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Electoral Roll Search/ Debt Collector Hassle

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I'm trying to gather some evidence to prove our address in 2001. Some nasty debt collecting agency seems to think my wife owes a mobile phone debt from 2001. She didn't have a mobile phone in 2001. We… Read More
spudgun Avatar
1d, 5m agoPosted 1 decade, 5 months ago
I'm trying to gather some evidence to prove our address in 2001. Some nasty debt collecting agency seems to think my wife owes a mobile phone debt from 2001.
She didn't have a mobile phone in 2001. We sent council tax records but now they are asking for our marriage certificate. I am getting really pissed off with this and don't really want to keep sending personal documents to some random company (Wescot Credit Services Ltd).
The company have obviously just sent out letters to everybody with my wifes name in the vicinity of the true debt.
I am trying to find the information online but you seem to have to pay for it.(192.com) Anybody know any free electoral searches? Why don't the company just get this information themselves?
Also any advice on how to get this horrible debt collector off our back without having to pay for a lawyer? Are we within our rights to charge the company for sending in information.

Any help appreciated rep given. :-(
spudgun Avatar
1d, 5m agoPosted 1 decade, 5 months ago
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#1
I have UK Info disc which shows this information. If you PM / email me I can try and search for you to prove it.

I don't think there are any free electoral role ones though, although 192 may have a free trial or something
#2
spudgun
I'm trying to gather some evidence to prove our address in 2001. Some nasty debt collecting agency seems to think my wife owes a mobile phone debt from 2001.
She didn't have a mobile phone in 2001. We sent council tax records but now they are asking for our marriage certificate. I am getting really pissed off with this and don't really want to keep sending personal documents to some random company (Wescot Credit Services Ltd).
The company have obviously just sent out letters to everybody with my wifes name in the vicinity of the true debt.
I am trying to find the information online but you seem to have to pay for it.(192.com) Anybody know any free electoral searches? Why don't the company just get this information themselves?
Also any advice on how to get this horrible debt collector off our back without having to pay for a lawyer? Are we within our rights to charge the company for sending in information.

Any help appreciated rep given. :-(
Why don't you go to the CAB and ask them to help?
#3
Have a gander on MSE, they sometimes have good advice with anything credit/finance related which should include unscrupulous debt collection agencies.
#4
Thanks for the advice. I work fulltime so going to the CAB isn't possible really. On googling this company it appears they have a very bad reputation. MSE have a few threads I will look through.
Its just a complete hassle when my wife never even had a debt to start with. I feel like just ignoring them but it would be my wife who would have to deal with the debt collector heavies at our doorstep. I'm also concerned if I ignore it something will happen to our blemish free credit rating.
#5
Have just drafted a letter to send to them, feedback re this letter welcome.

" 28/01/07



Dear Sir/Madam,

Wescot Reference Number: *****

Client Reference Number: *******

Under S78 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 I demand a true copy of this alleged debt agreement as well as a certified copy of the original default notice.

I refuse to send your company any further private information about my wife.

From a quick internet search I see it would be very easy for your company to confirm from electoral roll information that my wife resided at

*****************************************************
Her maiden name was ******* and we were married on 5/04/02.

This information is available for a fee from 192.com and other companies. I see no reason why we should pay anything.

If you continue to pursue this case with us I will contact the police since harassment is a criminal offence. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it a criminal offence for any person to pursue a course of action "which they know, or ought to know, amounts to harassment of another person."

I will also be contacting the Office of Fair Trading and local Trading Standards office regarding this.

I will also contact a solicitor to sue for the illegal practises of your agents if this harassment doesn’t stop.

I enclose a print out of the free search information from 192.com. Maybe your company could use this sort of facility before sending out demand notices to the wrong people!

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely, "



Hope this stops them hassling us.
#6
well, if that doesn't work i don't know what will. very 'to the point' and easy to understand. Fingers crossed :thumbsup:
#7
hopefully that letter will help.

I remember wescot chasing my bf a few years back because he bought a orange mobile on pay as u go and orange started billing us for contract! We obviously didn't pay and orange were not ery helpful and it got handed to wescot. It was a complete nightmare at the time to get them of our backs but eventually it all got sorted after orange admitted what a ballsup they had made.
#8
Good letter.

They should have provided you with copies of the original alleged debt agreement from the start.

