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Icon Collections Debt – Do You Have to Pay?

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Scott
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Scott Nelson

Managing Director

MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.

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&
Janine
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.

Learn more about Janine
· Feb 6th, 2024
Could you legally write off some debt? Answer below to get started.

Total amount of debt?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

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Icon Collections International Ltd Debt Collectors

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

If you’ve found a letter from Icon Collections in your post, you might be feeling worried. You might not know why you owe them money or if it’s even real.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Over 170,000 people visit our website each month for helpful advice on debt matters, just like this one. We know what it’s like, and we’re here to guide you.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  •  Who Icon Collections are and why they could be contacting you.
  •  How to check if the debt is really yours.
  •  What to do if you can’t afford to pay.
  •  Your options to set up payment plans.
  •  How you might be able to write off some of your debt.

We understand getting a letter about debt can be scary. After all, nearly half of individuals who deal with debt collection agencies have experienced harassment or aggression1.

Some of our team have been in the same boat. But, with the right help and information, you can handle this. So let’s get started.

Could you legally write off some debt?

There are several debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one for you could write off some of your unaffordable debt, but the wrong one may be expensive and drawn out.

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find. MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

Why is the letter written with such strong language?

Many people are upset when they first receive a debt collection letter.  It is perfectly normal to feel distressed at what might seem like bullying language.

Most letters will begin with a clear statement of who you owe and how much money is due.

The letter will then go on to explain what will happen if you do not pay by a set date. It may include mention of court action and the appointment of bailiffs. This can appear like a threat.  Yet, the letter is aiming to set out clearly the consequences of any non-payment.

You will then be given options of what to do next.  You will be given opportunities to pay the debt or invited to contact the company.

The words of the letter are carefully selected because the company is following a legal process.  The message will have passed through compliance.

It is also vital that the letter be clear, factual, and unambiguous.  In short, if the agency tried to make it sound friendly, with lots of frilly language, there is a chance you would misunderstand.

Consequently, rather than try to bully you, the letter is trying to communicate as clearly as possible the cause for the message being written and the consequence if you do not follow up.

Your Rights With Debt Collectors

While debt collection agencies may try to intimidate you, they are not allowed to harass you.

I’ve created this quick table that will help you understand what debt collectors are allowed to do. If you want to learn more about your rights or require further advice, make sure to check out our detailed guide.

Debt Collectors Can But They Can’t
Contact you by phone or mail. Call you after 9pm or before 8am.
Conduct home visits (on rare occasions) and knock on your door. Forbily enter your home, or stay if you ask them to leave.
Threaten to take you to court by suing you for payment on a debt. Harrass you, including threats of violence, repeated calls and visits, or abusive language.
Negotiate a debt settlement. Tip: make sure to get this new arrangement in writing. Visit your workplace.
Access your bank account, but only after a court judgment has been made. Take anything from your home or threaten to do so.
Sell your debt. Speak to other people about your debt without your permission.
Contact you frequently. Keep doing so if you request that they reduce communications.

What should I do when I receive a debt collection letter?

You do not need to act straight away.  The letter will suggest a sense of urgency.  However, if you read the details carefully, you will be given time from when the letter was written to respond.  You should use this time wisely.

Taking a moment to pause and think clearly will help you when you’re managing debt stress. You can use this brief window to contact someone for some debt advice, too.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Fill out the short debt form

First, you need to check if you do owe the money.  If you are shocked by the arrival of the letter, there may have been an administrative error.  You may wish to investigate before reacting.

Your first port of call should be writing to Icon Collections and requesting proof that the debt is yours. You can do this with my free ‘prove it’ letter template. Icon will then have to send you evidence that you are liable for the debt.

You are under no obligation to pay for a debt that can’t be proven to be yours.

If you knew the debt was outstanding, but you do not have the money, then you should approach independent advisors for guidance on debt management.  There are lots of ways to pay the money back in manageable chunks. 

If you have the money, you should still seek advice before paying the debt to this company.  There may be lots of better ways of managing the debt.  If you want to work with the company, then you should contact their helpline or visit the website for more information. 

Once you have got over the initial shock, you will be pleased to know that the people on the other end of the phone are there to help.  They will be happy to talk you through the debt and the means of payment.

Ignored letters and calls will lead to further action.  There is little point hoping a lack of response will mean they will go away. 

Debt collection agencies have the means to check that you are still associated with the address.  Consequently, they will see a lack of response as a reason for additional action.

Sometimes, your first letter will be necessarily scary. Take a look at this example.

