If you’ve been contacted by Transcom, you will be wondering who they are and why they’ve been in touch. You’ll also be wondering what you need to do next.
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 Transcom?
Transcom are part of the Swedish Transcom WorldWide AB group. They are a UK-based debt collection agency with their headquarters in Leeds.
They collect debts for businesses and other organisations, concentrating on the following sectors:
- financial services
- public services
They deal with some big name clients. As an example, eBay uses Transcom to collect unpaid selling fees.
Transcom are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They are also members of the Credit Services Association and must abide by the CSA Code of Practice.
Transcom Claim I Owe Money. What Should I Do?
The first thing you should do is to check that you actually owe Transcom the money that they are claiming that you owe. There are a number of reasons that you might not owe the money.
First, debts cannot be legally enforced after a certain amount of time has elapsed. If you have not acknowledged the debt for a while, it’s quite possible that the debt has been statute barred.
Second, the debt could be owed by someone else. If that’s the case, Transcom should be chasing that person for repayment rather than you.
Third, you may have already repaid the debt. If you’ve paid back part of the money, the money that Transcom is claiming that you owe could be the wrong amount.
If you aren’t sure that you owe the money being claimed you should ask Transcom to prove to you in writing that you are liable. If they cannot provide this proof, they have to mark the debt as settled.
When you write to them asking for proof that you owe the money, you should not sign the letter. Some debt collection agencies have been known to use signatures to create documents that “prove” that the money is owed even though it isn’t.
I Cannot Afford to Repay the Debt. What Are My Options?
If you agree that you owe Transcom the money but cannot afford to repay the full amount, most debt collection agencies will agree to a repayment plan.
You will need to supply details of your monthly income and expenditure to show how much you can afford to repay each month. Once you have agreed to a monthly figure, you would pay that amount each month until the debt has been cleared.
Make sure that you get confirmation of any repayment agreement in writing so there are no misunderstandings at a later date.
As alternative to a repayment plan, if you have several debts or cannot agree a repayment figure with Transcom, you might want to consider setting up a Debt Management Plan.
Debt Management Plans are usually managed by a licensed debt management company. That company will agree reduced monthly payments with your creditors. You then make one payment to the debt management company and they distribute that payment accordingly.
If you are considering a Debt Management Plan it is important to check the terms and conditions. Some debt management companies charge a fee for providing the service.
What Can Transcom Do if I Do Not Pay?
If you do not repay the debt, either in full or via instalments, Transcom will continue to harass you by writing to you, phoning you and sending text messages to you. They may even decide to visit your home.
If they visit you, they are not allowed to enter your home unless you invite them in. In fact, you aren’t even obliged to answer the door.
You should not, under any circumstances, agree to anything when they are on your doorstep. If you do speak to them, get them to put any repayment plan that they offer in writing so you have a chance to consider their proposal properly. Do not pay them anything on the day.
Debt collection agencies often attempt to pressure vulnerable people into agreeing things that they later regret. They rely on the fact that most people will want them to go away and as a result they’ll agree to anything that will make that happen.
Remember that you don’t actually need to talk to them on your doorstep. Although you’ll have to deal with the debt at some point, you’re well within your rights to tell them that you’re not prepared to talk to them.
Also, remember that if they visit you they are not allowed to take any of your property. Only a court-appointed bailiff can do that.
What if I Cannot Pay?
If you cannot afford to repay the debt in full and cannot afford to repay the debt by instalments, it’s still not the end of the world.
Transcom can take you to court to obtain a CCJ. This will have a negative impact on your credit history, but even if you end up being taken to court, you cannot be sent to prison.
If a CCJ is issued, you won’t need to repay the debt in full immediately unless you can afford to do so. The court will assess your monthly income and expenditure to determine how much you can afford to pay each month to settle the debt. The amount you have to pay could be lower than the amount Transcom were asking for.
If you do not make the repayments that the court has decided that you need to pay, the court may send a bailiff to your home. Unlike the Transcom representative, that bailiff does have powers to take your property – although a bailiff’s powers are more limited than most people think so it is worth taking advice if it comes to that.
If I Genuinely Cannot Pay Anything?
If you genuinely cannot pay anything you might need to consider insolvency. This writes off all of your debts, but will affect your credit rating so you might not find it easy to get credit for a while.
Your credit rating won’t just affect your ability to get bank loans and credit cards. It could also mean that you cannot get a mobile phone contract and you could also struggle to rent a home.
There are three types of insolvency:
Debt Relief Orders
If you don’t earn much, don’t own anything of value and the amount you owe is relatively small, a Debt Relief Order could leave you debt free within a year.
A Debt Relief Order freezes your debts for a year so you don’t have to make any repayments. At the end of the year those debts are written off.
There is a small fee to pay if you decide that you need to apply for a Debt Relief Order.
Find out more about a Debt Relief Orders and how to go about getting one in my DRO guide here.
Individual Voluntary Arrangement
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement usually lasts for five years so it won’t make you debt free as quickly as a Debt Relief Order.
However, it is an option for people who don’t qualify for a Debt Relief Order and usually you can keep your home if you are a home owner.
Unlike Debt Relief Orders, under an Individual Voluntary Arrangement you have to continue making some debt repayments. But any debt remaining at the end of the period is written off.
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.
Bankruptcy is another option for people who do not qualify for a Debt Relief Order.
Unlike an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, people who opt to declare themselves bankrupt become debt free in a year when they have been discharged from their bankruptcy.
However, it is not as straightforward as that.
If you declare yourself bankrupt, you have to pay a £680 fee to do that. Also, there is a good chance that you could lose your home, your car and even your job depending on what you do for a living.
Transcom are a legitimate debt collection agency.
If they contact you, you should make sure that your own the money that they are claiming that you owe. If you don’t owe the money, Transcom will need to either contact the person that does owe the money or mark the debt as settled.
If you do owe the money you should pay if it you can afford to do so, either in full or by agreeing to a repayment plan, either directly with Transcom or via a Debt Management Plan.
If you cannot afford to repay the debt even by instalments it’s quite possible that Transcom will take you to court to obtain a CCJ, but even if they do that, you cannot be sent to prison for non-payment of the debt.
You may need to consider insolvency if your financial situation has got to the point where you are unable to repay your debts, but if that’s the case, there are a number of options available to you.