Lowell Group Debt Collectors are back at it again, sending letters and calling at full force. You’re likely being told that you owe money or you may even being threatened to be taken to court. I was in a similar situation and after years of research I put together this simple guide. The cherry on top is that you might not even need to pay them back!
Complaints to the Financial Ombudsmen have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.
Who are Lowell Group Debt Collection?
Lowell Group are a debt management company. The company buys the debts of people who are in arrears from other lenders and organisations and then tries to collect the money that is owed.
These debts are bought for less than the outstanding amount. Lowell Group hopes that its debt collection skills mean that the company can recover the full outstanding amount so they can make a profit.
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Are Lowell Group Debt Collection legit?
Lowell Group are a registered company and most importantly are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA have very strict rules, so it’s safe to say that they are legit. They have a legal right, having bought your debt, to collect the money from you.
Why are they contacting me?
Lowell Group will be contacting you because they think that you owe money that you have failed to repay.
They buy debts like yours from other organisations, so the money you owe will normally be money that was originally owed to a different organisation.
Who do they collect for?
Lowell collects debt for companies like:
- Vanquis Credit Cards
- Capital One
- And others!
How debt collectors can make your life hard
Debt collectors can make your life hard in a number of ways and how they do that will depend on how much you owe and how far behind you are with your repayments.
First, they will contact you on a regular basis and this can be stressful. They may also visit you in person. Second, they can register your failure to make repayments with credit reference agencies, damaging your credit rating. And third, they can take you to court to obtain a CCJ against you.
It can prove almost impossible to get the debt collectors called off. Victims say they have suffered sleepless nights and been afraid to open their doors in case bailiffs turn up.
What actions are Lowell Group Debt Collection likely to take?
Initially, Lowell Group is likely to contact you either in writing, by phone or both. They will hope that they can secure repayment of the debt, either via a lump sum or by arranging a payment plan, without having to take further action.
If you fail to respond they may send a debt collector to your home. In extreme cases, you may be taken to court which could mean a CCJ is made against you.
What does the debt collection process look like?
Lowell will try to take payment over the phone if they can get hold of you. Otherwise, you can do it online. First, check out their budget calculator to ensure that your repayment is affordable, it’s no use making a payment only to go into more debt!
Next check out the payment options page. Here you can enter your Lowell reference number that you likely received over the phone or on the letters that they have been sending you. Make sure you note down the reference number of your payment, so next time they call you you can tell them that you’ve already paid (it may take some time for this payment to be reflected on your account).
As you can see it’s relatively simple to make a payment providing you have the reference number and card to hand.
Will Lowell Group send bailiffs?
If you do not respond to their initial attempts to contact you, Lowell Group may send a debt collector to your home but they will not send bailiffs. Debt collectors have very limited powers compared to bailiffs.
If a CCJ is made against you and you do not settle the CCJ or keep up with the monthly instalments agreed by the court, the court may send bailiffs to your home.
Can Lowell Group sell my home?
Lowell Group cannot sell your home. However, if you are taken to court and a CCJ is made against you the court may grant a charging order which means that if you do not settle the CCJ or keep up with the monthly repayments agreed by the
court, you may be forced to sell your home to repay the debt.
Will Lowell Group give me an Attachment of Earnings Order?
An Attachment of Earnings Order means that your debt repayments are taken directly from your wages each payday so you cannot avoid making the payments.
Lowell Group cannot give you an Attachment of Earnings Order. However, if you are taken to court and a CCJ is made against you the court will consider an Attachment of Earnings Order as a method of ensuring that your debt is repaid.
Can I not reply to Lowell Group?
You can choose not to reply to Lowell Group although if you fail to reply, it is possible that Lowell Group will escalate matters. This could mean that they send a debt collector to your home or it could even mean that you end up in court.
If you agree that you owe the money it may be in your best interest to discuss the debt with Lowell Group. You don’t have to, but Lowell Group will generally be able to come up with a payment plan that makes it easier to repay your debt.
Can I prevent Lowell Group from contacting me?
If you want to prevent Lowell Group from contacting you, you can send them a “cease and desist” letter. Once you have sent this Lowell Group must not make further contact with you.
However, this “cease and desist” letter does not mean that your debt is written off and you will still owe the money. There is nothing to stop Lowell Group from taking you to court to obtain a CCJ against you if you do this.
Check that you owe Lowell Group
You should be able to check that you owe Lowell Group because they will tell you which organisation they have bought the debt from. They will also tell you how much is outstanding. Lowell Group should be able to provide you with a copy of your original credit agreement.
It is important that you check your own records to ensure that no mistakes have been made and that you do owe the amount that Lowell Group is claiming that you owe. You should also check that the amount being claimed by Lowell Group is the amount that you actually owe.
Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.
