Are you being contacted by Collect Services Debt Collectors about a debt you have failed to repay? Do you owe the money but you won’t be able to pay it back? Are you being asked to repay debts you are not sure you owe, or perhaps you think you have already paid it off? Are Collect Services Debt Collectors threatening to take you to court about this outstanding debt? If any of these are relevant to you, or you have similar concerns, this article will give you some information on what to do next.
Who are Collect Services Debt Collectors?
Collect Services has more than 40 years’ experience in debt management and debt collection. The company also assists with enforcement, tracing, and national verification. The company is registered and regulated in the UK.
Read what to do if you can’t pay back your debt.
Why are Collect Services Debt Collectors contacting you?
Debt collection is big business, as unfortunately, there are many people who are facing financial issues. Debt collectors like Collect Services Debt Collectors come in several forms; there are debt collection agencies who are independent businesses; there are others who are a business arm of the original creditor you owe the money to, such as a credit card company (any they may sometimes hide their identity); there are even those who operate as individual sole trader debt collectors.
The business model of independent debt collection agencies and sole trader debt collectors is based on them buying debt at a fraction of the face value, often for as little as 20% of the face value. They then make a profit when they collect all or a proportion of the debt. There is a real lack of morals involved. They are not concerned about your situation, they just believe you have ran up the debt and this means you are responsible for repaying it. They do not care about your personal circumstances. They may come across like nice people. The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2010) acknowledged that such poor practices “appear to be widespread”.
Do you owe this debt?
The first thing to figure out is whether you owe this debt or not? If in doubt, find out where it has originated and how much you owe. You may not recognise the value of the debt, and this is because it may have inflated due to various charges and interest. You should remember that Collect Services Debt Collectors is the debt collector, and not the original creditor you took out the debt with.
If you are unsure about the debt, you should write to Collect Services Debt Collectors and ask them for a copy ofyour original credit agreement. If they cannot provide this you have no obligation to make any payment to them.
Do you need to pay the debt?
If this is your debt, then you have a responsibility to repay the debt if you are able to do so. If you are not able to repay it though, or if paying it would mean you can’t afford to pay important bills such as your rent or mortgage, it would be advisable to make repayment arrangements with Collect Services Debt Collectors. You could also offer them a partial repayment to clear off the debt.
Are debt collectors ruining your life?
It is common for debt collectors to use questionable tactics to try and get you to pay up, even if they are against the law. These tactics may include pressuring and bullying threats, frequent phone calls which may even be made to your workplace, or they may speak to a family member about your debt.
It is never enjoyable to be hounded by debt collection agencies like Collect Services Debt Collectors, in fact, it could have a devastating effect on your life. It could be causing you emotional distress, mental illness, and you may even have contemplated suicide at some point. According to the debt support trust, as many as hal of the number of people who struggle with debt at some point consider suicide, and it was recently reported that a coroner raised concerns over the practices of debt collectors, in response to the suicide of a debt-ridden courier. The report was based on mental health and the credit industry (Walker et al, 2012) and the end result of the study shows that 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”. The government were then called up to tackle the problem of irresponsible lending and to take action on the intimidation of debtors.
Collect Services Debt Collectors and the legalities
The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2012) has a set of guidelines which have been published for the debt collection business. In summary, these mean that Collect Services Debt Collectors should:
- Always ensure debtors are treated fairly and there should be aggressive practices used, as well as deceit or any other methods of initimidation.
- Ensure transparency with all information and provide information which is clear and does not confuse the debtor.
- Show sympathy towards debtors and their situation.
- Take the debtors situation into account when dealing with the situation.
If you are being contacted by Collect Services Debt Collectors and they are failing to follow these guidelines, you have a case for reporting them to the OFT and they may remove their license.
To make a complaint about Collect Services Debt Collectors, you can use this online complaint form.
Some debt collectors will make it seem like they are an external agency when they are actually a business arm of the company you owe the money to. As this is a clear act of deceit, you have the option to make a complaint against them.
Do you understand how Collect Services Debt Collectors operates
If you have a good understanding of how debt collection agencies operate, you may be in a better position to defend yourself against them. These are some points to remember about debt collection agencies.
They are on a bonus
The Collect Services Debt Collectors agents who are trying to contact you all the time, are probably highly incentivised and have pressure on them to collect a specified minimum amount of money each hour. There may be both daily and monthly bonuses and obviously the more they collect, the more bonus they will get. This is why they will do what they can to collect the money, as the last thing they want is to record a “No Payment” call, and unfortunately, this may include intimidating and threatening behaviour.