The only suggestion that I can add is to write to ex neighbours for confirmation in writing of your address in 2001.

I feel for you as our son is having the same trouble with the IR. They keep sending him a tax claim to his address but with someone elses name on the envelope. The first letter was opened before he noticed the wrong name but the form inside was in his name. According to his accountant the amount of tax they claim he owes is completely wrong and must apply to the person named on the envelope.

The accountant informed them of the mistake but another envelope arrived last week with the same name. It's like punching custard.:x
#9
I think they were one of the companies who were on that channel 4 program where the bloke goes undercover and does all those daft things that nearly get him kneecapped or worse (can't remember is name) and they did some rather dubious things like climbing a drainpipe to see if anyone was in an upstairs flat and saying they had already called twice before when they had'nt and making people pay the call outs whcih the then pocketed.

Chaos
just remembered it was Donal McIntyre :)
#10
i had a similar thing happen to me. we used to get alot of post for one lady and one day opened the door to be asked if i was this lady i said no etc and they handed me a form basically saying he was a balif and council tax was owed from not even the person before me, it was before them. Then recieved a post card with a hand written note on it saying "ring george at such n such company" so i rang and again was asked if i was this woman i said no and after that it all went away but i watched that balif program and they like put there foot inside the door so u cudnt shut the front door etc i was worried something like this would happen to me and ive got a 2 yr old aswell. i know its really obvious but just dont let them ever come in my fiance used to say this all the time and id be like i wont obviously but he was saying to me like if they want u to proove ur not this woman shut the door then go and get id rather than leaving it open coz on this program they like let themselfs in and was v.hard to get rid of ((( to be fair these were ppl that did owe money it wasnt a mistake
1 Like #11
I'd recommend sending this letter by recorded delivery:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I do not acknowledge ANY debt to your company. I require you to supply the following documentation before I will correspond further on this matter.

1. You must supply me with a true copy of the alleged agreement you refer to. This is my right under your obligation to supply a copy of the agreement under the legislation within s.78 (1) Consumer Credit Act 1974 (s.77 (1) for fixed sum credit). Your obligation also extends to providing a statement of account. I enclose a £1 postal order / cheque in payment of the statutory fee.

2. A signed true copy of the deed of assignment of the above referenced agreement that you allege exists.


3. You are notified that you are obliged to supply these documents, whether you are the original creditor or not under s.189 of the CCA 1974.

Non-compliance with my request is a criminal offence under the above Act and will result in a report being submitted to the relevant statutory authorities.

As you are aware, a credit agreement that is not properly documented and signed by the customer is totally unenforceable under the CCA and therefore is a complete defence to any court claim that is issued.

Take noted at this stage, that any legal action you may contemplate will be both vigorously defended and contested.

Yours,


It covers a lot of the same details as yours but with couple of extra points, mainly it puts more emphasis on the fact you know they are legally obliged to send the information your request (the £1 fee is a legal requirement too I'm afraid). There's no need to try and defend yourself by mentioning the address issue, the onus is on the debt collector to prove that you owe the money, not on you to prove you don't and the law is on your side in this area (although debt collectors will try and convince you the reverse is true). Unless they can produce a credit agreement signed by your wife, legally there is no debt.

The letter was copied and pasted from this site: http://www.debthelpuk.co.uk/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi
which I highly recommend if you need any sort of debt advice.
#12
That sounds very on the ball, will amend my letter accordingly. Thanks.
#13
If this debt is in your O/H's name even if she hasn't had it, have you looked at her credit record?

It maybe that someone has used her information to obtain a phone. I have had lots of experience with debt collectors in the past including wescot. They wont be interested in you telling them the debt isn't yours. You need to go to the root of the problem. You need to go to the phone company afterall it is them who instructed wescot.

I do hope you manage to sort this out i know how it feels to be hounded by the bailiffs.
#14
BECKYBOO
If this debt is in your O/H's name even if she hasn't had it, have you looked at her credit record?

It maybe that someone has used her information to obtain a phone.


Quite possibly, either that or someone at either Wescot or the mobile company screwed up and put the wrong name against the contract.

BECKYBOO
I have had lots of experience with debt collectors in the past including wescot. They wont be interested in you telling them the debt isn't yours. You need to go to the root of the problem. You need to go to the phone company afterall it is them who instructed wescot.


