Have you been contacted by DG Collection Debt Collectors about your outstanding debt? Do you have debt that you are unable to repay? Are the debt collectors asking you to make payments you can’t afford? Are the debt collectors saying they plan to take you to court? If these sound familiar, or you are facing similar issues, this article will help you get a better understanding of what to do next.
Who are DG Collection?
DG Collection is one of the leading independent enforcement agencies in the UK and they specialise in bailiff recovery services. They also offer collection of counsel tax as well as non-domestic rate arrears.
Why you are being contacted by DG Collection Debt Collectors?
There are so many people in debt that the debt collection business has become extremely big. Debt collectors like DG Collection Debt Collectors come in many forms, including independent businesses and some act as a business arm of the original creditor you have the debt with, such as a bank, credit card company etc. You may even find that there are some individual sole trader debt collectors.
The business model of independent debt collection agencies and sole trader debt collectors is similar. They basically purchase the debt for a small fraction of the face value, sometimes for only 20% of the face value, and they make a profit by collecting some or all of the debt. They often don’t have many morals, or empathy towards the debtors. They just want the money, and they want it now; regardless of your circumstances. In short, they don’t really care. The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2010) has said that poor practices among debt collectors “appear to be widespread”.
Is this your debt?
Do you really owe this debt or have they contacted the wrong person? The first thing you need to establish is where the debt came from in the first place, and the total cost of what you owe. If you don’t recognise the value of the debt, you should know that there is probably extra costs and interest added. So, it may seem higher than you remember.
The first thing to do is to write to DG Collection Debt Collectors and ask them to send a copy of your original credit agreement. If they do not provide this, you do not have any obligation to pay the debt.
What if you don’t want to pay?
If this is your debt, you should definitely take steps to pay it. You may not want to pay it, but you have a responsibility to do so. If you paying the debt will lead you to face further debt issues, then you should only pay what you can. It is important to take care of essential bills, such as your mortgage and energy bills. If you are unable to pay, a debt repayment plan might be the most appropriate option. Speak to DG Collection Debt Collectors and discuss the option that may suit you best.
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 DG Collection 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.
DG Collection 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, DG Collection 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 DG Collection 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 DG Collection 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 DG Collection Debt Collectors operates
Understanding how debt collection agencies operate can help you defend yourself against them.
They are on a bonus
The DG Collection 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 DG Collection 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 DG Collection 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 DG Collection Debt Collectors are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to DG Collection 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.