If you have received a letter from the FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery department, it is likely that they are asking you to pay off your debts. You might have opened this letter knowing about the debt, dreading the day this happens, or maybe you opened it in horror and think there has been a big mistake.
The first step is to take a deep breath and the second is to take action!
In this guide, we will explain exactly what you should do after receiving a letter from FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery. The worst thing you can do, even if you know that you don’t owe the debt, would be to bin the letter and hope they go away.
Use our friendly step-by-step guide to kick your supposed FBC Manby Bowdler debt into touch.
Is FBC Manby Bowdler LLP a Legit Company?
FBC Manby Bowdler is a legitimate company and own the following offices:
- FBC Manby Bowdler Wolverhampton
- FBC Manby Bowdler Shrewsbury
- FBC Manby Bowdler Telford
- FBC Manby Bowdler Willenhall
This company is a law firm, but they operate slightly different from most other law firms. They almost work like a lawyer agency where clients can search their database for lawyers with different areas of expertise. They are not the typical law firm on the high street with a handful of lawyers working from a small office.
Nevertheless, they do boast some stellar reviews from happy clients.
One of their services is debt recovery. Other companies will outsource the responsibility of collecting unpaid debts to the FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery team. The manager of their debt recovery department is based in Wolverhampton, so it is likely that you will receive debt letters from the fcb Manby Bowdler Wolverhampton branch.
Their website states that they collect debt for businesses but does not suggest what industries they frequently work in. This means they could take on cases in a range of industries, including but not limited to:
- Estate agents and landlords
- Utility suppliers
- Mobile phone contract providers
- Banks and loans companies
- Credit card issuers
- Governmental departments
I’ve Received an FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Letter, What Now?
If you’ve received a letter from FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery, this letter will probably relay details of an outstanding debt, the company you owe debt to and how much money they want for the debt to be cleared. It may also include a date to pay by or face legal proceedings.
The formal name of these letters is called Letter Before Action (LBA letters), i.e. a letter to retrieve the debt before court proceedings need to begin. It sounds scary but by taking action yourself and replying to the letter, you can delay any legal proceedings and may even not have to pay any of the debt off.
Even if you think there is a mistake – you should reply!
But what do you reply to the letter? You can send a “prove the debt” letter to get proof that you really do owe the debt. These letters are known throughout the industry and are effective at clearing up mistaken identity – and stopping contact from debt recovery agencies or even solicitor groups like FBC Manby Bowdler.
What Is a Prove the Debt Letter?
A prove the debt letter is a way of getting FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery to make sure you owe the debt. If they cannot prove the debt, they are not allowed to contact you again because it can be classed as harassment.
Proof is clear evidence that you owe the debt via a signed agreement or contract. Saying you owe the debt because they have been informed of the debt is not good enough.
There are prove the debt letter templates online. These can be edited to fit your situation by simply adding in your name, reference numbers or any other personal details that are relevant. These templates often refer to legal regulations and will quote them, which makes them really effective.
But there are different prove the debt template letters depending on if you are seeking proof that you owe the debt, or if you believe someone else owes the debt (maybe they used to live at your address!).
You can find both templates on this helpful prove the debt letter blog on Money Nerd!
Do I Have to Use a Prove the Debt Letter Template?
No – you are free to request proof of the debt by creating a bespoke letter yourself. Most people prefer to use the templates because they are easy, quick and effective. If you do decide to write your own prove the debt letter, make sure you include:
- Acknowledgement of their letter
- Any reference numbers associated to the letter
- Request for proof of the debt (i.e. a signed contract)
- Tell them to not contact you again without proof
- Tell them that you will report them for harassment if they make contact without proof
- Do not sign the letter. Print your name only.
Why FBC Manby Bowdler May Have Already Sent Proof
FBC Manby Bowdler are not the same as a debt recovery agency because they come from a legal background. This means FBC Manby Bowdler are already aware that they have to prove the debt and may ask their clients for proof before taking on the case.
For this reason, FBC Manby Bowdler may provide the proof within the first LBA letter. But it is not certain. Sometimes agencies and even law firms may use a scattergun method to reach out to as many people as they can with the same name as the person who owes the debt, or to all the people that have lived at the same address during a specific period of time.