Create a simple budget
Taking 10 minutes to create a budget is time well spent. This will tell you what the maximum that you can afford to pay back with your current income and expenses. You can tell this information to the debt collectors and they can then work with you.
Check out my ‘financial snapshot‘ post to learn how.
Can’t afford to pay Lowell Group?
If you can’t afford to pay Lowell Group the full outstanding amount they will usually be prepared to agree to a payment plan based on your monthly income and expenditure.
Lowell Group may also be prepared to offer a discount in return for a full and final settlement figure. If such an offer is made you should get written confirmation that the debt has been settled once you have paid and no further action will be
taking before you make the payment.
How do I write off my Lowell Group debt?
There are a number of ways of that you can write off your Lowell Group debt and how you do this will depend on your situation.
First, if you can prove that you do not owe the money you can have the debt written off. Alternatively, if you do owe the money you can pay the outstanding amount to settle the debt.
If you cannot repay the debt and will not be able to repay the debt in the foreseeable future, you might need to consider insolvency. This comes in a number of forms, such as Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Debt Relief Orders and bankruptcy.
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.
How can I set up a payment plan?
If you are unable to repay your debt in full but but can make monthly repayments, you can usually set up a payment plan. Lowell Group’s online budget calculator works how much money you have left over at the end of each month that can be
used towards debt repayment.
It is important to make sure you include absolutely all of your expenditure rather than just your monthly household bills. This includes the cost of travel to and from work, the cost of replacing clothing, etc.
You can register a payment plan via the portal on the Lowell Group website. Alternatively, you can phone the company to discuss your options.
How can I make a partial payment?
You can make a partial payment over the phone with a debit card, via a payment slip, via bank transfer or by cheque. You can also pay online via the Lowell Group website.
How this partial payment is used will depend on whether your account is in arrears. If your account is in arrears the payment will be used to pay off those arrears. If your account is not in arrears it will be used to reduce your outstanding
Can I pay with a credit card?
Yes, Lowell Group should accept credit cards online or over the phone. Do this very carefully though. I suggest you read my guide about using a credit card as a loan before you do.
What other options are there with Lowell Group?
If you are unable to pay Lowell Group, either in full or via a payment plan, you should discuss your situation with a debt counsellor who will be able to tell you whether there are better ways of handling your debt and what other options you have.
There are 5 main options that can help you with your debt:
- Snowball Method – if you can afford to make the minimum payments on your debt, then this method to become debt-free is almost definitely your best option. The great thing about the snowball method is that it actually improves your credit score, whereas the other options will damage it.
- Debt Management Plan (DMP) – this solution has you paying less than the minimum every month and the lenders stop charging interest. Ideal for a short period if you have, for example, lost your job.
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – this solution works well if you owe over £6,000 and need to protect your house from being repossessed.
- Debt Relief Order – is suitable if you have debts of less thank £20,000, have barely any income and don’t have a house.
- Bankruptcy – is for many people the fastest way to way to hit the reset button. Don’t be put off, there’s a lot of stigma around the word ‘bankruptcy’, however, it could be the right thing for you to do.
See my debt options overview page outlining all your possible debt options and pros and cons of each.
I’m too shy to call Lowell Group
You shouldn’t worry about being too shy to call Lowell Group because the company deals with over 700,000 people in your situation each year and will know exactly how you are feeling.
However, if you really don’t want to call Lowell Group you can also email or send letters to the company.
Lowell Group Debt Collection Reviews
Rating: [usr 3]
We’ve awarded Lowell Group Debt Collection a generous 3/5. Whilst there are lots of negative reports, we put this down to disgruntled customers who have to pay money back. Lowell Group actually has a fair amount of positive reviews saying that they were handled fairly.
Trustpilot scores the Lowell Group at 2.4/10. This score is largely skewed by 84% 1 star reviews. Here’s some of the bad ones:
“After closing my account with O2, these guys claimed I owed £12 which were not the case. I sent them evidence that there’s no debt, and it seemed to be sorted. Two months later though it appeared as a default on my credit score, and I did not even know. Until now, almost two years later when I see it on my Noddle credit rating report.”
“They are calling my mobile phone house phone 3 to 4 times a day I have had to change my number on my mobile phone with all my friends family had now having to up date the new number I give them”
However like we said before, there are quite a few positive reviews. 11% – this is high for a debt collection agency, which either means that they’re better than most, or they’re faking their reviews?! Anyhow, here’s a sample:
“Excellent customer services very understanding wiling to listen and very helpful excellent supervisiers good customer really helped my situation and would recommend to talk them explaining your situation and they will help you that’s why I’ve give them 5stars please talk to them do not Bury your heads in the sands”
“Look, – Lowell are just doing their job. They will have to ask you for name, DOB etc. before they can discuss anything. Ok, now on to us. We have had financial fraud (credit cards opened in our names). Lowell bought some of these debts. They then listened to us very carefully and we sent all the evidence we could to them. I know they pay peanuts to buy debts from Banks but they listened to us and then threw out all claims against us.
