The current financial climate looks uncertain.
As such, it can be more difficult than ever to make ends meet. In such circumstances, people often find that they have to prioritise bills and payments, meaning some debts can slip through the cracks.
When this happens, you may receive a letter from a debt collection agency such as Trace Debt Recovery. We take a look at who they are and what you should do if they contact you.
Trace Debt Recovery Basics
We’ll start by outlining some of the most commonly asked questions about Trace Debt Recovery. It can often be confusing and upsetting if you hear from them out of the blue, so these should put your mind at rest.
Don’t worry, here’s what to do
You could get rid of debt collectors by writing off your debt. I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator which will tell you if you’re eligible:
Who are trace debt recovery?
Trace Debt Recovery UK Limited is a Northampton-based debt recovery company. They focus mainly on the parking industry and claim to have over 30 years of experience in this area. However, the company was only incorporated on 22 March 2016.
As well as working in the parking enforcement, they’ve also created qualifications in conjunction with the British Parking Association. They’ve positioned themselves as industry experts, and adhere to the standards of their industry body, the International Parking Community (IPC).
Although their address is not available on their website (only a PO Box is listed), their registered office on Companies House is:
Suite S2, Barratt House, Kingsthorpe Road, Northampton, England, NN2 6HT
The company number is 10079126, and there are three directors registered on Companies House.
Why is Trace Debt Recovery chasing me?
If you’ve received a Trace Debt Recovery letter, you may be unsure as to why they’re contacting you. After all, it’s not a company you’ve likely ever done business with before. However, the most likely reason they sent you a letter or phoned you is because of an unpaid parking ticket.
Trace specialises in collecting Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) – fines for when parking rules are broken. Often, the companies or councils who issues initially offer PCNs are ignored by the motorist. Parking tickets end up in the bin, and the fines go unpaid.
Many drivers assume that parking tickets can’t be enforced, which is why they ignore the initial incident. However, companies rarely forget such fines and eventually pass them over to debt collection agencies like Trace.
The company has a partner solicitor, and even on their website they claim they ‘seek to recover outstanding parking charges by means of court proceedings.’ For regular people, this can be a stressful and scary prospect.
Trace also work to find the contact details of those who haven’t paid their fines. So, even if you’ve changed address, they will work to try and recover the money you owe.
Those Annoying Trace Debt Recovery Calls
Along with letters, Trace Debt Recovery may start calling you asking for you to pay. Debt collection agencies may use pressuring tactics by making repeated calls in the same day.
You can counter this by asking Trace Debt Recovery to only contact you at a certain time. They must adhere to your communication preferences. If they fail to do this and keep calling at the wrong times, you could claim harassment.
Yes – a criminal offence!
We will tell you how to complain about Trace Debt Recovery at the end of our post.
Are they legitimate?
If you’ve received a Trace Debt Recovery letter, you might be wondering whether it’s legitimate. After all, stories of scams and unscrupulous debt collectors are rife. However, you can rest assured that Trace is indeed a real company. They’re registered with Companies House, meaning you can view all of the information about them.
It’s also worth noting that they claim not to collect debt for companies that aren’t part of either the International Parking Committee or the British Parking Association.
So, if you’ve received a letter from Trace Debt Recovery UK Limited, you need to take it seriously.
Who do they collect for?
As you’ve probably guessed by now, Trace Debt Recovery primarily collect parking fine/ticket debt. Like many such companies, they take on all kinds of clients. As such, you could have been issued a parking fine from places such as:
- NCP car parks
- Hospital car parks
- Residential complexes
Trace will collect on any parking debt, providing that the client is part of the British Parking Association or International Parking Committee.
Dealing with Trace Debt Recovery
So, now that you know who Trace Debt Recovery is, it’s time to figure out what to do if they contact you. It’s important to know where you stand and what action you should take. In doing so, you can save yourself a lot of stress and hopefully pay back the least amount you need to.
Should I ignore calls and letters from them?
Debt collection agencies are known for their persistence. Although they are allowed to be persistent, they cannot harass you. Sometimes, this seems like a fine line, and we’ll cover it in more detail further down.
In short, you shouldn’t ignore contact from Trace or other debt collection agencies. They rarely contact you in error, and even if they do, ignoring them won’t make them stop. You’ll find that they continue to try and reach you, and they can escalate matters against you.
You can outline how you want to be contacted by them, however. So, if they’re calling you and it’s getting annoying, you can request that they only contact you in writing. They’re legally obligated to carry out this request.
Having debt is never easy, particularly when forceful debt collection agencies are involved. However, ignoring the matter isn’t going to resolve it, so you’re better off facing the matter head-on.
What should I do if they write to me?
Getting a letter out of the blue can be a challenge. However, you mustn’t panic. By knowing your rights and the legal action they can take, you can resolve the matter with minimal fuss.
The first thing you’ll need to do if you receive a Trace Debt Recovery letter is to confirm whether or not you actually owe the money they say you do. You’ll likely have already had a parking fine through, as well as possibly some reminder letters.
