Watch Portfolio Management Debt Collectors usually work on behalf of banks or other financial institutions, or debt purchasers. This means you’ve likely received a letter because you’ve missed payments on a credit card or defaulted on a loan.
Many people are also contacted after debt that is in an IVA is purchased by a lender who holds a portfolio with this firm.
That all sounds awfully confusing and you might be wondering, well who are Watch Portfolio Management and why am I receiving letters?
In this guide, you’ll learn all you need to know about this debt collection firm and how to deal with them if you receive a letter.
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 Watch Portfolio Management?
Watch Portfolio Management are a creditor agent. This means they oversee all aspects of personal insolvency and debt management.
They used to be called IVA Watch – so don’t be surprised if this name appears on your letter.
They work on behalf of both debt lenders and debt purchasers. For debt purchasers, they manage their portfolios and on-board new debt.
For lenders, they chase unpaid debts (known as insolvency cases). The majority of their clients are banks and financial institutions.
Is Watch Portfolio Management a Legitimate Firm?
Yes, Watch Portfolio Management are a legitimate firm, so never assume letters or calls from this firm are a scam.
They are based in Lisburn, Northern Island and have a team of 40 people. They are also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Why is Watch Portfolio Management Contacting Me?
If you have missed payments on a bank loan, credit card, or financing from a lender, they have hired Watch Portfolio Management Debt Collectors to recover the debt owed.
Alternatively, your debt has been purchased by a debt purchaser who has hired Watch Portfolio to manage the debt on their behalf.
When you receive a letter from this debt collection firm, it should state who the original lender is and how much you owe.
If you don’t recognise the lender or the debt claimed in the letter, don’t panic. We’ll look at the steps to take in this case later in the guide.
Can I Ignore Letters from Watch Portfolio Management?
If you ignore all letters and phone calls from this debt management firm, they will continue to send more.
What’s more, if you ignore them for long enough, they might escalate the matter to court.
Remember, Watch Portfolio Management are working on behalf of a client, so they’re not going to give up chasing you for the debt.
Your best course of action is to reply as soon as possible to prevent further action.
So I Need to Just Pay What They Are Asking?
Although it’s in your best interest to respond to Watch Portfolio Management, you should not pay the debt without first ensuring the debt is legitimate.
Sometimes, debt collectors chase people’s debt even though there is no legal obligation for them to pay it back. So you should check whether you are legally required to pay what they’re asking before handing over a penny.
All you need to do is write to the firm or call them to let them know you’ve received their letter and you’ll be in touch after looking into their claim of debt further.
This will show them that you are willing to talk to them and there is no need to escalate the case further.
Will Watch Portfolio Management Take Me to Court?
Although this is a portfolio management firm and not a solicitor, they do have the power to take you to court if you don’t pay the debt owed.
Having said that, they will do all they can to retrieve the debt from you without involving the expense of courts.
Here are the steps the firm will take to recover the debt from you:
1. Send letters
First, you’ll receive a letter letting you know you the amount owed, the original lender, and how to pay it back. This letter should also include a deadline for the debt to be paid by.
If you don’t respond, you’ll get further letters and calls from this firm chasing you to pay the debt.
3. Send a default notice
If letters go unanswered, you’ll get a default notice letting you know your account is being closed. If the debt isn’t paid before the account is officially closed (usually in two weeks), they may threaten legal action.
You may continue to receive letters or phone calls insisting you pay the debt owed.
4. Issue a County Court Judgement
If they fail to retrieve the debt from you, the original lender may decide to take you to court. Bear in mind this is only an option if the debt is large enough to warrant court fees.
It’s best to avoid getting to this point as court fees are usually involved, making the amount you pay higher. Also, once a County Court Judgement is given, you can no longer negotiate a monthly payment plan or reduced amount with the lender.
6. Apply for an Attachment of Earnings Order
They also have the power to apply for an Attachment of Earnings Order which will take the debt owed directly from your wages if possible.
