency.

Are 1st Credit Limited financially regulated?

1st Credit Limited, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The company’s registration number is 718918.

Do HMRC use 1st Credit Limited?

1st Credit Limited, does not collect debts on behalf of HMRC so they should not be contacting you about any such debts.

Does 1st Credit Limited buy debt?

1st Credit Limited, collects dents on behalf of other organisations, but they mostly specialise in buying debts at a discount in the hope that they are more successful at collecting those debts than the original lender had been.

What happens if you ignore debt collectors?

If you ignore debt collectors at first they may send doorstep collectors. Secondly, they may apply for a County Court Judgement, which if successful would force you to pay and would show on your credit report.

Can 1st Credit Limited take you to court?

1st Credit Limited can take you to court in order to claim the money owed. If you have been taken to court you will have received a County Court Judgement letter.

Can you go to jail for debt collections?

You cannot go to jail for debts owed to debt collection agencies.

What happens if I ignore a CCJ?

If you ignore a CCJ you won’t get sent to prison, however, bailiffs may be sent to your house to collect items equal to the value of the money that owe.

Can 1st Credit Limited issue a warrant?

1st Credit Limited cannot issue an arrest warrant or have you sent to prison. At most they can request a CCJ and if successful send bailiffs to your property to recover items to cover the debt owed.

Are 1st Credit Limited bailiffs?

1st Credit Limited are not bailiffs. They could, however, request a County Court Judgement which means that the courts could send bailiffs. You would have received a lot of warning letters if this was going to happen.

Can 1st Credit Limited come to your house?

1st Credit Limited have been known to send people to your house, however, they have no legal powers so you can ignore them or tell them to go away. If you have received a County Court Judgement then the courts could instruct bailiffs to come to your house.

Can 1st Credit Limited force entry?

1st Credit Limited cannot force entry, they have no legal powers over you. However, if you have received a County Court Judgement then the courts could instruct bailiffs to come to your house.

Will 1st Credit Limited give up?

1st Credit Limited won’t give up chasing you for the debt until they’ve exhausted all of their legal options. This usually means being chased for up to 6 years.

Can a debt be too old to collect?

A debt can be too old to collect from you. Under the Limitation Act 1980 they have a maximum of 6 years to chase a debt. This 6 years is counted from your last payment or the last time that you acknowledged the debt.

How long can you legally be chased for debt?

As per the Limitation action 1980, you can be legally chased for up to 6 years from your last payment or the last time that you acknowledged the debt. If a County Court Judgment is raised against you the Limitation Act no longer applies and you can be chased indefinitely.

Are debts ever written off?

Debts collectors are only likely to write off your debt if they are no longer legally allowed to chase you. This is typically six years since you last made a payment or last acknowledged the debt.

How do I contact 1st Credit Limited?

1st Credit Limited, has a live chat facility on their website or you can contact them via email. You can phone them although they do not have a freephone number. However, if you send them a text message they will call you back. Alternatively, you can contact them by post.

How do I pay 1st Credit Limited?

1st Credit Limited, has an automated phone line and an online portal where you can make card payments. Alternatively, you can pay by online banking, standing order, direct debit, or by posting a cheque or postal order.

References

CONC 7.3 Treatment of customers in default or arrears (including repossessions): lenders, owners and debt collectors

CONC 7.9 Contact with customers

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