I would suggest your first point of action is to cool down and be polite with Lowell. They are not bandits, – they buy outstanding debts from companies and banks. Don’t ignore them and make yourself appear guilty! Supply them in writing and by phone all your evidence.
It’s really the Banks, Utility Companies etc that Lowell actually BUY debts off that are idiots. Hope this is useful to you. PS: If you really do owe money they’ll sort out a payment plan to suit you.”
How do I make a complaint about Lowell Group Debt Collection
If you want to make a complaint about Lowell Group the first thing you should do is to contact the company to see whether they can resolve it to your satisfaction.
If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction you can escalate your complaint by speaking to the ombudsman. How you do that will depend on what type of debt is involved because there are two to different ombudsmen and each deals with different types of debt.
The Lowell Group complaints procedure is detailed on their website.
Lowell Group Contact Details
Phone number: 0333 556 5701
Email address: email@example.com
Postal address: PO Box 1411, Northampton, NN2 1BQ
Monday – Thursday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Lowell Group FAQs
Lowell Group is a privately owned limited company. It was bought by International private equity firm Permira in 2015 and is independent. It is not owned by a specific lender.
Lowell Financial Limited – the company that manages the debts – is regulated by the FCA. Its registration number is 730175.
Lowell Portfolio I Limited – the company that owns the debts – is also regulated by the FCA. Its registration number is 730071.
HMRC does use debt collection agencies to collect unpaid tax but they do not currently use Lowell Group for this.
Yes, Lowell Group buys other companies’ debts. It does this at less face value and makes its money when it collects the face value of the debts.
If you don’t reply to Lowell Group’s letters what happens next well depend on a number of factors. They may send a debt collector to your home and may even take you to court to obtain a CCJ against you.
Lowell Group cannot give you a County Court Judgement but they can apply to the court to ask the court to grant one.
No, you cannot be arrested for debt other than in a very small number of specific circumstances. The debts that Lowell Group handle do not qualify so it is not possible for you to be arrested if you do not pay Lowell Group.
There are two types of CCJ letter. The first is a County Court claim form and if you ignore this the court will decide whether you owe the money in your absence. If it decides that you do, it will grant a CCJ against you. The second is the County Court Judgement. This confirms that the court has decided that you owe the money. If you ignore this letter, it could result in court bailiffs visiting your home.
Lowell Group cannot issue a warrant. However, the court may issue a warrant if a CCJ has been made against you.
Lowell Group cannot issue a warrant. However, the court may issue a warrant if a CCJ has been made against you.
Lowell Group are debt collectors, not bailiffs. This means that they do not have the same powers as bailiffs.
Lowell Group can come to your home but you do not have to let them in. In fact, you are not even obliged to answer the door to them.
Lowell Group cannot force themselves into your home. They can only enter your home if you invite them in and you do not need to do so.
In principle, Lowell Group will never give in. If you do not repay your debt, a record of your non-payment will remain on your credit history. In practice it is not economically viable for them to continue to chase small debts.
If it is obvious that you are unwilling or unable to repay a small debt they may stop pestering you after a while. However, if the debt is a large debt they will be more determined to ensure that the debt is repaid. This could involve taking you to court in an attempt to obtain a CCJ against you.
Provided a CCJ has not been already made against you, a creditor can usually only take legal action in an attempt to recover a debt if it does so within six years of you last acknowledging the debt exists. This period is only five years in Scotland.
You can acknowledge a debt either by making a payment or by replying to correspondence about the debt. If you do that during the six (or five) year period, the clock is reset and the period starts running again.
After this time has elapsed, the debt becomes statute barred. This means that although you still owe the money, the debt will be too old for your creditor to collect.
Within reason, Lowell Group can legally chase you for a debt for as long as they want provided they keep in regular contact with you. However, once a debt has become statute barred they cannot enforce that debt via legal action. You only have to repay it if you choose to repay it voluntarily.
Lowell Group do not write off debts, but they may consider a full and final settlement figure that is less that the amount owed. You should get written confirmation that the company will take no further action against you before paying the full and final settlement amount. Of course, if you go down the insolvency route they may have to write off some or all of the debt.
You can contact Lowell Group by phone or email. Their contact centre is open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.
If you just want a general chat to discuss your options, the best way to contact Lowell Group is by phone. However, the advantage of contacting Lowell Group via email is that email gives you a record of what was said in case you need to refer back to that at a later date.
You can make payment to Lowell Group in a number of ways and how you make the payment will depend whether you are making a one-off payment or regular payments as part of a payment plan.
For one-off payments, you can pay over the phone with a debit card, via a payment slip, via bank transfer or by cheque. You can also pay online via the Lowell Group website. Regular payments can also be made via direct debit or standing order.