This is done in the hope that the debt recovery team can get a quick result because they get lucky and one person owns up to their debt and pays so they go away. This is the reason why you may have received a FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery letter despite knowing 100% that you do not owe the debt.
Again, don’t ignore it!
However, if FBC Manby Bowdler did supply proof in the first letter, do not send your prove the debt letter as its function is not needed. If they prove the debt in any subsequent letter, you have to take further action to prevent the debt materialising into possible court proceedings.
But before you go any further, you should check to see if you have to pay the debt. It could be statute barred.
What Is Statute Barred Debt?
Not all debts are enforceable by the courts. If a debt in England is over six years old and no current court proceedings are taking place regarding the debt, there is a chance that you might not have to pay.
The debt becomes what is known as statute barred if you have not acknowledged the debt to any company or debt collection group in the last six years, and if you have not made a payment in the last six years.
If you make a payment or acknowledge it, the six-year countdown resets.
Statute barred debt is not debt that is wiped away. It still exists and you could pay it off if you wanted to, but your creditor or any debt collection group – such as FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery – will not be able to take you to court to get the money.
This legal loophole exists because the courts were getting too busy with these sorts of cases and companies chasing really old debts. Therefore, to make the courts more functional and free up time, they stopped some older debts from entering the county courtroom.
You can send a letter to tell FBC Manby Bowdler that the debt they are referring to is statute barred. Template examples are also available online, including this statute barred template from National Debtline.
My FBC Manby Bowdler LLP Debt Is NOT Statute Barred
If FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery has proved the debt and it is not statute barred, they will expect you to approach them with a debt solution. In most cases, FBC Manby Bowdler LLP and their client do not want to take legal action, and neither should you want them to.
It is much better to open dialogue and discuss a payment plan that is acceptable to their client and doesn’t cause you financial hardship. To come up with a figure you are comfortable with, it is best to take the time and consider your monthly income and expenditure.
For further guidance, you can get help from one of the many UK debt charities, such as:
- National Debtline
- Step Change UK
- Christians Against Poverty
You can also get some financial guidance from Citizens Advice.
Alternative Solutions for FBC Manby Bowdler LLP Debt
Working out a payment plan can be the easiest way to resolve ongoing debt. But it doesn’t have to be the only way.
It is often worth investigating alternative debt solutions because other methods may help you pay off less of your debt. There are even some options that will wipe your debt without paying it all off.
These different options can be discussed with the aforementioned debt charities, but you can find detailed guidance using reliable websites. Money Nerd is one of them and gives an account of the main and niche debt solutions that may be of interest to you, including one of the most common for people in multiple debt, an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA).
What Legal Powers Does FBC Manby Bowdler LLP Have?
FBC Manby Bowdler is a legal entity and they provide legal services to their clients. However, that does not mean they have any more powers to recover debt than the businesses they represent. They simply provide a process of trying to recover the debt.
FBC Manby Bowdler are not bailiffs and cannot come inside your property or repossess items or your property. Only a law enforcement officer with a court order can do this, i.e. you must have been taken to court first. FBC Manby Bowdler is the team that may start those court proceedings if you fail to pay or stick to a payment plan.
What Rights Do I Have When Dealing with FBC Manby Bowdler LLP?
Dealing with debt collection letters can cause anxiety and stress. You can mitigate these feelings by knowing your rights and knowing what FBC Manby Bowdler Debt Recovery cannot do. They must not:
- Disclose your debt to third parties such as your colleagues, employer or even family members
- Repeatedly call you or contact you when at work
- Make contact during unsociable hours
- Overlook your communication preferences and never harass you
- Apply pressure to enter a payment plan without giving time to explore your debt solution options
- Pretend to be bailiffs or pretend that they have powers that they do not have (such as suggesting they can repossess your home etc.)
Can I Report FBC Manby Bowdler LLP?
If you believe that any professional working at FBC Manby Bowdler Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury or one of their other offices has acted illegally, you may wish to report them.
You can complain directly, but it is recommended to send complaints and evidence of their actions to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Financial Ombudsman.
Remember the Golden Rule
The key takeaway from our guide on dealing with FBC Manby Bowdler in 2020 is to always act. Never ignore their debt letters because there are things you can do – and ways out of your debt!