Are you fed up being chased by Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors? Do you owe money but you can’t afford to repay it? Perhaps you are being asked to pay back debt that you don’t owe or have already paid? Are Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors threatening to take you to court? If any of these sound familiar, this is the article for you.
Who are Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors?
Andrew James specialises in collections, such as commercial debt recovery and magistrates’ fines enforcement. The company is based in the UK and has more than 10 years’ experience in the industry.
Read what to do if you can’t pay back your debt.
What is the reason for the contact by Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors?
Debt collection is big business – in fact, it’s huge! There are many different kinds of debt collectors, including independent businesses like Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors, and even sole traders. Some companies even have their own debt collectors who are a part of the company. The way they work is generally the same though, they have the same premise, and that is to collect the debt that you owe.
The way the business model works for companies like Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors is that they buy the debt at a low rate, often as little as 20% of the total value of the loan, which means they make a profit when they collect payments. There is often no sympathy involved when they attempt to collect the money. You owe it, and they have every right to collect it – is pretty much the attitude debt collectors have. Don’t be surprised if they fail to show any sympathy for your situation, this is not at all unusual! They should not threaten or harass you, and if they do, help is at hand.
Your best solution (if you qualify) [1 minute]
You can write off 75% of your debt with a new government scheme called Individual Voluntary Arrangement. You only qualify if your debts are over £1,700 and you have more than one debt. Answer 4 questions to see if you qualify.
Do you owe the money?
If you are unsure if this is your debt, it is important to establish where it originated. You may recognise it, but think you paid it off already, in which case, you should ask for confirmation. It may be the case that the cost is much higher than you expected, and this is because there are probably charges and interest added to the original value.
In the first instance, write to Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors and ask them to send you a copy of your original credit agreement. If they do not supply this, or they cannot supply it, you have no obligation to pay them.
Can you refuse to make the payment?
If the debt is yours, you are responsibe
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 Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors, perhaps offering them a partial repayment.
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 Andrew James Bailiffs 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.
Andrew James Bailiffs 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, Andrew James Bailiffs 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 Andrew James Bailiffs 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 Andrew James Bailiffs 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.
Understanding how Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors operates
Understanding how debt collection agencies operate can help you defend yourself against them.
They are on a bonus
The Andrew James Bailiffs 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 Andrew James Bailiffs 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 Andrew James Bailiffs 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
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 Andrew James Bailiffs Debt Collectors are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to Andrew James Bailiffs 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 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.
Find a local licenced IVA insolvency practitioner here.
An alternative is a Debt Relief Order (DRO). This is only available if you are left with £50 or less each month after paying your household expenses and you don’t own your home or other assets worth over £1000.
To apply for a DRO you will need to go through an authorised debt advisor. You can find a list of authorised debt advisors here.
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.