Central Debt Collection Services – Do You Need to Pay Them?

Are you being chased by Central Debt Collection Services 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.

Complaints to the Financial Ombudsmen have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.

Who are Central Debt Collection Services?

Central Debt Collection Services are based in Manchester and are a division of Barclays Bank Plc. They deal with Barclays Bank’s personal and business loans that are in arrears as well as managing Barclaycard accounts that are in arrears.

They are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority but they have not certificated enforcement agents so their legal powers are limited. Central Debt Collection Services do not collect debts on behalf of any other businesses or organisations and only handle debts that are owed to Barclays Bank Plc. They do not buy debts from other organisations and only collect money that is owed to Barclays Bank Plc.

Address:
1 Churchill Place, London, E14 5HP

Registration Number:
01026167

Phone:
08448 114485

Email:
anita.liuharvey@barclaycard.com

Website Address:
https://www.barclaycard.co.uk

Central Debt Collection Services may also be known as:
Central Debt Collection Services Limited
Central Debt Collection Services Ltd
Central Debt Collection Services Group
Central Debt Collection Services Bailiffs
Central Debt Collection Services Debt Collectors
Central Debt Collection Services Debt Collection
Central Debt Collection Services Agency
Barclays Bank Plc

Why you are being contacted by Central Debt Collection Services Debt Collectors?

Make no mistake – the debt collection business is huge. Debt collectors like Central Debt Collection Services 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 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 Central Debt Collection Services 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.

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 Central Debt Collection Services 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 Central Debt Collection Services 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.

Central Debt Collection Services 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, Central Debt Collection Services 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 Central Debt Collection Services 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.

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 Central Debt Collection Services Debt Collectors operates

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

They are on a bonus

The Central Debt Collection Services 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 Central Debt Collection Services 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 Central Debt Collection Services 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.

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.

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 Central Debt Collection Services Debt Collectors are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to Central Debt Collection Services 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 minimize 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.

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.

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.

FAQs

What happens if you ignore debt collectors?

Central Debt Collection Services buys debt from companies that have been unable to collect from you. They buy the debt for a few pence on the pound and then aim to collect a fraction of the full amount to make a profit.

Can Central Debt Collection Services take you to court?

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 you go to jail for debt collections?

Central Debt Collection Services 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.

What happens if I ignore a CCJ?

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

Can Central Debt Collection Services issue a warrant?

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.

Are Central Debt Collection Services bailiffs?

Central Debt Collection Services 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.

Can Central Debt Collection Services come to your house?

Central Debt Collection Services 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 Central Debt Collection Services force entry?

Central Debt Collection Services 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.

Will Central Debt Collection Services give up?

Central Debt Collection Services 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.

Can a debt be too old to collect?

Central Debt Collection Services 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.

How long can you legally be chased for debt?

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.

Are debts ever written off?

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.

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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