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Harlands Group Debt – Should You Pay? 2022

Harlands Group Debt Collectors

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

Harlands Debt Collectors

Do You Really Need to Pay Harlands Debt Collectors?

If you’ve had correspondence with Harlands Group and are wondering who they are, you’ve come to the right place. Sometimes it can be daunting to pay debts back, and if you’re unable to keep up with direct debits and you’ve had letters threatening to take you to court, you may be feeling in need of a helping hand. 

Read on for more information about how you can deal with Harlands, any court letters, or even if the debts are not yours. You may find you don’t need to pay the debt back!

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 amazing tomorrow.

Beating Debt Collectors

There are several ways to deal with Harlands Group debt collectors and improve your finances.

Choosing the right way to tackle your debt could save you time and money, but the wrong one could cause even more harm.

It’s always best to find out about all your options from a professional before you take action.

Fill out the 5 step form to get started.

Harlands Debt Collectors

What does Harlands Group do?

For over 25 years, Harlands have been membership contract specialists who work mainly with gyms and leisure facilities providing them with full-service revenue collection services. This means they deal with the administration of contracts that relate to gyms, fitness operators and other health or leisure centres.

However, they also deal with debt collection if these payments are not kept up with and met. They even focus on those people who have cancelled their direct debit payments in order to stop any recurring membership payments from being taken from their accounts.

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Is Harlands Group a Legitimate Company?

Yes, Harlands Group is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In any case, it is important that you remember that it isn’t always best to pay off debt immediately, as soon as you receive the communication. That goes for any debt that you are being chased for, whether for a gym contract or something else. Sometimes it pays to bide your time.

Harlands Serv Ltd t/a Harlands – is it the same company?

Yes. Harlands Services are known by many names. You may also see them operating under the names Harlands, Harlands Services Ltd, Harlands Group, or even Harlands Debt Collectors.

What areas do Harlands Services Ltd deal with?

Harlands specialise in debt that relates to any unpaid membership within the health and leisure industry by offering full-service revenue collection services. This means when someone stops paying their gym membership or cancels the direct debit payments that link to the membership, the gym will pass their details on to Harlands. Harlands group will then begin their own debt collection process. This is usually started with a letter and a phone call to the person concerned.

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What does Harlands Debt Collection Process look like?

When Harlands group makes contact with the person who has the debt, then they will ask for the money to be paid either in full or via a direct debit and payment plan that will be discussed and set up. They will offer the person the ability to pay via the telephone and also online. Both of which can be arranged for one-off payments and for direct debit payments too.

Why am I Being Contacted by Harlands Services?

Debt collection is big business, and companies like Harlands are there to make money. All debt collectors work differently, they may be independent, sole traders, or even work as part of the business. In many cases, they collect money on behalf of another company. They buy the debt so they need to get their money back, which is why they incessantly chase up the debt.


If you are being contacted by Harlands, either through telephone, email, post or even on your bank statement, it’s because you owe money for an unpaid gym, leisure or entertainment membership you’ve signed up and not paid for.


Unfortunately, some debt collection agencies will go to great lengths to get hold of you. It may be in the form of emails, telephone calls, letters or even a combination of these tactics. In many cases, they will contact the debtor constantly until they get some kind of response. You will notice that even though the value seems small, they will chase and chase until they reach you. You can guarantee, they won’t just go away – so it is not worth ignoring contact from Harlands.

What do Harlands Services Ltd Collect For?

Harlands collects for a number of different brands, services and organisations both private as well as those operating with the government.

Some examples of these are:-

  • HMRC
  • O2
  • EE
  • Catalogue debts
  • Gas bills
  • Electric Bills
  • Virgin Media
  • Council Tax arrears
  • Parking ticket arrears
  • Npower

Harlands Services also collects for many credit card companies. They also collect debts owed due to court fines. It’s important to note that any money you pay to Harlands is not necessarily collected on behalf of your original creditors. Instead, Harlands Group becomes the sole owner of your debt and the single entity to whom you owe the debt to now.