I agree with the first part, most Debt Collection Agencies are lying, bullying scumbags and Wescot are amongst the worst. If Wescot now own the debt it's because they bought it off the mobile company, going back to the original company now won't be much use, they'll just say the debt has been passed on and refer you to Wescot. In any event it's not your responsibility to do this, it's up to Wescot to prove spudgun's wife owes the debt by producing a credit agreement (or in this case a phone contract) signed be her. If they can't do that then there's no debt.

Stand firm on this, refuse to back down and remember the law is on your side.

BECKYBOO
I do hope you manage to sort this out i know how it feels to be hounded by the bailiffs.


Ditto. I've had major debt problems in the past, luckily it didn't get to the stage of bailiffs but I have plenty of experience of debt collectors.
[mod]#15
I think they were one of the companies who were on that channel 4 program where the bloke goes undercover and does all those daft things that nearly get him kneecapped or worse (can't remember is name) and they did some rather dubious things like climbing a drainpipe to see if anyone was in an upstairs flat and saying they had already called twice before when they had'nt and making people pay the call outs whcih the then pocketed.

Chaos
just remembered it was Donal McIntyre


I have just read your letter spudgun, cant believe these guys are hasslingyou like this.

As soon as i read the name Wescot Credit Services Ltd i knew it rang a bell . I almost sure these guys were on rogue traders ........


Hope you get this all sorted soon!
#16
Thanks for the feedback. My letter in nearly ready for sending. We are both really angry about this. Hopefully our letter will shut them up.
#17
Interesting thread, some quite useful info and comments.
Good luck spudgun.
1 Like #18
My letter has changed a bit.

""Without Prejudice

Wescot Reference Number: ********


Client Reference Number: **********


Dear Sir / Madam,

I do not acknowledge ANY debt to your company. I require you to supply the following documentation before I will correspond further on this matter.

1. You must supply me with a true copy of the alleged agreement you refer to. This is my right under your obligation to supply a copy of the agreement under the legislation within s.78 (1) Consumer Credit Act 1974 (s.77 (1) for fixed sum credit). Your obligation also extends to providing a statement of account. I enclose a £1 postal order / cheque in payment of the statutory fee.

2. A signed true copy of the deed of assignment of the above referenced agreement that you allege exists.


3. You are notified that you are obliged to supply these documents, whether you are the original creditor or not under s.189 of the CCA 1974.

Non-compliance with my request is a criminal offence under the above Act and will result in a report being submitted to the relevant statutory authorities.

As you are aware, a credit agreement that is not properly documented and signed by the customer is totally unenforceable under the CCA and therefore is a complete defence to any court claim that is issued.

Take note at this stage, that any legal action you may contemplate will be both vigorously defended and contested.


If you continue to pursue this case with us I will contact the police since harassment is a criminal offence. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it a criminal offence for any person to pursue a course of action "which they know, or ought to know, amounts to harassment of another person."

I will also be contacting the Office of Fair Trading and local Trading Standards office regarding this.

I will also contact a solicitor to sue for the illegal practises of your agents if this harassment doesn’t stop.


I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely, ""



Not sure about sending them £1 but if it stops them from wriggling out of my demands fine.
#19
That's a very good letter. I'm glad you put 'Without Prejudice' at the top. :thumbsup:

If you send £1.00, would a cheque be better than a Postal Order because you can see if/when it's been cashed.
Are you going to send it Recorded Delivery?
#20
Put a cheque in and sent recoreded delivery this morning,will report back the response.
#21
What does the "without prejudice" mean? I have never seen it before.
#22
markwills
What does the "without prejudice" mean? I have never seen it before.


How to use a "without prejudice"

Using 'without prejudice' in a dispute means what you say can't be used against you if the dispute turns into court proceedings, but only if you use it properly.

Commonly, you use ‘without prejudice’ if you are making an offer to settle a dispute that you don’t want used against you in court as an admission, or as evidence of what you are prepared to pay as compensation, if the other side refuses your offer.



