The Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery team has been sending out letters to recover unpaid debts for their clients.
If you have recently received one of these letters from Spratt Endicott Solicitors, it is natural to feel worried or scared, especially if you are not sure why you received their debt letter.
This guide has been provided to help people who have had communications from Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery.
No matter what your personal situation is, we will cover all bases to ensure everyone knows how to respond to Spratt Endicott Solicitors.
The most important thing is that you do not ignore their debt letter!
Who Are Spratt Endicott Solicitors?
Spratt Endicott is a law firm in the UK but offering international legal services to individuals, such as tax planning or family disputes, and commercial legal services. Among the latter, they offer debt recovery services from their four offices:
- Spratt Endicott Banbury
- Spratt Endicott Bicester
- Spratt Endicott Brackley
- Spratt Endicott Buckingham
Their debt recovery service is available to help businesses recoup monies that are owed to them by individuals and other businesses. The creditor will use Spratt Endicott to follow legal practices to get the money they are owed. This could result in Spratt Endicott issuing a County Court Judgement (CCJ), but there are many ways to stop it materialising into legal proceedings.
Spratt Endicott has been known to work for recognised household utility companies, but also niche businesses such as those offering timeshares.
A Money Savings Expert forum user has confirmed that they stopped paying to RCI (one of the largest timeshare companies in the world), but now Spratt Endicott Solicitors are trying to recover their missed payments:
“We moved house a month ago and I went to pick up the post today to find 2 solicitors letters from Spratt & Endicott – the first advising they were acting on behalf of RCI regarding our unpaid membership fee of £140 and telling us to send the money to RCI immediately.
The second was dated a week later advising as we had ignored them, we had 3 days left to make the payment or they would be taking us to court and we will receive a CCJ against us.
Normally I expect the threatening letters stating we ‘might’ or we ‘may’ however these guys are proper solicitors and are saying we WILL!!”
This goes to show that Spratt Endicott Solicitors may be collecting debts for many types of unique businesses. The main concern from this poster is that they are dealing with solicitors, but there are reasons not to worry…
What Legal Powers Do Spratt Endicott Have?
Spratt Endicott are a legal team of professionals which means the people working at the business will have an extensive and professional knowledge of the law, including debt recovery legislation. However, this does not mean they have any more legal powers than any other group trying to collect debts for clients, such as a non-legal entity debt collection agency.
They do not have the legal power to come to your home and take possessions away. Only an enforcement officer has this power, but they can only do this after court proceedings has given them license to do this.
The bottom line is that the solicitors at Spratt Endicott can follow the law and provide legal guidance to clients – but they are not the law!
Why Did I Receive a Debt Letter from Spratt Endicott?
If you received a letter from the Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery team asking you to pay an outstanding debt, this letter is known as a Letter Before Action (LBA). It may sound threatening and make you feel worried, but your anxieties can be eased by knowing more about what this letter really means and how to react.
An LBA is a letter simply telling you that you owe the debt and who you owe it to. It will ask you to pay the debt off, and it may ask you to contact Spratt Endicott to discuss payment options. Most of these letters will give a date that they want the money by and if they do not receive the money, state they will take you to court over the debt.
You will have received this letter if you do in fact have an outstanding debt. But there are cases when you have wrongfully received this letter, such as:
- Mistaken identity
- The individual owing the debt used to live at your current address
- The debt collection agency cannot locate the individual and are sending the same letters to many people with the same name
Three Ways to Respond to the Spratt Endicott Debt Letter
How you respond to the LBA will depend on your personal circumstances and what was included in the debt letter.
#1: Prove the Debt Letter
Sometimes debt collection services will send an LBA asking you to pay the debt without any proof that you owe the debt.
This is either because they do not have proof, they are hoping you will pay without them having to do extensive work/research – or because they are sending the same letter to multiple people with the same name.
Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery is not as likely to send an LBA without proof of the debt compared to other debt collection groups. The reason for this is they are a professional legal team and will know that they have to provide this proof – and they will not want to delay the process for their paying clients.
It is likely that they will ask their client for the proof before agreeing to the case and sending the LBA.
In any instance that your LBA from Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery does not include proof that you owe the debt, you should always request this proof before agreeing to pay the debt.
What Is Proof of the Debt?
Proof of the debt would be an official agreement between you and the company claiming that you owe them money. Some examples include a signed agreement or contract, such as a mobile phone contract or a lease agreement.
