During these difficult times, it’s easy to let things slide when it comes to finances.
As pressing bills, rent, mortgage payments, and other essentials take priority, you might end up forgetting about other outstanding bills. If things go too far, you may receive a letter from a firm such as Tonner Johns Ratti solicitors.
Although often unpleasant, you don’t need to panic. We take a look at how to deal with Tonner Johns Ratti debt recovery.
Who are Tonner Johns Ratti?
Swansea-based Tonner Johns Ratti is an established legal firm that has been operating since 1975. They work on a wide range of legal issues, including conveyancing, commercial, personal injury, employment, and dispute resolution law.
The company Tonner Johns Ratti Limited was incorporated in 2006, after the merger of Tonner Johns Ratti and Roy Thomas, Begley & Co. The two legal firms were some of the most experience in Wales, making the combined entity a distinguished force.
Tonner Johns Ratti’s Swansea address is 48 Walter Road, Swansea, West Glamorgan, SA1 5PW. Their contact number is 01792 643 296, while their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why are they contacting me?
So, you might be asking the question as to why Tonner Johns Ratti are reaching out to you. You may have received a letter from their head office or a call from one of their representatives and be wondering what they want. Well, if you’ve not approached them for legal services, the most likely cause is that they’re chasing a debt.
As part of their dispute resolution service, the solicitors firm focuses on debt resolution. This means that a company you owe money to has tried and failed to recover the debt, and has hired Tonner Johns Ratti to help them reclaim it. In these situations, it’s likely that the original creditor has tried to contact you several times about the money and been unsuccessful.
Usually, a company turns to a debt collection solicitor to add an extra layer of authenticity to their efforts. It’s hoped that, by getting legal backing, the consumer will be scared into paying what they owe.
Is Tonner Johns Ratti a legitimate debt collector?
The field of debt collection has long been fraught with dishonest practice and claims of bullying and harassment. As such, when you receive contact from someone claiming you owe them money, it can be difficult to know whether it’s legitimate or not.
When it comes to Tonner Johns Ratti, you can rest assured that they are indeed a real company. The private limited company is registered with the company number 05810565. They’re also regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in the UK (under practice number 441911).
The latter accreditation means that they can perform certain actions without having to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
What’s the difference between a solicitor and a debt collector?
When it comes to handling the recovery of debt, organisations often turn to either a debt collection agency or a solicitor. But what’s the difference? Initially, there isn’t a huge amount of difference. Both have experience dealing with debt collection, yet neither has any more power than the original creditor. All they can do is ask you to pay back the money.
However, once things start to progress, you’ll soon find a difference between the two. Debt collection agencies will continue to use scare tactics to try and get you to pay your debt. Solicitors will often choose to take legal action against you. They’re usually swift at resolving matters because it’s unlikely you’ll want to go to court over your debt.
Firms such as Tonner Ratti Johns solicitors know the law better than most. They can take action to recover the money for their client in a faster and more efficient way.
What happens if I ignore Tonner Johns Ratti?
As is often the case with these things, it’s tempting to simply ignore any calls or letters from the company and hope they go away. After all, if it’s an old debt, surely it’s been forgotten about? Sadly, this is very rarely the case.
Solicitors like Tonner Johns Ratti are usually bought in as a last resort by the creditor. They’re hopeful that they can use a show of force to recover the money they’re owed. For Tonner Johns Ratti, it’s likely that they’ll only get paid once they recover the debt, so it’s in their interest to do so.
Ignoring letters from the law firm won’t make the situation go away. If anything, it will make it worse. They will keep trying to get the money owed, even if it means taking further legal action against you. This could cause the costs to continue increasing, and may even mean you end up having to go to court.
Can I stop them from contacting me?
It can be frustrating if you’re continually contacted by a company such as Tonner Johns Ratti. If you’re already under financial strain, it can just make things worse. So, what should you do to stop them from writing to you or calling you?
Although the quickest resolution is often to simply pay them, this may not always be the best course of action. There are many different variables that might influence your choice here.
One step you can take is to request that they only correspond via one means, for example by mail. If you make such a request, they have to respect your wishes. Similarly, if you’re disputing their claim or asking the original creditor to prove the debt, they have to stop contacting you while it’s being resolved.
Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.
Should I pay money to them?
Again, there are several possibilities that will influence whether or not you have to pay Tonner Johns Ratti. First and foremost, it depends on where the original creditor stands. They may have sold the debt to the solicitors, meaning that you now owe Tonner Johns Ratti rather than the original company.