Can Watch Portfolio Management Repossess My House?
If the original debt was secured against your home, it is possible that your house could be repossessed to recover the debt.
If the debt was unsecured, the lender can file for a Charging Order which secures your debt against your home. If you fail to make payments, your house can be repossessed to cover the debt.
However, this is rare and usually only filed in cases where the debt owed is substantial.
What if I’m Being Harassed By Watch Portfolio Management Debt Collectors?
Are you receiving too many phone calls or letters from this debt collection firm? Perhaps you feel pressured to pay back the debt even though you can’t afford it?
Debt collection firms often use underhand tactics to recover debt as quickly as possible. If they overstep the line, you have the right to file a complaint.
Make a Complaint Against Watch Portfolio Management Debt Collectors
You need to first file a complaint with the company directly and give them a chance to resolve the issue:
Post: IVA Watch LTD t/a, Watch Portfolio Management, Units 3 & 4, Lagan House, Sackville Street, Lisburn
Phone: 028 9260 0700
What to Do After Receiving a Letter from Watch Portfolio Management
As soon as you receive a letter from this debt collector, here’s what you need to do:
1. Acknowledge the letter
Many people think it’s best to ignore debt collection letters, but the opposite is true. If you send a quick response acknowledging you have received their letter and you’re going to look into the claims, you’ll stop further letters clogging up your letterbox.
This doesn’t mean you admit to owing money or are tied into making payments. You can even make it clear in the letter that you dispute the debt and need time to look at your options.
If possible, keep all communication in writing. This makes it easy to keep a record of everything that was said if you need to lodge a complaint later.
2. Ask for proof of the debt
When you contact Watch Portfolio Management, ask for proof of the debt. They will need to send you the original signed documents showing you took out the loan, credit card, or equivalent.
If they can’t provide proof of the debt, they may continue to send threatening letters insisting the debt is paid. But until they can provide proof of the debt, you do not need to make a payment.
3. Check if the debt is yours
If you’re unsure whether the debt is legitimate, you can ring the original lender to get more information. This is usually a bank or other financial institution, who should have a record of either hiring a debt collector or selling your debt onto a third party debt purchaser.
You can also check your credit report to see if the debt is listed. If the debt is in your name, it will appear in your credit report and probably flag up as a black spot that is negatively affecting your score.
4. Check if the debt is Statute Barred
In England, debt becomes statute barred if:
- It’s been six years since you took on the debt and you’ve never made a payment
- Or it’s been six years since you made your last payment
If your debt is Statute Barred, you can write to Watch Portfolio Management letting them know that this is the case and you will not be making a payment.
What if I Can’t Afford to Pay Watch Portfolio Management?
If you’ve completed the steps above, you will only need to pay the debt back if:
- Watch Portfolio Management have provided proof of the debt
- The debt is listed in your name on your credit report
- The debt is not statute barred (less than six years old)
If you can’t afford to pay the debt, here are your options:
Arrange a payment plan
If you can’t afford to pay the debt as a lump sum, you may be able to arrange a monthly repayment plan with Watch Portfolio Management. If you choose this route make sure you can afford the monthly payments.
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a good option if you have multiple debts and are struggling to make your minimum payments.
A Debt Relief Order
This is another option if your debt is less than £20,000, you don’t own a home, and you have a low income.
The Snowball Method
If you have money to spare each month but are struggling to put together a plan to pay down your debts, the snowball method is a great option for you.
You are in Control
Just because you’ve received a letter from Watch Portfolio Management Debt Collectors doesn’t mean your only option is to pay them back immediately.
As we’ve seen in this post, there are three important steps to take to ensure the debt is yours:
1. Ask for proof
2. Check your credit score
3. Check the Statute of limitations
Even if the debt is yours, there are also many options to help you if you’re struggling to pay your debt. If you’re interested in exploring more options to help you get out of debt, make sure to head to our debt management guide here.