You Might Not Have to Pay Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors!
Are you being hassled by Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors? Do you owe money you are unable to repay? Are you being asked to repay debts you don’t owe? Are you being threatened about being taken to court? If any of these questions relate to you, this article is designed to help you. You might not need to pay them back!
Who are Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors?
Not just a debt recovery agency, Judge and Priestley are also a solicitors that deal with a number of other legal matters. However, they have branched out and developed their credit solutions division, taking on a number of clients in order to help them with their debt recovery. They have legal knowledge and expertise which can give them a different view and vantage point when it comes to debt recovery.
Their expertise lie in commercial debt collection, SMEs and local authorities and of course financial organisations and businesses too. Which is a broad variety of debt recovery to work in.
Your best solution (if you qualify) [1 minute]
You can write off 75% of your debt with a new government scheme called Individual Voluntary Arrangement. You only qualify if your debts are over £1,700 and you have more than one debt. Answer 4 questions to see if you qualify.
Are Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors Legit?
As a legal company, it makes sense that Judge and Priestley are going to meet the requirements that are needed for a debt collection agency. They are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and of course are part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority too. Both of which point towards them being a legit company. Of course, just because they are legit, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should always pay your debt straight away if you are chased by them.
See my most popular post on how to get a refund.
What does Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors Do?
Judge and Priestley work with a number of different clients to offer debt collection services. They not only have credit agencies and lenders as a part of their list but also utility companies too. A huge part of their business also seems to come from the borough councils in London. However, really, debt collection by Judge and Priestley can come from a number of places and you may not always instantly know what debt they are collecting.
What does Judge And Priestley Debt Collection Process look like?
The first contact that you are likely to have with Judge and Priestley is a letter, followed, more often than not, by a telephone call to discuss the debt. They will then ask for the debt to be paid, which could be in full, or could be a payment plan. However, this may have to be agreed with the client before this can be entered. They offer payment both online and via the telephone, whichever is best suited to you and your own circumstances.
No good reviews could be found
So far I have received 2 letters from this company, in the first letter a law was quoted that is no longer in use.
In the second letter they claim I have not been making payments to their client, which was totally untrue. . Weekly payments have been made for over 3 years, since 2015!
However there is simply no excuse as they enclosed the statement of accounts which is 7 pages of accounts with weekly payments made!
Also since January 13 2018, it is illegal to charge extra for credit/ debit card payments. In the letter dated 24 January ( 11 days after the law charged) they state they are charging 2.5% fee for payments made this way. That is illegal now!
Why you are being contacted by Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors?
Make no mistake – the debt collection business is huge. Debt collectors like Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors come in several forms; many debt collection agencies are independent businesses; some may also be a business arm of a creditor such as a credit card company (sometimes hiding their real identity – see below); there are even individual sole trader debt collectors.
Independent debt collection agencies and sole trader debt collectors business model relies on purchasing debt at a fraction of its face value, possibly for as little as 20% of the face value, and making a profit by collecting all or a proportion of the debt. There are few morals involved; as far as they are concerned it is you who ran up the debt and you who is responsible for repaying it. They care nothing about you and your personal circumstances. Simply put, they tend not to be nice people. The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2010) acknowledged that such poor practices “appear to be widespread”.
Check if you really owe the money
Is the debt money you really owe? The first thing to establish is where the debt has originated and how much you really owe. It is quite likely that the original debt, if there was one, has been inflated by various charges and interest, and could be substantially more than you believe you owe.
You should write to Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors and demand a copy of your original credit agreement. If they are unable to provide this you have no obligation to make any payment to them.
Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.
Can pay but won’t pay?
If you really do owe the money, then the road of least resistance is to repay the debt if you are able to do so, but if you can’t afford to repay it, or if doing so would prevent you from servicing more important credit such as your rent or mortgage, then try to make some arrangement with Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors, perhaps offering them a partial repayment.
How debt collectors can ruin your life
It isn’t unusual for debt collectors to employ questionable tactics that may or may not fall foul of the law. This might include pressuring and bullying threats, frequent phone calls sometimes made to your workplace and empty threats.
Being pursued by Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors could have a devastating effect on your life, leading to emotional distress, mental illness, and even suicide. According to the debt support trust, almost half of people who struggle with debt at some point consider suicide, and it was recently reported that a coroner raised concerns over debt-collection agency’s practices following the suicide of a debt-ridden courier. In their report into mental health and the credit industry (Walker et al, 2012) researchers from Brighton University concluded: “Debt clients frequently feel humiliated, disconnected and entrapped, with the process of debt collection having a clear impact on people’s mental health”. They called upon the government to tackle the problem of irresponsible lending and intimidating collection tactics.
Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors and the law
The Office for Fair Trading (OFT, 2012) has published a set of guidelines for the debt collection business. To summarise these, Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors should:
- Treat debtors fairly and not use aggressive practices, coercion, deceit, or be oppressive, unfair, or improper
- Be transparent and provide clear information that is not confusing or misleading
- Be considerate towards debtors experiencing difficulty
- Act proportionately taking into account debtors’ circumstances.
