Richburns Debt Recovery may have sent you a debt letter regarding British Gas debt or other utility provider debts.
Receiving a Richburns Debt Recovery letter can be intimidating or cause severe anxiety. But help is at hand with our Richburns Debt Recovery 2020 guide.
Use our advice to navigate the process and understand your rights.
Who Are Richburns Debt Recovery?
Richburns Debt Recovery is one of the hundreds of debt collection agencies across the UK. They work to recoup unpaid debts for their clients. A business that is owed money will contact Richburns Ltd to ask them to chase debt on their behalf. Businesses do this because Richburns specialise in these tasks and do not want to dedicate resources and time to do it themselves.
Richburns Debt Recovery is a legitimate debt collection agency, but some of their reported tactics are questionable and may be breaking FCA regulations.
Richburns Debt Recovery Contact
If you want to contact Richburns Debt Recovery, you can reach them on 0208 477 4903.
However, there are better ways to reply to Richburns debt letters than calling them directly. We discuss what you can do in your situation, even if you believe Richburns has contacted you by mistake.
Who Do Richburns Ltd Collect Debt for?
Richburns Debt Recovery is renowned for collecting debt for household utility suppliers. They work for some of the UK’s most recognised electric and gas suppliers.
Richburns British Gas
One of these suppliers is British Gas. Many people who receive a debt letter from Richburns Debt Recovery will do so because they are believed to owe money to British Gas.
Here is one example from an internet forum:
“I’ve just received a letter from debt recovery agents Richburns, acting on behalf of British Gas apparently. They sent the letter on the 19th May and will begin sending agents to enter the property from today onward.”
[Legal Beagles website debt forum]
This forum user has said that Richburns Debt Recovery states they will come to enter the debtor’s property, but can they really do this…
Can Richburns Debt Recovery Come into My Home?
No, absolutely not!
Richburns Debt Recovery use field agents to go to debtors’ homes and advertise that they do this on their official website. But Richburns field agents have no legal rights to come to your property or demand to enter it.
If they do this to you, you can deny entry and should report Richburns Debt Recovery to the FCA for their misconduct. Richburns Debt Recovery could be heavily penalised by the FCA for their actions.
There are other reports that Richburns Debt Recovery agents have used these illegal tactics:
“This company have turned up today unannounced and with NO prior warning. The man shouted through my letterbox to open the door after only one abrupt knock. He then said they are doing something to my gas/electric meters outside and also need access inside.”
It should be noted that Richburns also offer a meter reading service as well as debt recovery services. This combination may raise suspicion. There is a chance that they just want to read your meter – but be cautious. Even more so if you have received a debt collection letter!
What Legal Powers Do Richburns Debt Recovery Have?
We have established that Richburns Debt Recovery cannot enter your property. But what legal powers do they have?
Well, just like any other UK debt collection agency that are not enforcement officers, Richburns Debt Recovery have no legal powers.
They do not have any more rights to enter your home – or take possessions – than British Gas themselves. They are simply an administration team that offer their services out of convenience rather than specialised skills.
How to Report Richburns Debt Recovery
If you believe Richburns Debt Recovery has been acting illegally or making false claims, you should report them to the FCA. Other behaviours that would warrant a complaint to the FCA include:
- Divulging your debt to other people, including family, friends or employers
- Making claims they could repossess your items
- Applying pressure on you or repeat calling
- Contacting you at unsociable times
- Refusing to leave your property or forcing entry
- Taking payments without authorisation
Explanation of a Richburns Debt Recovery Letter
Debt letters are fairly standard across the industry. The debt letter you have received from Richburns Debt Recovery is likely to be a Letter Before Action, meaning a letter to request payment or face legal action – such as an attempt for a CCJ.
These letters often give the debtor a timeframe to pay. But opening dialogue can avoid legal action even if you cannot afford the debt today.
Should I Ignore Richburns Debt Recovery?
Whatever you do, do not ignore letters from Richburns Debt Recovery. Even if you believe your letter is a mistake, you should be proactive and follow the advice in this debt guide.
Can I Stop Richburns Debt Recovery Letters?
You will not be able to stop Richburns Debt Recovery from contacting you about your (supposed) debt. You can however ask Richburns to only contact you at certain times of the day or on certain days. This means if you are receiving a lot of stressful calls from Richburns Debt Recovery, you can reduce them.
If they do not respect your wishes, you could report them to the FCA for harassment.
So, Should I Pay Richburns Debt Recovery?
You might have to pay Richburns Debt Recovery if you owe the debt and other options have been exhausted, but you do not have to pay instantly. There are things you can do to follow the legal process and buy yourself some time, or maybe avoid paying altogether.