More info here.....

http://www.geoffreyleaver.com/resources/resource.asp?DeptID=2&SubDeptID=126&toolkitid=130
#23
understood. thanks :-)
1 Like #24
This problem was on watchdog today, dunno if you watched it
http://www.bbc.co.uk/consumer/tv_and_radio/watchdog/reports/insurance_and_finance/insurance_20070130.shtml

pretty sure wescot was mentioned too :)

contact the Credit Services Association and make a complaint (it's the industry guild association thingy)
http://www.csa-uk.com/

do a search on the csa website for its members details, to wescots ceo's (I think) details. Make his life hell :evil:
#25
As Steve said - CAB. We had similar cause for help recently* - found out that there is some legal assistance available from my husbands insurance policy. We also signed up to the 3 months free WHICH guides. This also meant that we could use WHICH legal services.( have diced to keep with them :thumbsup: )
*Husband has no credit card, but needed a hire car to visit teminally ill mother. A freind used his card to hire a car from HERTZ :whistling: which was driven from Salisbury to Leeds (Registered round trip of about 600miles). Friends credit card was billed 65.00 (30.00 fine and 35.00 'admin') for a parking ticket issued in Edinburgh!! Took about a month of wrangling but have been refunded 65.00 + 50.00 goodwill - so stick with it sounds like they have a very weak case - don't let the ******** grind you down:x :x :x
#26
I had a similar problem with this company about six months ago. I told them it was not my debt and was informed I was "stupid" if I did not pay it anyway as I would only be liable for more costs if it was taken to Court. I questioned the girl on the phone and asked her if she would pay a debt that was not her's and she said she certainly would but she refused to give her name to me. Anyway I found out her name and she has now received a bill from me for my time in trying the sort the matter out (as a solicitor, which I had not told them). I have heard nothing from them since other than confirmation the file has been closed and nothing is outstanding!
#27
fireheaven
I had a similar problem with this company about six months ago. I told them it was not my debt and was informed I was "stupid" if I did not pay it anyway as I would only be liable for more costs if it was taken to Court. I questioned the girl on the phone and asked her if she would pay a debt that was not her's and she said she certainly would but she refused to give her name to me. Anyway I found out her name and she has now received a bill from me for my time in trying the sort the matter out (as a solicitor, which I had not told them). I have heard nothing from them since other than confirmation the file has been closed and nothing is outstanding!
LOL :thumbsup:
#28
MoneySavingG
This problem was on watchdog today, dunno if you watched it
http://www.bbc.co.uk/consumer/tv_and_radio/watchdog/reports/insurance_and_finance/insurance_20070130.shtml

pretty sure wescot was mentioned too :)

contact the Credit Services Association and make a complaint (it's the industry guild association thingy)
http://www.csa-uk.com/

do a search on the csa website for its members details, to wescots ceo's (I think) details. Make his life hell :evil:


Bummer, would have been interested to watch that. I think whatever happens I will be making further complaints and may well charge for my time. I've spent several hours researching this on the internet. £40/ hour sounds about right. Bill to Wesco for £120. Maybe I will sell the debt to a collector if they don't pay up.:-D
#29
Really good letters, hopefully you should get somewhere with theses.

Wescot are a complete and utter nightmare, I unfortunately had dealings with them a few years ago. I have also had dealings with a couple of other companies over the years, the other companies were really accommodating and understanding, shame the same could not be said about Wescot. They are a bunch of bullies who really don't care about anything except collecting the debt.

At one point they demanded an increase on the payments that I couldn't afford, they weren't interested that I couldn't afford the increase, their attitude was tough! If I didn't pay they threatened me with court action.

Good luck hope you get it sorted
#30
fireheaven
I had a similar problem with this company about six months ago. I told them it was not my debt and was informed I was "stupid" if I did not pay it anyway as I would only be liable for more costs if it was taken to Court. I questioned the girl on the phone and asked her if she would pay a debt that was not her's and she said she certainly would but she refused to give her name to me. Anyway I found out her name and she has now received a bill from me for my time in trying the sort the matter out (as a solicitor, which I had not told them). I have heard nothing from them since other than confirmation the file has been closed and nothing is outstanding!


So is my letter reasonable from a lawyers standpoint? Looking for free legal advice :whistling:
#31
spudgun
So is my letter reasonable from a lawyers standpoint? Looking for free legal advice :whistling:


Think your letter is spot on. Would just advise you to add "save as to costs" after without prejudice at the top of the letter. This will then enable you to draw your letter to the attention of the Court (if it got that far which I doubt) where costs of the matter are concerned.
#32
A very imformative thread, been a joy reading this one tonight, well done gang
#33
engadine
At one point they demanded an increase on the payments that I couldn't afford, they weren't interested that I couldn't afford the increase, their attitude was tough! If I didn't pay they threatened me with court action.


