CRS aka Credit Resource Solutions is one of the worst debt collection agencies in the UK. If you’ve been sent a letter or had a phone call from them, I feel sorry for you. In this guide, I’ll tell you exactly how to deal with CRS and the debt they say you owe. You may be able to significantly reduce the debt or even write it off!
Who are CRS Debt Collectors?
One of the first things that you may notice about CRS (also known as Credit Resource Solutions) is that they like to think of themselves as a new breed of debt collection agency, one that works not only with their clients, but also with the debtors that they are chasing too. Based in the UK, they work with a number of different clients to collect a variety of debt, all from debtors who they believe have fallen behind with their payments. You go to their website here: https://creditresourcesolutions.co.uk/
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.
Why you are being contacted by CRS Debt Collectors?
Make no mistake – the debt collection business is huge. Debt collectors like CRS 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 CRS 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.
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 CRS 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 CRS 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.
CRS 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, CRS 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 CRS 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 CRS 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 CRS Debt Collectors operates
Understanding how debt collection agencies operate can help you defend yourself against them.
They are on a bonus
The CRS 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 CRS 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 CRS 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 CRS Debt Collectors are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to CRS 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.
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.
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 CRS
Are CRS Debt Collectors Legit?
Based in Halifax, CRS have been around for some time, gaining a wealth of knowledge in the area of debt collection. They have worked with a number of clients and debtors, which means that they are likely to understand a range of circumstances. They also authorised and regulated by the FCA which means that they have to adhere to the guidelines that are set out by them and ensure that they are always acting within their own rules.
What does CRS Debt Collectors Do?
Much like many other debt collection agencies, CRS will contact their debtors that they need to chase via the phone, via letters sent to their home and also emails if this is applicable. Their website is designed to allow you to make payments as you need to. This could be part of a payment plan or as a one-off payment, perhaps for a smaller debt that will take less time to pay off.
What does CRS Debt Collection Process look like?
We have already covered that the CRS homepage has a payment portal within which you can make payments. However, this isn’t only option that is open to you. You can also call and speak to them via their 24 hour payment phone line, which means that you can make payments as and when it suits you. CRS also want to offer advice and guidance to their debtors, which is why they have an online chat function, as well as advice line, which you can call if you feel that you need some additional support.
Reviews for Credit Resource Solutions are not good at all, with an average score of 2.1 on Trustpilot and an average score of 1.3 on Google
Another review says:
Really unhelpful and rude and arrogant lady on the phone, wouldn’t listen to any of the facts about circumstances, charging me extra money on top for me moving property, trying to collect money from 6 years ago when I haven’t even heard from them and then trying to make me feel bullied with inappropriate comments about my lifestyle as I’m at home with a child and have another on the way. And basically trying to make me claim benefits for my child to pay of the debt which I already explained I’m not entitled to. Disgusting human being.
As far as CRS go, they are a relatively standard debt collection agency, one that has everything that you would normally expect. Of course, they feel that they offer a modern approach, and unless you yourself are a debtor, you will never know if they actually meet up to these expectations. However, looking at the reviews online for CRS, it seems that perhaps they are not as modern in their dealings as they would hope to be.
CRS is a trading name of Credit Resource Solutions Limited, a private limited company owned by Andrew Calvert, Julie Calvert and Benjamin Calvert.
Credit Resouce Solutions is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, The registration number is 626796 and they are registered under the name Caroline Burston in Halifax, West Yorkshire.
CRS should not be contacting you about money owed to HMRC because as of 2020, CRS is not one of the debt collection agencies listed on the HMRC website as one of the 11 debt collection agencies that HMRC uses..
CRS does not buy debts from other organisations. Their business is based on providing a debt collection agency service to clients to help those clients recover the money that they are owed.
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.
CRS 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.
CRS 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.
CRS 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.
CRS 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.
CRS 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.
CRS 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.
CRS has a live chat feature on its website. You can also contacted them phone, email or post.
CRS accepts online card payments. These are secured by Sage Pay.