Managing your money can, at times, be difficult. The world is full of surprises, and not all of them pleasant.
When things are tight financially, you have to prioritise the essentials.
However, this can lead to unpaid debts, which can linger, even if you’ve forgotten about them. It’s in these situations that you may find you receive contact from companies like DRS debt collection agency.
If you’ve had contact from them and don’t know what to do, we’ve outlined all of the essential information to help you out.
It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.
Deal with your debt today and feel better tomorrow.
Who are DRS?
If you’ve received a letter, text or call from them, your first question might be ‘who is DRS?’ It’s unlikely that you’ll have ever dealt with them before, and you might be confused as to why they say you owe them money.
DRS, also known as Debt & Revenue Services, are a debt collection company that was formed in 2003. They’re a part of Ardent Credit Services Ltd, and they’re registered in Liverpool. Their full address is:
1st Floor, Moorgate Point, Moorgate Road, Knowsley Industrial Park, Liverpool L33 7XW.
Again, this is unlikely to ring any bells with you. However, the fact they’re a debt collection agency means that they will have been passed your details by another company you owe money to. There are attempting to collect the money either on behalf of that other company or for themselves.
Often, these types of businesses buy ‘bad’ debt. This means that it is money that is hard to recover. They’ll buy it for a small amount from the original creditor, and then make money when they successfully recover it.
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Are Debt & Revenue Services (DRS) legitimate?
Your next question might be about whether or not this is a real company. We’re all used to receiving spam mail and email, so how can you be sure that contact from DRS is real? Well, Debt & Revenue Services is definitely a real company. If you want to look them up, their Company Registration Number is 04691960, and VAT Number is 693414421.
DRS isn’t to be confused with DRS Legal Services Ltd, which is an entirely different company. They do provide legal services in the financial industry but do not contact people about outstanding debts. Similarly, there is an American company known as DRS (Dynamic Recovery Solutions), which collects debts in the US.
So, the chances are, if you’ve received a letter, text message, or call from Debt & Revenue Services (DRS) then it is legitimate. They’re a company that’s authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As such, they’re able to collect debts due under consumer credit and consumer hire agreements, number 695106.
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Why are they contacting you?
Your first thought may be that they’ve contacted you in error. After all, if you’ve never done business with this company before, how can they claim you owe them money? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as straight forward as that.
DRS is a debt collection agency. This means that other companies and organisations employ them to chase their outstanding debts. Either this or DRS now own the debt, having bought it from the original creditor.
These types of companies are usually used when the original creditor has tried to contact you several times without success. So, if you owe a company or organisation money and have been avoiding their calls and letter, they may refer the case to a debt collector like DRS.
Of course, there are a few instances where they’ve been given your details by mistake. It could be that your name is similar to someone who owes them money, or they may have previously lived at your current address.
What debts does DRS collect for?
So, you may be wondering who DRS are contacting you on behalf of. In reality, there could be many different companies. Debt collecting agencies generally tend to take clients from across a broad range of industries. Usually, in their correspondence, they’ll let you know who they’re contacting you on behalf of.
A quick internet search suggests a few companies/industries that DRS collect debts for. This includes companies like Vodafone, Talk Talk and eBay. However, they may also collect for things like unpaid parking fines, council tax bills, and utility bills.
How will they contact you?
There are a few ways that DRS debt collection will try and contact you. Usually, they’ll try to get in touch with you based on the details on your debt file. So, this could be an old address or phone number. The most common way is via a written letter to your address. However, if this doesn’t receive a response, they may try another method.
A lot of people online claim that they get a text message first. Again, this will often be the case if you’ve moved address and they can’t find your new location. Similarly, if they’ve sent you a letter and you ignore it, they’ll try via phone or text message.
These types of companies tend to be very persistent, so if they don’t get in contact with you, they’ll keep trying other methods until they do.
Can a DRS debt collector visit your home?
It’s unusual that a debt collection agency will visit your home as their first action of contacting you. As they’re not a bailiff, their powers are limited, so they’d be unlikely to start proceedings with this. Usually, they’ll try and contact you by any means possible before attempting a home visit.
However, if you don’t respond to their initial attempts at contacting you, they may escalate their efforts. So, they could eventually end up trying to visit you directly at your house. However, to do so, they often have to provide written notice of this intent. So, they will often state that they’ll visit your property at a specified date, usually at least seven days in advance.
Should you ignore them?