LOL, that old chestnut. This is the standard Debt Collectors threat, preying on peoples fears of what 'being taken to court' entails.

What they're referring too is a County Court Judgement (CCJ), in practice these are usually only issued against people who are making no payments at all. What happens is the court will look at your income and outgoings and decide what a fair monthly payment would be (the court will NEVER under any circumstances leave you with less money than you need to live on). If the judge sees you're already making reasonable payments it's highly likely he'd charge Wescot with wasting the courts time.
#34
Another useful link: http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/

They provide completely impartial advice on any debt issues you might have.
#35
Scorpius
LOL, that old chestnut. This is the standard Debt Collectors threat, preying on peoples fears of what 'being taken to court' entails.

What they're referring too is a County Court Judgement (CCJ), in practice these are usually only issued against people who are making no payments at all. What happens is the court will look at your income and outgoings and decide what a fair monthly payment would be (the court will NEVER under any circumstances leave you with less money than you need to live on). If the judge sees you're already making reasonable payments it's highly likely he'd charge Wescot with wasting the courts time.

Thank you, very interesting.

Only yesterday I was speaking to a company about a £148 bill I owe and had recieved a court threat. (Companies seem to mention the word "court" very quicky these days, I had only had the bill for a month!) . I said I would pay it by the 6th, but I also asked, "would it be okay if I can only afford £120 and pay the £28 later?". The woman told me I must pay the amount in full or they would continue the court proceedings". I said in shock "You would take me to court for 28 quid??!" She said "yes".

would this be one of those "wasting the courts time" situations? I would love to have come back with that one on the phone yesterday!
#36
pubjoe


would this be one of those "wasting the courts time" situations? I would love to have come back with that one on the phone yesterday!



Not really, as they can take you to Court to secure the Debt by way of a Court Order (CCJ) if they think that you are likely to default or are in difficulties and may have problems paying in the future.

I used to do this for the big banks / lenders for my sins :oops:
#37
UPDATE:

Response form Wescot.

"Dear Madam,

A/N ****** Client WCS-Singlepoint

Following your recent request for a copy of the opening agreement,

We can confirm under the terms of the consumer credit act(exempt agreements) order 1989, article 3(1)(a) this account is not regulated by the consumer credit act and is enforceable.

We can advise that Wescot Credit Services have consulted a third party tracing agency who have provided us with your forwarding address. In order for us to resolve your query and establish your liability we would appreciate confirmation of your previous address from May 2001 to date.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter and we look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs F Willey
Accounts Collection Controller"


So they still want more information from us and haven't given us a copy of this contract. As a matter of principal I don't want to send copies of our council tax for the past 6 years.

Advice on response to this letter please. :)
1 Like #38
not sure if this is any help but i know of a website that deals with all this type of stuff , i am sure the debt if owed would be time barred ,i will add a link hope it help

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/
#39
spudgun
UPDATE:

Response form Wescot.

"Dear Madam,

A/N ****** Client WCS-Singlepoint

Following your recent request for a copy of the opening agreement,

We can confirm under the terms of the consumer credit act(exempt agreements) order 1989, article 3(1)(a) this account is not regulated by the consumer credit act and is enforceable.

We can advise that Wescot Credit Services have consulted a third party tracing agency who have provided us with your forwarding address. In order for us to resolve your query and establish your liability we would appreciate confirmation of your previous address from May 2001 to date.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter and we look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs F Willey
Accounts Collection Controller"


So they still want more information from us and haven't given us a copy of this contract. As a matter of principal I don't want to send copies of our council tax for the past 6 years.

Advice on response to this letter please. :)


Ok, never heard that one before. I've done a little research and it seems what they're saying may be right. BUT I think this could work in your favour as it may actually make the debt harder to enforce.

I'm not an expert though so can't 100% gaurantee that is the case, I'd very strongly advise registering here: http://www.debthelpuk.co.uk/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi (I know I keep plugging this site but some of the regular posters there really do know their stuff) and posting the background to this along with the letter you sent and Wescot's reply.
#40
An added source of help and information is here :
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=370548

Good luck, I hope you get it sorted.

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