According to some figure, over 8 million people in the UK are in debt, with 22% of adults having less than £100 in savings. Clearly, it’s a common problem.
However, some people are impacted worse than others. A vulnerable financial situation can become disastrous when debts remain unpaid.
It can lead to you owing even more money as fines and interest rack up. In such instances, you may end up receiving a letter from a company like Secure Recoveries debt collection. We take a look at what you should do in such a situation.
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.
Secure Recoveries Debt Collection Basics
Let’s start by getting to the bottom of who exactly Secure Recoveries are and whether or not they’re a company you should be worried about:
Who are Secure Recoveries?
Information about the firm is scarce, but there are addresses and phone numbers. However, their previously registered domain name has expired, which isn’t a good sign.
The registered address for Secure Recoveries is Moss House, 15/16 Brooks Mews, London, England, W1K 4DS. However, on Yell, they also have an address of P.O Box 450, Southampton, SO30 9DY. If you’re looking for a Secure Recoveries contact number, try +44 1316035777 or 0131 603 5777.
Don’t worry, here’s what to do
You could get rid of debt collectors by writing off your debt. I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator which will tell you if you’re eligible:
Why are they contacting me?
Usually, a debt collection agency will contact you about outstanding debts. Of course, it’s unlikely that you originally owed money to such a firm. Instead, a company you do owe money to has passed your case over to a specialist to try and recover the funds.
In some cases, debt collection agencies such as Secure Recoveries Limited will purchase the debt from the original creditor. Essentially, they pay a small fee to own the debt and then do all they can to get the money from you. The original creditor recovers some funds, while the debt collection agency makes a profit.
If you do receive a letter from a company like Secure Recoveries, they should include information about the original amount you owe.
Are Secure Recoveries a legitimate business?
Given how little information there is about Secure Recoveries, you might wonder whether they’re a genuine company. Their website is offline, and there are no Secure Recoveries reviews to speak of.
With a little digging, we were able to find that they were registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the number 691754. They are also still registered on Companies House with the number 08777130.
However, the FCA page indicates that they are no longer authorised to collect debts. They were able to collect debts between March 2016 and January 2020, but currently cannot. This lapsed FCA registration means that they shouldn’t have written to you after that date.
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Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best solution for you. Answer the four questions now.
Who do they collect for?
Despite the limited information around about Secure Recoveries, we did manage to find some details about how they used to operate. Primarily, they used to collect for short-term lenders, such as payday lenders. They also collected on ecommerce debt.
So, you may have heard from them about an outstanding loan or store credit. However, it’s more than likely that the account with Secure Recoveries has been passed over to another debt collection agency or back to the original creditor.
What to do if you get a letter from Secure Recoveries debt collection
Although the company currently can’t collect debts, there is a chance that their FCA registration could be reinstated. After all, Secure Recoveries Limited is still an active company. It could just be that they’re sorting out a few issues surrounding regulatory issues.
So, if they do regain their FCA authorisation and you receive a letter from them, what should you do? Below, we’ve outlined some of the approaches you can take with this type of debt collection agency:
Don’t discard it
Many people receive debt collection letters and throw them straight in the bin. It can certainly be tempting – out of sight, out of mind. However, it rarely solves the problem at hand. In fact, it can often make things much worse.
If you do receive a letter from Secure Recoveries, you’ll first want to check that they are FCA authorised once again. If not, then you should immediately report them to the FCA, as they shouldn’t be operating in this manner.
If they are legally entitled to collect debts again, you should check all of the details on the letter. Make sure they have the right name and address and see what debt they’re collecting for. Remember, when it comes to debt, secure legal recoveries are often genuine.
Prepare your details
It’s worth getting your house in order when it comes to dealing with debt collection letters. Whether you’re planning on disputing the claim or arranging a payment plan, it’s worth knowing all the detail about your case.
Search for any records you have relating to the original debt. If it’s a short-term loan debt, check for your original agreement, as well as any relevant bank statements. You’ll also want to look at your own financial situation to see whether you’re able to repay the money if it comes to it.
Get them to prove the debt
Your original creditor must be able to prove that you owe them money and provide a detailed breakdown of the exact circumstances. You can write to them to request this proof, and they cannot enforce the debt without it.
You can search online for ‘prove the debt’ letter templates. These will usually include a reference to the FCA guidelines that state the responsibility of companies to give evidence of the debt. You shouldn’t sign these letters when you send them, as there is the potential for the company to use your signature your acknowledgement of the debt.
Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.
After you have asked for proof, they cannot keep chasing you for the money until they have provided evidence of what you owe.
Should I pay them?