However, they may simply be collecting the debt on behalf of the original creditor. In this situation, you’d not pay the solicitor directly. Whichever way, it’s best to check the letter and correspondence from both parties to find out who you actually need to pay.
Then there is the issue of whether the debt is actually yours or not. Although rare, mistakes are made from time to time. Make sure to double-check that the debt is recent, and that it’s definitely yours.
What rights do I have?
No matter whether you’re dealing with a debt collection agency, solicitor, or enforcement agency, you have a range of legal protections. Most of these are outlined by either the FCA or in the case of Tonner Johns Ratti, the SRA.
The SRA guidelines outline a wide range of rights that both you and the original creditor have. What this means for you is that they have to treat you fairly. As such, they can’t:
- Pressure you or try and confuse you into repaying money you can’t afford.
- Mislead you about the consequences of not paying or the benefits of paying.
- Send aggressive correspondence or give biased advice.
- Fail to tell you the full details of the debt and who you owe it to.
- Pursue debts that are statute-barred or out of their jurisdiction.
If you feel that Tonner Johns Ratti has breached any of the terms of these guidelines, you can make a complaint against them. Initially, they have to handle this internally. However, if they fail to deal with it adequately, you can report them to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
What powers do Tonner Johns Ratti have?
Now that you know where you stand, it’s time to consider what Tonner Johns Ratti can do when it comes to recovering your debt. Initially, they have no more power than the original creditor. This means they can contact you to ask you to make payments, but they can’t force you to.
There are several steps they can take if this is unsuccessful, however. This includes:
- Add interest and fees. They can add extra money to the amount you owe, making the debt even greater. However, they can only do so in line with your original agreement, meaning they can’t be excessive.
- Take you to court. Although rare, a solicitor can sue you for the money you owe. This usually takes the form of a County Court Judgement, which is essentially a court order forcing you to pay.
- Request bailiffs. If you continue to refuse to pay, the solicitor can request that bailiffs be sent to your home. If this happens, they will be able to take certain possessions and sell them to cover the cost of your debt.
If things continue to escalate, they can even petition you for bankruptcy or even jail time. Clearly, they have some fairly substantial powers when it comes to debt.
What to do if you receive a letter from Tonner Johns Ratti
So, if you’ve received contact from Tonner Johns Ratti solicitors, what should you do? Although your first instinct may be to panic and ignore them, that’s far from a good idea. Instead, you should follow these steps:
Check the details
To get started, you’ll want to gather all the information you can relating to the debt. This can be the original agreement, statement, receipt, or other paperwork. If you’re going to dispute the amount you owe, this can be a great place to start.
You should also make sure that they have all the right information. Check that your name is spelt correctly, they have the right address, and that all the other information is correct.
Prove the debt
Your next step is to get the original creditor to prove the debt. You can write to them asking that they send you full details of what you owe, when you started owing it, and any extra charges or interest they have applied to the amount. If they are unable to do so, the debt isn’t legally enforceable.
You can easily find a template for a ‘prove the debt letter’ online. These will often outline the main FCA guidelines about debt repayment, and the creditor has to respond to such a request.
Is it statute-barred?
You should also check whether the debt is statue-barred. Certain debts, such as those regulated by the Consumer Credit Act, have an expiration date of sorts. Essentially, after six years of the debt going unrecognised and unpaid, it may no longer be enforceable.
You can find more information about statute-barred debt on the National Debtline website. It gives details about how to deal with creditors that are chasing you for old debts.
Pay the debt
If the debt is definitely yours and isn’t statute-barred, you will need to repay the money if you can. Of course, depending on your financial situation, you may not be able to pay it all back at once. If this is the case, don’t worry. Most creditors will accept a repayment plan based on what you can afford to pay.
You’ll want to calculate how much you can repay each month before you reach out to the creditor. Although they’re not legally obliged to accept such a proposal, they’re more likely to if you give an honest account of where you stand.
How to get help managing debt
If you’re struggling with debt and aren’t sure where to turn, there are several resources you may want to consider. Firstly, you can check out our four ways to write off your debts article. It outlines some of the tactics you might want to consider.
You can also use some of the debt charities and other services on offer for those struggling financially. Along with the Money Advice Service, you can also check out Citizens Advice and Step Change. Each of these has a range of resources and contact numbers you can use to get help dealing with your financial situation.