Receiving contact about an unpaid debt can be stressful, particularly if you’re already in financial difficulties. Your initial reaction may be to simply bin the letter, delete the text message, or dodge the calls. But is ignoring DRS the right thing to do? Unfortunately not.
By ignoring a debt collection agency, you’re not making them go away. Instead, it will make them up their efforts to try and reach you. So, what starts with a letter could result in multiple letters, texts, and calls. This, in itself, can be stressful. However, things can also escalate if you persistently ignore DRS.
DRS could eventually issue a CCJ (county court judgement) against you. This could be disastrous for your credit file and could mean you have to go to court. Alternatively, they could request the bailiffs go to your property to try and recover goods to cover the value of the debt, including your car.
Ignoring DRS should not be the approach you take. Instead, you should know what rights you have, what legal action they can take, and how you should approach the situation.
What rights do you have?
When you’re dealing with any debt collection agency, you have certain legal rights. As they’re monitored by the FCA, DRS have to adhere to certain rules and regulations. This means that there are some things that they cannot do when dealing with your case. For example, they cannot:
- Harass you. They’re not allowed to call or contact you excessively, and they must call at a reasonable time. If you request that they only contact you in writing, they have to adhere to your wishes.
- Mislead you. They cannot pretend that they have legal powers they don’t. So, their letters can’t look like a court summons, and they can’t trick you into thinking you have to cover recovery costs if it’s not in a contract. Similarly, they can’t threaten you with bailiffs without a court order.
- Speak to others. If the debt is in your name, they can’t threaten to or actually contact others about it. So, your friends, family and employer are off-limits.
- Threaten or abuse you. If they come to your house, they can’t barge their way in or abuse you. Similarly, they can’t add excessive charges or interest to your debt.
What rights do DRS have?
Ultimately, the legal powers that DRS have are no different from the ones the original creditor has. So, they can contact you repeatedly (but not excessively), and they can continue to until the matter is settled.
They’re able to send agents to your door if you don’t pay, but these agents don’t have the same powers as a bailiff. They can’t enter your property, and they cannot take anything from it.
Despite these limitations, they are able to take certain legal actions against you if you avoid paying them. So, they can appeal to the courts to take out a CCJ against you. This will be a legal order requiring you to pay back the money.
They can also ask the court to send the bailiffs round to your property. If this happens, the bailiff will be able to take steps to recover your debt. However, they’re still bound by many laws, similar to those of debt collectors.
Finally, they may also be able to apply for an attachment of earnings order. This will allow DRS to take money directly from your wages. This is usually for when you have outstanding rent or mortgage payments.
What should you do if you receive a DRS debt recovery letter?
Although some of the information we’ve covered so far may seem a little daunting, try not to worry. There are steps you can take if you receive a letter or call from DRS.
The first thing to do is to contact them directly. Don’t ignore their correspondence, as they won’t stop. Instead, you can ask them to provide proof that it’s you who owes the money. They’re legally required to do so.
If you think the debt isn’t yours, you’ll want to recover as much paperwork as you can that proves this. Again, you’ll need to contact them to explain the situation. They will then have to investigate your claims.
If you do owe the money, you’re going to have to pay at least some of it back. By contacting DRS directly, you can start to organise a payment plan that works with your current financial standing. This can often be a low monthly repayment, although they’re not legally obliged to accept your proposal.
What if you can’t pay DRS?
In some cases, your debt might be statute-barred. Essentially, there is a certain timeframe you and the creditor have to acknowledge the existence of the debt in. So, if you’ve not heard from the creditor or made any repayments within the last 5/6 years, it could be statute-barred.
There are other options available if you can’t repay the money and they won’t accept a repayment plan. For example, an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) consolidates all of your debts into one. You then have to make a low monthly payment for 60 months. At the end of that period, anything outstanding is written off. Often, IVAs are more affordable than other forms of repayment.
You can also look into other ways of managing your debt. Consolidation loans and debt arrangement schemes exist and are worth looking into.
Can you report DRS?
If you feel that Debt & Revenue Services have treated you unfairly or breached the FCAs guidelines, you are able to complain. The first step is to contact them and make a formal complaint. They then have to deal with this internally within a certain timeframe.
If you’re not satisfied with their result, you can escalate your concerns to the Financial Ombudsman Service. They are an independent body that will mediate your claim and rule in favour of you or DRS depending on the circumstances.
If you need further help dealing with a debt collection letter from DRS, you can contact Citizens Advice. They can help you find out more information and make a plan for dealing with DRS.