If you are being intimidated by Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors who are not abiding by these guidelines, then you have a good case for reporting them to the OFT which has the power to remove their license.
To make a complaint about Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors, you can use this online complaint form.
Some debt collectors pretend to be an external agency when in fact they are a business arm of the company you owe money. That is a clear case of deceit, though they are likely to claim that this information appears in the small print.
Understanding how Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors operates
Understanding how debt collection agencies operate can help you defend yourself against them.
They are on a bonus
The Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors agents who phone you are likely highly incentivised and are expected to collect a specified minimum amount of money per hour. Usually, there are daily and monthly bonuses and each collection they make contribute to that bonus. Hence, they will do what they can to collect some money rather than record a “No Payment” call, including making intimidating and threatening behaviour.
The lesson here is if you are able to be strong and stand up to threats from Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors, knowing that their threats are empty, you can to some extent turn the tables. Keep them talking but just don’t pay. You will still owe the money, but at least you won’t have to pay that day.
Automated call technology
You might be tempted to simply not answer calls from Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors, but when this happens agencies often employ automated call technology that will attempt to phone you say every half hour until you do eventually answer. Sometimes if you do pick up the call is silent; the calls are simply being made to intimidate you.
If this happens to you make a note the frequency of the calls. Such behaviour on the part of the debt collectors is in clear breach of the OFT guidelines. Tell the agent that you will be reporting them to the Financial Ombudsman.
The best way to contact the Financial Ombudsman is by phone on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123
Bad cop, good cop
Bad cop, good cop is a tactic frequently employed, and often is highly effective. When subject to such an approach you are likely to be subject to relentless calls some of which are abusive and harassing, but with the occasional polite and friendly enquiry. This change in attitude can happen in a single phone call where the agent starts off politely but should you fail to make a payment their behaviour becomes abusive. Nor is it just relentless phone calls. Frequent threatening and sometimes sinister letters are another common practice. The total process is designed to eventually wear you down, to break your will so that eventually you will make a payment.
It is difficult to stand up to such behaviour, which is exactly why they use it. But again, you should try to stay strong if you possibly can. Report it to the OFT using this online complaint form.
Embarrassing you by talking to third parties
If someone apart from you answers the call then agents frequently attempt to embarrass you by discussing your debt and financial problems with whoever answers the call. This could be a family member at your home, or it could be someone at your workplace. This is certainly illegal behaviour and breaches not only OFT guidelines, but also other privacy laws.
Again, such behaviour should be reported to the Financial Ombudsman on 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123
Deceit and lies
If everything else fails some debt collectors feel they are immune from the law and will apply some very nasty forms of leverage. They might pretend to be calling from the court, that they are a bailiff and will be visiting your home to remove your possessions, possibly even threatening you with criminal prosecution.
Never give them permission to visit you and if they do then never let them into your home and if you feel physically threatened then don’t hesitate to call the police.
Don’t let them wear you down
As we have seen, debt collectors such as Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors are relentless and their behaviour could be responsible for mental ill-health and even suicide. Standing up to Judge And Priestley Debt Collectors requires a degree of strength and courage few people possess. But there is help out there. Ultimately you need to get out of debt, but you need to do so in a controlled manner that will minimise your pain and distress. Ultimately all debt problems are solvable.
Getting help with debt
There are various kinds of help with debt available: there are not-for-profit agencies who exist to provide one-to-one help for you, and there are commercial debt management companies whose aim is to make money out of you. The former should be your first port of call. Some of the important agencies include:
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provides extensive help with debt and should help you stop debt collectors contacting you if you are able to show you are seeking help and are trying to repay your debts.
- Christians Against Poverty (CAP) provide free debt help.
- StepChange provides free online debt advice helping people take charge of their debt.
Writing off your debt entirely
It is possible to write off your debt entirely through an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). This is a formal agreement to pay the debt collectors an amount you can afford as a one-off sum or as monthly payments and the rest of the debt will be written off after a defined period, usually five years. This must be carried out by an insolvency practitioner.
You only qualify for the government IVA scheme if your debts are over £1,200 and you have more than one debt. Fill out a 30 second form to see if you qualify using my 5 question virtual assessment.
Despite warnings from professional bodies, government guidelines, and other measures the behaviour of many debt collecting agencies is atrocious, leading vulnerable debtors into mental illness and even suicide. However, it is possible to fight back, especially with some help from the agencies mentioned in this article. While it’s not as simple as just refusing to pay, you can reduce the amount you must repay and spread your repayments over a period you are comfortable with. Certainly, you can stop their bullying and by reporting them to the Financial Ombudsman they may even lose their licence.
When it comes to Judge and Priestley, debt collection is another part of their business. Rather than being their sole business. They are legal experts, which can make the debt recovery process for the debtor that little bit harder to go through. With clients that are largely borough councils, it comes as no surprise that many of the people that they are chasing are in debt with their rent or council tax and perhaps come from an area that is already struggling financially. Which can make the job all the harder too.