If you’ve ignored correspondence from the original creditor (the company that issued the fine), it’s likely they will likely have passed it on to Trace. So, you may have to go back through your records to see whether you have any information about it.
On the letter, they should provide you with details of the original fine. Again, make sure that this matches up with your experience. Once you have this information, it should make things easier when you contact them.
Should I pay Trace Debt Recovery?
There are quite a few elements that affect the answer to this question. We all have to pay our debts at some point. However, if the debt isn’t yours or you think it was issued illegally, you can contest it. The important thing is that you have all the information you need to do so.
Follow my ‘prove it’ guide with letter templates and get them to prove that you owe the money.
If you definitely owe the money and can afford to repay it, this could be your best course of action. However, you may want to pay it to the original creditor rather than Trace. So, make sure you contact them to arrange payment as you may avoid having to pay any extra fees.
Can Trace Debt Recovery Repossess My Car?
Earlier we said how if you fail to pay the debt after a court has told you to (i.e. with a CCJ), you might get a knock on the door from a bailiff who takes away your possessions to pay the debt.
These workers can take your car if it is in your name and it is not being paid for with a financing scheme.
But take note!
That isn’t an excuse to ignore them.
Can I stop home visits from Trace Debt Recovery?
Debt collection agencies will rarely visit your home, even though they might threaten to do so. However, they can technically pay you a visit at your residence. Usually, they’ll have to give you at least seven days’ notice that they’re going to. They can’t enter your property without your permission, and they have to leave if you ask them to do so.
It might be possible to stop them from visiting your home if you contact them before it gets to that point. You can arrange to make a payment or contest the debt, which should mean they don’t come to your door.
Financial and Legal Matters
It’s important to know where you stand when it comes to dealing with companies like Trace Debt Collection. You have rights and financial options, and it’s vital that you know about these. Although debt collection companies have to adhere to certain rules, there are many instances when they breach them.
What action can they take?
Firstly, you need to know the actions they can take besides writing to you, calling you, and potentially visiting your home. If they don’t hear from you, they technically can escalate matters. And, as you’ll see on the Trace website, they have a ‘streamlined approach and robust route to court.’
So, what court action can they take? Below, we’ve outlined some of the methods they might seek:
- Add interest and charges to your account. However, this can’t be excessive.
- Apply for a County Court Judgment (CCJ). This means the courts demand you repay the creditors. It’s also very bad news for your credit rating.
- Apply to send bailiffs round. If the courts grant it, bailiffs are able to take your possessions to reclaim the cost of the debt.
- Issue a statutory demand. If you have debts over £5,000, they can take the first steps to making your bankrupt.
Obviously, none of these are ideal situations, as they can impact you in the short- and long-term. The sooner you deal with them, the less likely they are to take these actions.
What rights do I have?
Although Trace Debt Collection can escalate matters, they also have to operate within the law. As well as following CSA guidelines, they also must adhere to Financial Conduct Authority rules. These laws state:
- They can’t harass you. So, no excessive and unsociable calls and visits, and no threatening or bullying behaviour to get you to pay.
- They can’t breach data protection. This means they can’t contact anyone else about your debt, including friends, relatives, and co-workers.
- They can’t lie. They’re not allowed to pretend they have legal powers that they don’t, and they’re not allowed to tell you lies.
What if I can’t afford to pay Trace Debt Recovery?
It’s not easy facing up to the fact that you can’t pay your outstanding debts. Thankfully, there are some ways that can help you deal with the situation.
The first is to contact the creditor or debt collection agency to explain your situation. They’re likely (although not obliged) to accept a repayment plan. So, although you can’t repay the full amount at once, you might be able to make instalments.
You might also want to consider something like a debt management plan or debt consolidation loan. These can help you make affordable monthly payments and work towards paying off all of your debts at once.
Can I write off debt from Trace Debt Recovery?
It is possible to write off certain debts, although only in very specific situations. For example, you could apply for an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA). Essentially, this combines all of your debts and means you repay a fixed amount for 60 months. At the end of that period, anything remaining is written off.
You should also check if the debt is statue-barred. If the debt is more than six years old and you’ve not heard anything about it until now (and haven’t made a payment), Trace may not be able to reclaim it.
So, that’s everything you need to know about how to deal with Trace Debt Recovery UK Limited. It can seem challenging, but with patience and planning, you can achieve a favourable outcome. Here are some final questions about the company:
What are Trace Debt Recovery UK Limited reviews like?
There are a lot of forum posts about Trace Debt Recovery. They’re generally not very flattering. Most customers complain of scare tactics and rude customer services. The word ‘scam’ is used a lot. However, there aren’t many comments about people actually having court action taken against them.
On Google, the company gets a 3-star review from four reviewers.
Can I make a complaint against them?
Yes, you have every right to make a complaint. However, you need to follow the right process. First, you’ll need to complain directly to Trace in writing. They have to acknowledge this and make an attempt to resolve it. If they don’t, you can escalate the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.