Lots of people choose to pay as soon as they receive the Richburns debt letter because the letter can be scary and cause anxiety. But knowing the legal processes and your rights will help ease those worries.
What Actions Could Richburns Ltd Take?
If you do owe the debt and refuse to pay, Richburns Debt Recovery could go to the courts with their client to get a court order for the debt, known as a CCJ.
What this means is that an enforcement agent could come to your home and enforce the CCJ by requesting money or taking items to be auctioned off to pay the debt. Even in this circumstance, it is not workers for Richburns Debt Recovery that would do this. An enforcement agency with these legal rights would be used.
But you can avoid any of this happening by taking action and responding to your Richburns Ltd debt letter.
Has Richburns Debt Recovery Made a Mistake?
It is not impossible for Richburns Debt Recovery to make a mistake. Some debt collection groups use inaccurate tactics to track down the debtor, which often result in debt letters being sent to the wrong people.
The most common is a scattergun approach where Richburns Debt Recovery send letters to multiple people who lived at the same address or have similar names. They could send out tens of letters in the hope that one person pays.
But this trial-and-error technique means you can respond effectively to clear your name or delay the need to pay instantly.
How to Respond to Richburns Ltd
When Richburns Debt Recovery send you a debt letter, it is not likely they will include proof that you owe the money other than stating that you do owe it, how much you owe and the company you owe it to.
But legally they have to prove the debt with a signed agreement or contract to make the debt enforceable in the courts. You should request this yourself as they may not have the proof, or it could delay the process to give yourself time to assess your options.
Requesting proof is a common and effective reply in this situation. You can do it by sending what the industry calls a prove the debt letter.
How to Write a Prove the Debt Letter
A prove the debt letter is simply an acknowledgement of the letter sent by Richburns Debt Recovery and request for them to prove the debt they mention.
The good news is that Richburns Debt Recovery are no longer allowed to make contact or requests to pay the debt without supplying the proof. Any future communication must include proof, or the communication is classified as harassment and should be reported to the FCA.
Your reply must include:
- Acknowledgement of the debt letter and any reference numbers
- Request for proof
- Statement that future communications without proof is harassment
- Harassment will be reported
- Never sign these letters
- Print your name only
Alternatively, you do not have to write the letter yourself. There are many fantastic prove the debt letter templates online you can use. Effortlessly add your details to these templates and send it to Richburns Debt Recovery.
It is best to pay for recorded delivery.
Do not send this letter if Richburns Ltd already supplied proof.
You Richburns Debt May Not Be Enforceable
There is one other situation when you should not send a prove the debt letter to Richburns Debt Recovery. That is when your debt is statute barred.
What Is Statute Barred Debt?
A debt becomes statute barred in England when it is at least six years old and:
- It has not been paid in the last six years
- It has not been acknowledged in the last six years
- There has never been a court order issued for the debt
These timeframes are five years for debts in Scotland.
But what does all this mean? It means that the debt cannot be legally enforced because the courts will not welcome these old debt cases into the courtroom. The courts were becoming overwhelmed and chose to make some debt unenforceable.
This means Richburns Debt Recovery cannot take you to court for the debt and therefore you can never be forced to pay.
Statute barred debt and wiped debt is not the same. The former is still an unpaid debt, but you will not be chased for it.
Tell Richburns Ltd Your Debt is Statute Barred
Sometimes Richburns Debt Recovery will still try for the debt in the hope you do not know about statute barred debt.
You can end their debt letters by sending them a statute barred debt letter. It is advised to use one of the templates found on debt charity websites and respected debt forums.
Ways to Pay Off Richburns Ltd Debt
When your debt has been proven and it is not statute barred, you need to find a way to pay the debt or face further legal action. But that doesn’t mean paying off the full amount. In fact, Richburns Debt Recovery expect you to try and spread the payment over multiple instalments and allow for this through a portal on their website.
You can agree on a payment plan with Richburns Debt Recovery by communicating directly with them or getting support from debt charities. Always agree a payment plan that will not cause financial hardship and other debts to occur.
But there are other/extra debt solutions. Alternative options include:
- Using the Snowballing Method
- Debt Relief Orders
Get Support for Your Richburns Debt
An IVA is one of the best methods for some people with multiple debts. To learn more about your options and which one suits your circumstances, it is best to do some research.
If you struggle to understand what these other options mean, you can always call free debt charities in the UK for guidance. Step Change UK, Citizens Advice and National Debtline are some of the best! Whatever avenue you take to clearing your Richburns debt, make sure you act fast when receiving their debt letter.