This person is obviously aware of their rights – you can request that debt collection companies only contact you in specific ways. Only via the post, for example.

But no matter your communication preferences, threatening court action in the first letter is unrealistic, especially if the debtor hasn’t received any proof that the debt was theirs!

If you need some guidance when drafting letters like this forum user, you can use any of my free letter templates to help.

How a debt solution could help

Some debt solutions can:

  1. Stop nasty calls from creditors
  2. Freeze interest and charges
  3. Reduce your monthly payments

A few debt solutions can even result in writing off some of your debt.

Here’s an example:


Situation

Monthly income £2,504
Monthly expenses £2,345
Total debt £32,049

Monthly debt repayments

Before £587
After £158

£429 reduction in monthly payments

If you want to learn what debt solutions are available to you, click the button below to get started.

Get Started

What do you mean by “additional action”?

The legal powers of the debt collection agency are no different from the original company with whom you owe money. 

Companies, such as Icon Debt Collection, have bought the debt from the organisation you owed money to and are now pursuing the money instead. This is quite normal, as debt collection agencies buy billions of debt annually at rock bottom prices – at an average of 10p to £1! 2

Consequently, the debt collection agency can only make reasonable requests for payment.  They cannot harass you, call you at all hours of the day or enter your home without your permission.

If the company sends a person to your house, they should introduce themselves as a debt collection field agent.  They are not bailiffs, and nor should they represent themselves as such.  If you ask them to leave, they should respect your request.

Our financial expert, Janine, says: ‘I understand that having a debt collector at your door can be scary, especially when you are already under huge financial stress. It’s crucial that you stay calm and know your rights. They have no power to enter your home or take any of your possessions.’

If the debt collection company wants to enter your home, they must take you to court first.  They will seek a CCJ (County Court Judgement), and then a High Court order, which will allow them to appoint bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers.  They can then recover goods up to the value of the debt or attach an order to your earnings. 

As your credit is likely unsecured, your home is not at risk in the first instance. The debt collection agency would have to take a lot of steps before this was possible. 

Therefore, for a company such as Icon Debt Collection International to apply to the court for the loan to be secured against the loan would be an extreme action.  It is one only taken when all other avenues have been exhausted.

What should I do right now?

Right now, you have just opened a letter from a debt collection agency.  Your mind will be whizzing.  Even if you ignored these letters for a while, you still need time to rebalance and think about some debt management strategies.

Then, you must act.  Outstanding debt needs to be paid – but it doesn’t need to be paid all at once.  Seek advice and guidance on the best route for you.

Thousands have already tackled their debt

Every day our partners, The Debt Advice Service, help people find out whether they can lower their repayments and finally tackle or write off some of their debt.

Natasha

I’d recommend this firm to anyone struggling with debt – my mind has been put to rest, all is getting sorted.

Get started

Reviews shown are for The Debt Advice Service.

Can I get a debt solution?

If you are struggling with your debts, you might benefit from a debt solution.

There are several different types of debt solutions available in the UK, so I recommend speaking to a debt charity as soon as possible. Their advisors will be able to look at your finances in detail and help you work out which debt solution will work best for you.

I have linked a few charities that offer these advisory services for free below.

Debt Management Plan (DMP)

A DMP is an informal debt solution that lets you pay off your debts via a single monthly payment.

Because it is informal, it is not legally binding so you are not tied into a DMP for a minimum number of payments.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

An IVA is a formal agreement between you and your creditors. You agree to pay a monthly sum that is distributed amongst your debts, and your creditors agree not to contact you during your IVA.

IVAs typically last for 5 or 6 years, and any outstanding debt is wiped off when it ends.

Keep in mind that IVAs are not suitable for everyone. You need to owe several thousand pounds to more than one creditor to be eligible. You also need to demonstrate that you have some disposable income every month.

Trust Deed

IVAs are not available in Scotland. Instead, you will need to opt for a Trust Deed.

Trust Deeds work in the same way as an IVA – you pay an agreed sum each month that is shared amongst your creditors, they can’t contact you, and any leftover debt at the end of your Trust Deed term is written off.

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

A DRO is a good option for those facing financial hardship with no assets and little income.

For 12 months, you make no payments, but your creditors freeze your interest and don’t contact you.

If your finances haven’t improved during this year, you may be able to write off your unsecured debts.

Bankruptcy

If you have debts but no realistic possibility of ever paying them off, you may need to declare bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy has an unfair stigma attached to it as it may be your only way of getting a financial fresh start. That said, it is a serious financial situation that should not be taken lightly.