Here’s how it works:

Suppose you owe credit card debt to a credit card company. Credit card companies do not specialise in chasing debts. This is why they may not feel that chasing after you for the debts you owe is worth their time. Hence, they will “sell” your debt to a debt collection company such as Harlands group for a smaller price than what the debt is worth. In many cases, debt collection companies buy debts for as little as 20% of their original value.

Debt collection companies can do this because it’s often a part of your credit agreement when you first take out the credit. So, once your debt is sold off to the debt collection company, that company becomes the sole owner of your debt and the only entity to whom you owe the debt.

What happens if I don’t pay Harlands?

Harlands are debt collecting field agents and therefore have limited powers. They can visit your home and request payment but they cannot enter your home and they cannot remove your belongings. If you ask them to leave your property, they must abide and if they don’t, you can ring the police.

Any of the following actions by Harlands Services requires prior court approval:

  • Issue a County Court Judgment
  • Send bailiffs to seize goods equal to the amount owed on the debt.
  • Submit a request for an attachment of earnings order, also known as a charging order.

UK Personal Debt 2021 Update:
As of April 2021, the total unsecured debt per Adult in the UK was £3,674.

(Source: The Money Charity)

Is it really your debt?

If you are being contacted by Harlands Group, the first step is to find out what the debt is – don’t pay it until you get clarification. Ask the debt collectors to send you a copy of the original agreement. If all is above board, there should be no issue in getting this clarification. If they don’t send proof, then you should not pay, as there is no evidence that this is your debt.

Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.

You don’t want to pay the debt

If you owe the debt, you are liable to pay it, whether that is with Harlands or the original creditor. You should not ignore the debt, as it won’t just disappear. If you do ignore Harlands, you could end up facing enforcement agents or if you have a mortgage, a charging order.

If you can pay it all back, this is the best way to do it, but make sure you don’t leave yourself in a situation where you can’t cover essential bills. In this case, you can make an agreement with the debt collectors to pay it back in instalments, or a partial repayment to clear the debt.


Are debt collectors ruining your life?

Debt collectors often resort to all kinds of tactics to get their money back, and this may include excessive phone calls and even threatening behaviour. This sort of harassment can lead to debtors feeling upset, distressed and anxious. The Debt Support Trust released information that said almost half of people with debt issues feel suicidal. The problem is that many debt management companies will use many tactics to get hold of their cash, they don’t take the needs and situation of the debtor into consideration.

The law around debt collection

The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2012) published information on debt collection companies and how they should be conducting themselves. They were informed that they should be treating debtors fairly, without any aggressive practices, provide clear and consistent information, and be considerate towards the situation of the debtors.

If you believe that Harlands have not been treating you fairly, and not adhering to the guidelines, you may want to consider reporting them to the OFT. They may end up with their licence being removed.

If you wish to make a complaint, this online complaint form is available to help. Debt collectors have a responsibility to be truthful about who they are and why they are contacting you. If they are pretending to be someone they are not, you can also write a formal complaint.

How to deal with debt collectors

These are some steps you can take to deal with debt collectors in the UK such as Harlands Group.

Get clarity

The first step is to get clarity about the debt and who the original creditor is. You should find out as much information as possible about the debt and this should include proof of the origins.

If the debt is yours, you will need to pay it back and you should not ignore letters or calls about it.

Arrange repayment

The next step is to arrange repayment. If you can pay the debt back in one payment, then you should do this. If you can’t afford to pay it back in one payment, you should arrange instalments with Harlands.

Seek advice

If they are behaving in a manner that is distressing you, you can report them to the Financial Ombudsman.

You can reach the Financial Ombudsman by phone on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123

What to expect

Debt collection companies have a duty to listen to debtors and try to empathise with them. Most people who have debt are not paying it because they can’t afford to.

Although it is reasonable to expect the debt collectors to want the money repaid, they should be able to come and go with debtors and arrange a payment plan which suits their situation. They should not make a debtor feel bad for not being able to afford to pay much back.