How to Request Proof from Spratt Endicott Solicitors?
To request proof of the debt, you can simply use one of the many great letter templates found online. There are lots of effective prove the debt letter templates that only require you to add a few details to make them personal to your situation, such as your name, reference number and date.
You can write your own letter if you prefer. If you decide to write the letter yourself, make sure you inform Spratt Endicott that you:
- Received their letter
- Want proof of the debt they refer to
- Consider any future communications without the proof as harassment
- Will report them if they harass you
Another recommendation is do not sign the letter. Signatures could be used to fabricate documents and evidence that you owe the debt. It is highly unlikely that this would occur when dealing with a legal entity like Spratt Endicott, but it has happened with other debt collection agencies in the past.
Be safe, not sorry!
#2: Statue Barred Debt – You DON’T Have to Pay!
Another possible scenario is that Spratt Endicott proved the debt in the LBA or in a subsequent communication – but you don’t have to pay!
This would be the case if your debt is statute barred. Statute barred is a type of debt that is no longer enforceable by the courts. The debt still exists unless it is voluntarily paid off, but Spratt Endicott Solicitors cannot enforce the debt via a CCJ, and by extension, repossessing your belongings/home.
Statute barred debt was introduced because the courts were getting too busy with really old debt recovery claims. The courts needed a way to free up time and so some older debts can no longer be enforced.
When Is a Debt a Statute Barred Debt?
A debt becomes statute barred when it meets three conditions. It must meet all three conditions for it to be classed as statute barred or it can still be enforced by the courts. These three criteria are:
- The debt must be at least six years old
- You must not have repaid any of the debt or even acknowledged it in the last six years. For example, if you have an eight-year-old debt and made your last payment towards the same debt five years ago, the time has reset at that point. Your debt cannot become statute barred until six years have elapsed. The same applies if you have acknowledged you had the debt to the creditor or a debt collection agency in the last six years.
- There must not be an active County Court Judgement on the debt, i.e. you must not have already been taken to court over the debt.
How to Tell Spratt Endicott Your Debt Is Not Enforceable
If you believe your debt is statute barred, you could get confirmation of this from a financial professional of from one of the debt charities in the UK.
The same debt charities can provide you with a letter template to tell Spratt Endicott Solicitors that your debt is statute barred and they cannot enforce it in court.
Step Change UK provide a page dedicated to letter templates, which includes their statute barred letter to send to Spratt Endicott Solicitors when applicable.
Once you have sent this letter, you are not likely to hear from them again. If they do contact you and continue to threaten legal action, you could report them.
Spratt Endicott Solicitors are not allowed to make legal threats without substantial evidence that legal proceedings could take place. A statute barred debt cannot go to court, and thus, they would be breaking the law.
#3: Paying the Debt
The third way to respond to the LBA is to make arrangements to pay the debt. This is the last option if Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery has provided proof of the debt and your debt is not statue barred.
If you can pay the full amount of debt without putting yourself into financial hardship, this may be the best option because it will prevent you from having to pay any interest on the debt if applicable.
However, if you cannot pay the debt in full because it is too much or because you are not earning enough to pay it off, you could agree on a payment plan with Spratt Endicott.
Most of the time, Spratt Endicott and their client are hoping you agree to a payment plan because they do not want to issue a CCJ against you. It can be better for everyone involved to agree on a payment plan for large debts.
How to Agree a Payment Plan
To come up with a payment plan you must first know what disposable income you have to pay off the debt each month. To do this, you are required to analyse your personal finances. You do not want to agree to paying more money than you afford, or the situation could worsen.
For help analysing your finances and agreeing a payment plan with Spratt Endicott Solicitors, you can speak to the UK’s free debt organisations and charities, including:
- Citizens Advice
- Christians Against Poverty
- Step Change UK
- National Debtline
Other Ways to Approach Your Debt
If you have other debts alongside the money you owe to Spratt Endicott, there are other options that could be better for your personal situation. You may save money and eradicate your debt quicker by choosing an IVA.
Reporting and Complaining about Spratt Endicott Debt Recovery
Finally, if you feel like Spratt Endicott has not given you enough time to look at your debt solution options, harassed you, or disclosed your debt to other people (such as family or employers) you can make an official complaint.
You should direct your complaints to the Financial Conduct Authority or the Financial Ombudsman.