There are a few things to consider when it comes to making payment. The fist is whether the debt is actually yours and whether the creditor can prove that fact. If they can, you may want to consider paying your debt. However, you might want to consider arranging payment with the original company rather than Secure Recoveries.
Again, you’ll also want to look at whether or not they are FCA authorised when they request the money. If not, then you shouldn’t pay them and should instead report them.
Can I stop home visits from Secure Recoveries?
It’s usually quite rare that debt collection agencies will visit your home. As we’ll see, they don’t have the same powers as an enforcement agent (bailiff), so there’s little that they can do. However, in some instances, they may visit your property and ask you to pay the debt. In such instances, they have no more power than the company you first owed the money to.
Debt collection agencies like Secure Recoveries usually won’t visit your home unless you continually ignore their letters and calls. And, if they want to visit your property, they’ll usually give at least seven days’ notice before doing so.
If you want to stop Secure Recoveries from visiting your home, you’ll likely need to contact them. You can either call or write to them telling them that you intend to deal with the original creditor or challenge the debt. This is usually enough to prevent them needing to visit.
If they do show up at your door, you’re perfectly within your rights to ask them to leave. They cannot enter your property without your permission and must leave when asked to do so.
Your rights and their powers
Now that we know a little about what to do if you get a letter from a company such as Secure Recoveries, let’s take a look at some of the things they can and cannot do to collect the debt. It’s worth knowing about the protections and regulations that are in place:
What rights do I have?
The FCA has a strict set of regulations about what collection agencies can and cannot do. The fact that Secure Recoveries are no longer authorised by the FCA could mean they’ve breached these at some point.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important rights you have when dealing with debt collection agencies:
- Privacy. Debt collectors cannot visit you at your workplace, and they cannot speak to your friends, relatives, or anyone else about your debt (unless you give them permission to).
- Peace. They cannot threaten you, intimidate you, or cause a disturbance at your property. Similarly, they cannot harass you by calling you repeatedly at unsociable times.
- Safety. When dealing with a debt collector, they cannot force their way into your house, take your belongings, or clamp your vehicle. Similarly, they cannot pretend that they have powers they don’t have.
All of these are in place to protect you. However, it’s worth noting that although debt collection agencies cannot take many forceful actions, bailiffs (enforcement agents) can. It’s important to know the difference.
What actions can they take?
Initially, the powers of debt collection agencies such as Secure Recoveries are fairly limited. Essentially, the extent of their reach is that they can visit you at home, speak to you discretely, and ask you to make a payment.
However, if you don’t arrange a payment or continue to ignore/refuse debt collectors, things can escalate. Either the creditor or the debt collectors can sue you for the amount you owe. This can have some serious consequences:
- A County Court Judgement (CCJ). Essentially, this is a legal demand for you to pay the money. It also has a significant impact on your credit score and will appear on your file for several years.
- Summon the bailiffs. If the court grants enforcement agents the right to come to your property, they can seize your belongings (including your vehicle) to cover the costs of what you owe.
- Petition for bankruptcy. Although rare, this measure would mean you have to sell off assets you have to cover the cost of the debt. As with a CCJ, it appears on your credit file for several years afterwards.
What if I can’t pay?
If you can’t pay the full amount upfront, you shouldn’t panic. Debt collection agencies are usually eager to secure whatever means of payment they can. So, you may want to arrange making regular payments to gradually pay back your debt. However, you should bear in mind that they’re not legally bound to accept such an arrangement.
If you do want to pay back the money gradually, make sure to look at your finances and take stock of what you can afford. By showing the debt collectors that you’ve planned out your payments, they’re more likely to accept the terms.
Getting debt help
It’s never easy being in debt. However, there are several options and resources you can turn to when it comes to getting help with your finances:
Debt management options
There are several methods you can employ when it comes to managing your debts. These o*ften mean that you pay less each month and make your arrears more manageable:
- IVA. Individual voluntary arrangements require an insolvency practitioner to set up (a lawyer or accountant). Essentially, you pay a fixed amount each month over the period of 5/6 years. These payments are spread between your creditors. Anything outstanding at the end of the period is written off.
- Debt consolidation. This is a type of loan that you take out to pay off all your debts. You then pay a smaller fixed amount each month to repay the loan.
- Debt arrangement scheme. If you live in Scotland, you can use this scheme, which works similar to an IVA.
Support and complaints
You are entitled to make a complaint against any debt collection agency you think has breached FCA regulations. First, you’ll want to complain directly to the company you’re dealing with. They have to deal with the matter internally and give you a resolution. If you’re unhappy with their suggestion, you can take the matter further with the Financial Ombudsman Service.