Sequestration

Sequestration is the Scottish version of bankruptcy. If you have little income and no valuable assets, you may be able to apply for a minimal asset process bankruptcy (MAP). A MAP is a quicker, cheaper, and more straightforward version of sequestration, so worth considering.

What do debt counsellors do to help?

First and foremost, the counsellor can talk with the debt collection agency for you if you want.  They can negotiate with the collectors to ensure the interest on your debt is frozen.  This action alone will offer you significant peace of mind.

However, they also work with you to come up with a plan and offer debt counselling services.  The assumption is that you didn’t choose to get into so much debt.  Instead, you were making choices that seemed reasonable for a comfortable life. 

The counsellor will work with you to create a budget and write a debt management plan with you. 

The DMP will be negotiated with your creditors.  In short, the debt collection agency must agree to the plan too.

If this fails, they may point you to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). The IVA is not for everyone, and if you only have one debt collection agency requesting funds, it might not be suitable at all.

The debt counsellor may also suggest bankruptcy.  This sounds scary, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds and is a reasonable way to get back on top of your finances. 

I go through debt solution options in a bit more detail below.

I don’t want to deal with these people – what can I do?

It can be intimidating communicating with a debt collection company.  Although they are barred from using too much technical vocabulary or jargon, they will naturally have a much firmer grasp of the law and the correct procedures. 

You won’t know whether to trust what they are telling you, and you might not feel competent to challenge any potential wrongdoing.

There are organisations that can negotiate with your debt collection agency for you, as well as give you sound debt management advice.  As this third party is an independent voice, you can feel sure that you are being treated fairly.

Two such organisations are the Citizens Advice (Bureau) and StepChange Debt Charity.

Citizens Advice will offer debt and consumer advice services.  There will likely be a specialist within the bureau, who will act as your caseworker. 

They will counsel you on how to manage the debt, create a debt management plan (DMP) with you and negotiate with creditors, such as the debt collection agency. Call them on 03444 111 444.

StepChange Debt Charity offers a comprehensive debt help service.  You will work with one of the experts to create a budget, draw up a DMP, and other personal practical steps you need to take.  They will also talk to the debt collection agency for you, taking some of the fear out of the process. Call them on 0800 138 1111.

A member of the Money Saving Expert forum explained that changing from a commercial debt management company to StepChange Debt Charity reduced the length of the debt management plan by two years. 

The money they paid to a third-party company to manage your debt was now paid off the debt amount.  In real terms, the couple in debt saved nearly £8000 because they approached this debt charity.

Those companies who charge to manage your debt have a variable reputation on TrustPilot.  Some are reported to “cause more problems” than they solve. Others are said to “charge a lot on top of the debt”. 

However, other reviews report that the companies are “compassionate and understanding” and that they “got my mind in the right place.” 

Relinquishing control of your finances to another organisation, whether charity or company, may sound a step too far. 

If all you want is advice, so you are informed when you speak to the debt collection agency, then you can contact the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.  Although the advisor will not act on your behalf, they will be able to answer your questions and offer suggestions for your next steps.

Other Debt Collectors to look for on your Credit Report

There are hundreds of debt collectors in the UK and they each collect for different companies.

It’s surprisingly easy to not notice that you’re in a debt collector’s crosshairs.


I’d suggest you spend time checking your credit report. If a debt collector purchases any of your debt, it will appear on your credit report.

Some of the biggest to look out for include Cabot, PRA Group, and Lowell.

So if you see anything relating to their names, then you’ll need to investigate further.

How do I complain about Icon Collections?

If you think that Icon Collections has been unreasonable or behaved inappropriately, you can make a complaint. You can also make a complaint if you feel that they have broken any of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidelines.

Make your first complaint to Icon Collections so that they have the chance to sort out the issue themselves. If you feel that they have not taken your complaint seriously enough or have not addressed your issue properly, you can escalate matters.

You can make any secondary complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). They will investigate and, if your complaint is upheld, Icon Collections may be fined. You could even be owed compensation.

Icon Collections Contact Details

Address: Excel House, Homesdale Road, Bromley Kent BR2 9LE
Telephone: 0208 315 2400
Website: https://www.iconcollections.com/
Could you legally write off some debt?

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

References

  1. Indebted Debt Collection Survey
  2. Jubilee Debt Campaign

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

CONC 7.9 Contact with customers

The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.
Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Debt Expert
Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.