Talking to others about your debt

Harlands should only speak to you about your debt, they should not speak to other parties, including those in your household, your employers, or even family and friends. They do not have any right to talk to others about your debt unless you give explicit permission to them to do so.

This behaviour is a breach of OFT guidelines, as well as other privacy laws.You can report them to the Financial Ombudsman for such behaviour on0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123

Typical behaviour

It is quite common for debt collectors to attempt drastic action to get hold of the money owed by debtors, and this includes threatening behaviour and even suggesting they will visit you at your home. They are not permitted to do this.

They cannot enter your home without permission, and you can contact the police if they advise that this is the action they will take.

Getting rid of your debt

Managing debt can be difficult, and many people find themselves struggling because of their debt issues. The best solution to dealing with debt is to either pay it all off or at least enter into a payment plan, and make sure you stick to it.

Dealing with debt collectors can be highly distressing. If you take this burden away, you can get on with living a less stressful life.

Organisations that help with debt

If you are struggling to pay back debt, there are organisations that can help.

Some organisations run on a not-for-profit basis, so they can provide you with help and advice for free. There are also commercial debt management companies who can help, but with a price tag.

These are the organisations that should be first on your list to contact in times of hardship:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) – you can expect a lot of help and advice for free with CAB. They are there to help individuals who are struggling with debt problems.
  • Christians Against Poverty (CAP) – offer free advice and support.

StepChange – free online debt advice to help you get out of debt and manage any debt issues.

Do you want to write off your debt?

If you have no means of paying back your debt, you may want to enter into an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement.) With this, you would enter into a formal agreement with debt collectors, and pay off your debt in a lump sum or with monthly payments. If you do this, you may not be able to access credit for around 5 years. If you intend to take out a mortgage or such in the near future, this arrangement may not be suitable.

I’ve put together a 5 question form so you can get started in finding out whether an IVA might work for you.

Answer the five questions now.

The Conclusion

We have heard about the changes to legislation, the stark warnings by the government about debt collectors, and even the hefty fines. However, despite this, there are still debt collection agencies who are still treating debtors unfairly, even to the point where they are suffering from mental health issues.

You cannot refuse to pay your debt. If you owe it, you are responsible for paying it. However, no matter how much debt you have, there are ways to deal with it.

You can arrange to make repayments via a suitable payment plan. If you are being harassed or bullied by debt collectors, you should report the behaviour to the Financial Ombudsman, who could lose their licence.

It seems that many people review Harlands Group well. Despite the fact that they collect money that has been missed off for a gym membership on behalf of many UK gyms.

This could be linked to the fact that many of the debt accounts that are chased by Harlands are for small amounts, often only one or two months’ worth of membership. They also will work out payment plans and offer a number of payment options.

However, it is also worth noting that many people state that there are charges which are applied by Harlands when they do collect any money, which can bump up the amount that needs to be paid back, and often do not seem proportionate with the amount that is owed.

FAQs

What happens if I don’t pay harlands?
Harlands are debt collectors and therefore have limited powers. They can visit your home and request payment but they cannot enter your home and they cannot remove your belongings.
What is Harlands on my direct debit?
Harlands is a debt collector and they may be on your direct debit acting on behalf of gyms with missing membership payments and entertainment providers in order to retrieve payment. If for any reason your membership wasn’t cancelled properly and you failed to pay, the missed payments on your account will have been passed onto Harlands to collect.
What is harlands on my bank statement?
Harlands handle missed payments for many gyms and leisure centres and therefore when you are billed for your membership payments, it will often show on your bank statement as through Harlands.
How do I contact Harlands?
You can get in touch with their services team on 01444 449166 anytime during their opening hours of 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, and you can also manage your direct debit payments online.

References

CONC 7.3 Treatment of customers in default or arrears (including repossessions): lenders, owners and debt collectors

CONC 7.9 Contact with customers


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