Are Advantis Debt Collectors sending you letters?
You have probably received letters and calls from Advantis Debt Collectors, they may have even started knocking on your door! I’ve written this guide because I’ve been in a similar situation in the past. I researched for months and spoke to lawyers to create a simple-to-follow guide. I’ll show you how to deal with Advantis whatever your situation and you could even write off your debt.
It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.
Deal with your debt today and feel better tomorrow.
Who are Advantis Debt Collectors?
Advantis debt collection services are part of Advantis Credit Limited. They are a UK based private limited company located in the Stoke on Trent Area. They have been operating since 2004.
Advantis collect for the HMRC – things lie self-assessment debt and tax credit overpayments. Advantis also collects on behalf of the DVLA and big companies like British Gas.
Don’t worry, here’s what to do
You could get rid of debt collectors by writing off your debt. I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator which will tell you if you’re eligible:
Are Advantis Debt Collectors Legit?
Advantis is a debt collection agency acting on behalf of utilities companies including water, gas and electricity suppliers, as well as retail companies and Government agencies such as the DVLA and Department for Work and Pensions. They claim to have two million customers each year. The company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a member of the Credit Services Association. Advantis are a small company with a turnover of less than £10 million per annum and are a profitable company.
Why you are being contacted by Advantis Debt Collection?
Make no mistake – the debt collection business is huge. Debt collectors like Advantis Debt Collection 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.
Find your best debt solution (in 1 minute!)
Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best solution for you. If you’re eligible for the new government scheme, you could write off up to 85% of your debt! Answer the four questions now.
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 Advantis Debt Collection 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.
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 Advantis Debt Collection, perhaps offer them a temporary repayment plan.
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.
It can prove almost impossible to get the debt collectors called off. Victims say they have suffered sleepless nights and been afraid to open their doors in case bailiffs turn up.
Being pursued by Advantis Debt Collection 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.
Advantis Debt Collection and the law
The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2012) has published a set of guidelines for the debt collection business. To summarise these, Advantis Debt Collection 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 Advantis Debt Collection 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.
Complaints about the tactics used by debt collection agencies and bailiffs themselves soared 77 per cent from 864 to 1,529.
To make a complaint about Advantis Debt Collection, 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.
Understanding how Advantis Debt Collection operates
Understanding how debt collection agencies operate can help you defend yourself against them.
They are on a bonus
The Advantis Debt Collection 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 Advantis Debt Collection, 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 Advantis Debt Collection, 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
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 Advantis Debt Collection are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to Advantis Debt Collection 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 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.
I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best solution for you. If you’re eligible for the new government scheme, you could write off up to 85% of your debt! Answer the four questions now.
What the reviews say about Advantis Debt Collectors
It’s hard to find any positive comments online regarding Advantis from the debtors that they deal with which is understandable given the nature of their business. The majority of the negative comments reflect their work for the DVLA and HMRC. There are also poor reviews relating to debtors trying to discuss issues with the customer service representatives and the company not having the relevant information available to discuss the case. There are also numerous complaints relating to them chasing debts that have allegedly already been settled or have never existed. This includes allegations that the company engages in cold calling to solicit payments for non-existing debts though it is impossible to gauge the veracity of such claims. Reviews from ex-employees regarding the working culture at the company do not always paint a positive picture.
Making a payment
If you have to make a payment then the easiest way to do that is online. If you go to the Advantis website there’s a make a paymet section. You will need your Advantis reference number which you can get from one of the many letters that they would have sent to you.
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 about Advantis Debt Collection
Company Name: Advantis Credit Ltd
Other Names: Advantis Debt Collectors, Advantis Debt Collection
Minton Hollins Building
Shelton Old Road
Stoke on Trent
Contact Number: 01782 401100
Numbers they call from:
Advantis Credit Limited is a private limited company. There are currently three directors. On 13th January 2020 J.B.W. Group Limited took significant control of Advantis Credit Limited and replaced the three existing directors with three new directors..
Advantis Credit Limited is financially regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Their registration number is 705478. They are registered in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire under the name Mark Webb.
According to the HMRC website, as of 2020 Advantis Credit Limited is one of the 11 debt collection agencies collecting debts for HMRC. If they contact you about money you owe to HMRC you should deal directly with them rather than dealing with HMRC.
Advantis Credit Limited collects debts on behalf of other organisations but does not buy debts from those organisations.
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.
Advantis 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.
You cannot go to jail for debts owed to debt collection agencies.
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.
Advantis 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.
Advantis 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.
Advantis 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.
Advantis 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.
Advantis 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.
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.
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.
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.
Advantis Credit Limited can be contacted by phone, but they do not have a freephone number so you will be charged at your standard rate unless you have inclusive minutes. There is also a live chat feature on their website, or you can contact them via email or post.
Advantis Credit Limited accept payment by credit or debit card via their website. You can also pay by bank transfer, by the Barclays Pingit service or by direct debit.