It doesn’t matter whether you’re aware of your problems with debt, or if you’re oblivious to an outstanding bill in your name – a letter or phone call from Flint Bishop debt recovery can be concerning.
Here we look at whether Flint Bishop is a legitimate service and what you need to do should they get in touch.
Who are Flint Bishop?
Flint Bishop are a solicitors firm based in Derby in the UK. However, they’ve also branched out beyond standard solicitor services to include debt recovery for business clients.
What this means in practice is that they take on debts from other companies and work to reclaim the money from the customer themselves. Most debt recovery companies would normally purchase the debt from the client and then pursue it.
However, Flint Bishop are specialists instead in almost a debt consultation service. They won’t buy the debts outright but will instead provide a service to chase debts on behalf of the original client.
They also specialise in commercial debt – chasing other businesses for unpaid monies rather than focusing on customers. That doesn’t mean they don’t tackle customer debt completely and so you may still receive a letter from Flint Bishop on behalf of a company you owe money to.
Why are Flint Bishop chasing me?
If Flint Bishop have got it touch with you, either via a letter or a phone call, it means that they’re acting on behalf of a business who believes you owe them money. It might be something you already know that you’re behind on repaying, or it could be an old debt that you’d forgotten about, or didn’t even realise was outstanding.
It also could be a mistake, particularly if it is regarding an older debt. It could be that Flint Bishop has mistaken you for someone else who did owe money, or maybe it’s an old debt that you did settle, but an administration error means it hasn’t been recorded. If you’re confident this is the case then don’t pay, but also make sure you speak to Flint Bishop immediately to clear up the issue or it could result in penalties further down the line.
Is Flint Bishop a legitimate debt collector?
Yes, Flint Bishop is a legitimate law firm and debt recovery service. They are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and have won a considerable number of awards for their work in business-to-business collections.
This simply means you should not ignore any communications from Flint Bishop. Just because you’ve never dealt with them previously doesn’t mean it doesn’t concern you, and you should speak to them ASAP to identify the debt issue and resolve it.
Should you repay Flint Bishop?
The simple answer is yes. If you are already aware of the debt, you’re sure that it belongs to you and you’re able to pay it without putting yourself into financial difficulty then you should reply to Flint Bishop immediately and make a payment. However that point on financial difficulty is key – Flint Bishop should not be demanding you make a payment if it puts you in serious financial trouble.
If you can pay your debt and you know it’s yours, the easiest way to do this is to just call Flint Bishop on the phone number they’ll have provided, or call the business you owe directly. The sooner you pay off the amount you owe, the sooner they will stop getting in touch and you can focus on the job of rebuilding your credit score.
What action can Flint Bishop take?
Flint Bishop act as a solicitor and as such, they are not an authorised debt recovery agency. They will only act on behalf of their clients, and will not be acting for themselves. They are not overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority and were only previously registered with the organisation.
However, they should still follow the rules set out by the FCA with regards to debt communications otherwise they could find themselves challenged legally.
Flint Bishop can contact you to ask you to pay the debt, and if you refuse or ignore them they could take you to court and petition for a County Court Judgement or, in more extreme circumstances, bankruptcy.
They should work with you prior to this – if you can agree a payment plan, this will save any trips to court since a CCJ will likely only result in a payment plan anyway. Yet they may not agree instantly and could try to push you to pay in full.
User Rene37 on the MoneySavingExpert forums explained how they were contact by Flint Bishop but requests to implement a payment plan were ignored:
Hi I really need some advice – in 2010 I got a loan with the credit union partners. I then fell on some bad time, I lost a really close family member and threw myself into work as a way of coping. I continued to make my payments for around 8 or 10 months but after that I hit a brick wall so to say and was signed off work with depression. I know I shouldn’t have but I buried my head in the sand and ignored my debts as I wasn’t working I didn’t have enough coming in to cover my debts, I have written to the company and had no reply and I was too ashamed to go in the store. Today for the first time I have had a letter from flint bishop solicitors saying notice of court proceedings this is the first I have heard in almost two years and I am trying my best to make a payment plan and get myself on track, I have emailed them asking to make a payment plan today as soon as I got the letter but it says that they want full payment in 7 days. I know I should have avoided this but unfortunately I did. Do you think they will set me a payment plan or just take me straight to court? Please help as I am very worried.
This demonstrates how Flint Bishop may wish to take you to court – remember, they are solicitors first and foremost – but as long as you’re aware that a CCJ will likely just result in a payment plan anyway, make sure you push this option if you are challenged in this way.
There are some behaviours that Flint Bishop shouldn’t be doing. These include:
- Calling you too much, or at unreasonable hours of the day
- Pressuring you to take on more debt to pay the money you owe
- Using confusing language or jargon to try to influence you
- Discussing the debt that you owe with your partner, family or employer
If Flint Bishop try to use any of these tactics to recover the debt, or you feel that they are harassing you unnecessarily, you can write a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman who will investigate.
Reviews of the service offered by Flint Bishop are extremely hard to come by – and some sources seem heavily moderated to remove reviews. Generally, the feedback for both the debt recovery services and other solicitor services appears to be negative.
“PUBLIC BE WARNED! Flint bishop have lowered themselves to debt collecting for unscrupulous utility Companies. STAY WELL CLEAR, VERY UNPROFESSIONAL, DEMANDING MONIES THAT ARE NOT OWED TO UTILITY COMPANIES, SOLICITORS ARE REALLY SCRAPING THE BARREL WHEN THEY GET INVOLVED WITH THIS. They Are demanding nearly £2000 from me for a supplier who I have never heard of”
What will happen if I ignore Flint Bishop’s letters and calls?
If you just do nothing, and try to ignore Flint Bishop’s letters and phone calls, they will escalate action by petitioning to take you to court. You’ll be asked to attend a court date where a magistrate will decide whether you do owe the money, and if so they may make a County Court Judgement which demands you make payment. They could also action bailiffs to recover the debt in other ways, by claiming your property.
Ignoring communication is the worst thing you can do. If you’re struggling with your debt, seek help from a friend, relative or Citizen’s Advice who may be able to point you in the direction of support. Flint Bishop will be willing to work with an intermediary as long as you give permission for them to act on your behalf.
What to do if you can’t afford to repay Flint Bishop
At this point you’ll have established whether you owe the debt to Flint Bishop. If you do owe the money but can’t afford to pay, you should get in touch with either Flint Bishop or the client you owe money to and offer to set up a payment plan.
Establish your budget and what you can realistically afford – the creditor may wish to see your budget to understand your situation, but they also won’t want you to make payments that will leave you in further trouble or they risk legal challenges.
If you are struggling with multiple debts, consider seeking help with a debt solution. StepChange (stepchange.org) can help you determine whether a Debt Management Plan or IVA is a solution that would suit your personal circumstances and their service is free.
How to get in touch with Flint Bishop
If you need to get in touch with Flint Bishop directly to either query a debt or to make a complaint to them, here are their details:
Phone: 01332226747 (although this is the general number, and they will include a phone number on any communications that you should use)
Address: Flint Bishop, St Michael’s Court, St Michael’s Lane, Derby DE1 3HQ
Flint Bishop’s opening hours for phone calls are 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
If instead you need to complain about Flint Bishop to the Financial Ombudsman, you can do so here:
Phone: 0300 1239 123
Email: [email protected]
Whether you want to know more information about the debt Flint Bishop claims you owe, or you are in a position to repay it, the best thing to do is to speak to them as soon as possible. Ignoring it could see you having court judgements made against you in your absence which could result in more serious financial implications and legal problems that could affect your home or your job.