The thing to remember here that if you are able to be strong and stand up to these threats from Collect Services Debt Collectors, you will be in a much better position to be able to deal with them. You should not be forced into making payments, especially if you can’t afford them. Don’t pay if it will leave you in a poor financial situation.
They may use automated call technology
There may be a temptation to just simply not bother answering the calls from Collect Services Debt Collectors, but because of this, agencies often put some automated call technology into place, that will attempt to phone you every half hour until you get so frustrated you finally pick up the phone. You may even pick up the call and it is silent; these calls are just designed to intimidate you.
Debt collection agencies are not permitted to make excessive calls and if they do, you should make a note the frequency of the calls. This kind of behaviour is not permitted by debt collectors and they will be in breach of the OFT guidelines. In this case, you have the right to report them to the Financial Ombudsman.
You can reach the Financial Ombudsman by phone on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123
Bad to good
Bad cop, good cop is a frequently used tactic by debt collection agencies, and it can usually be highly effective. When people are subjected to this kind of approach, they are likely to receive relentless calls, with some being of abusive and harassing, but with the occasional polite and friendly enquiry. The switch in attitude may happen in just one single phone call, and it may involve the agent beginning the call politely but changing their behaviour, or even becoming abusive, when they discover you can’t pay up. It may not just involve relentless phone calls. They may also be responsible for threatening and in some cases, sinister behhaviour, which are other common practices. The idea of the process is to try to wear you down, and get you to the point where you make a payment, just to get rid of them!
There is no doubt that it is difficult to stand up to this behaviour, and this is why they do it! The important thing is that you try to stay strong if it is possible. If you feel that the behaviour is unacceptable, you can report it to the OFT using this online complaint form.
Are they allowed to speak to third parties?
If you do not answer the call, but someone else does, the agents may try to embarrass you by by discussing your debt and financial problems with whoever happens to pick up the call. This may be a family member at your home, or it could even be a colleague at your workplace. Talking to third parties about your debt is illegal behaviour and it is a breach of OFT guidelines, as well as other privacy laws.
If they discuss your debt with others, you have the right to report them to the Financial Ombudsman on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123
Threats to visit your home
When all else fails, the debt collectors may decide that they will make you feel even more uncomfortable, by threatening to come to your home. They may even say they are calling from court, when they are sat in an office! They do not have any right to visit your home, or attempt to remove any of your possessions. If they do, you can tell them that this will not be accepted.
You should never give them permission to visit you and if they decide to go down this path, and they do visit you at home, you have the right to contact the police and report them. The police have a responsibility to protect you from this kind of behaviour.
Don’t let them break you down
There is no doubt that debt collectors such as Collect Services Debt Collectors can be extremely persistent in their behaviour and this could even be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. It can be difficult to stand up to Collect Services Debt Collectors, you need a high degree of strength and courage that is not found in many people. Don’t despair though, there is help out there for you. You will need to get out of debt, but this should be done in a controlled manner, as this will reduce your stress. Debt problems can always be solved, no matter how bad they may seem at the time.
Do you need help with your debt?
There are many types of help out there if you need to get in control of your debt problems; there are not-for-profit agencies who can provide you with a free debt service and there are commercial debt management companies who will charge you a fee for helping you with your debt issues. You should always go with the free debt advice, as your first port of call. These are some of the most common organisations offering free debt help:
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can provide you with extensive help with debt and they should be able to help stop debt collectors from contacting you, as long as you can show that you are taking steps to get help and that you are trying to get out of debt.
- Christians Against Poverty (CAP) can provide you with free help with your debt issues.
- StepChange provides free online debt advice helping people take charge of their debt.
Is it possible to write off your debt?
There is the possibility of writing off your debt by signing up to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). With an IVA, you are entering into a formal agreement to pay the debt collectors, and this should be an amount you can afford as a one-off sum or you may want to set up monthly payments to clear off the debt, and the remainder of the debt can be written off after a certain period of time, usually five years. The IVA process must be carried out by an insolvency practitioner.
Find a local licenced IVA insolvency practitioner here.
Another option is a Debt Relief Order (DRO). This will only be available to you, if you have £50 or less each month after you have taken care of your household expenses. You should not own your home and you cannot have 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.
Although there have been warnings from professional bodies, government guidelines, and other measures taken to control the behaviour of debt collecting agencies. Some of the behaviour by certain debt collectors could be described as atrocious, even leading debtors into mental illness and even suicide. You can fight back though, especially with help from some of the agencies mentioned in this article. You will not be able to just refuse to pay, but you can reduce the amount you need to repay and spread your repayments over a period of time that works with your budget. You may be able to stop their bullying and harassment by reporting them to the Financial Ombudsmanm and they may even lose their licence.