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Gruffle Gaw

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Everything posted by Gruffle Gaw

  1. Hi there. You should do several things: 1) check that it is an ORIGINAL copy, signed by yourself and a member of their staff and dated appropriately. 2) Read through it and see what, if anything, it says about collection fees in the event the account falls into arrears. Let us know and we'll advise you further.
  2. Good question, and the answer is I don't know. However, Paypal do have a contact telephone number and I have spoken to a real person in the past using it. It is somewhere on their web site - I'll browse around and see if I can find it. I suggest you call them on it and ask them directly.
  3. As Tbern said he's not claiming for libel I guess it's academic, but this is a course of action that does interest me in relation to debt companies falsely amending credit records and I do wonder why more people don't sue them on these grounds. Even if there were previous blemishes on your credit record, you would still be able to sue, though damages may not be as high. There is a provision under defamation law that says that if the damaging allegation made would not cause more damage to a persons' reputation than other facts that had been proven, you can't sue for libel. But in practice, this has to be very extreme to work as a defence. It wouldn't work, for example, if a newspaper erroneously alleged that a man convicted of shoplifting had committed robbery (theft with violence, a more serious offence). He would still be able to sue. Similarly, even if a credit record is blemished, adding another defamatory statement causes further damage over and above the damage that can be proven to be the claimant's fault. In Tbern's case, he would almost certainly be able to successfully sue for libel as well if he wanted to.
  4. Yep. I'd skip the ombudsmen for the reasons pointed out by other posters and go straight for the jugular - take them to court. There are only two thinga that make big companies do the right thing - court action and bad publicity on a big scale, both of which affect their wallets.
  5. Ghost town, did you do everything correctly (e.g. ask for the information under the appropriate Act of Parliament, send them the £1 fee, keep proof of postage)? If so, you are now in a very strong position as you can prove they have committed a criminal offence and what's more, they can't enforce the debt at all if they don't have one. You should certainly report the matter to the police (get a crime reference number) and the Office of Fair Trading. There are further remedies you can take as well, such as taking them to court to obtain an order that they remove the default notice from your record, since they can't prove the debt is yours. You can ask for the court to award compensation in an amount in deems suitable as well. Theoretically you could also sue them for defamation as they have communicated in writing to a third party (whoever accesses the credit report) an untrue and damaging statement about you. This could get complicated and expensive (more for them than you), but the law is on your side in that the onus is on them to prove that what they said is true (you own the debt), not on you to prove it's false. They would almost certainly lose and may well agree to settle out of court. If you are thinking of taking this route PM me and I'll talk through defamation law with you.
  6. If all else fails you could sue them for defamation, though this could get complicated and expensive. I am pretty well up on defamation law (I work as a journalist) so if you are thinking of going down this route feel free to PM me for advice.
  7. This could be a complicated issue and your colleague's best bet is to contact the planning department of your local district or city council, who will be able to advise him or her of the situation and his or her rights.
  8. There are also several things you can do to force them to remove the note on your credit report and receive compensation for the fact they put it on there in the first place. However, it would be wise to gather evidence that the debt is not actually yours before proceeding down this route.
  9. Secondly, you have a legal right to a copy the original credit agreement. Send them the following letter, and don't forget to keep a copy of it, obtain proof of postage (you can get a certificate of postage free from the post office) and include the statutory £1 fee in the form of a cheque or postal order. [Your address] [The date] [Their address] Dear Sir/Madam Re:− Account/Reference Number 4563210025897412 I do not acknowledge ANY debt with regard to the above account. Before I will communicate with you further, I require a copy of the original credit agreement. Under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Sections 77−79), I am entitled to receive a copy of this credit agreement on request. I enclose a payment of £1.00 which represents the fee payable under the Consumer Credit Act. I understand a copy of the credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days. Under the Consumer Credit Act, creditors are unable to enforce an agreement if they fail to comply with a request for a copy of the agreement under these sections of the Act. Furthermore, failure to comply with this request within 30 days constitutes a criminal offence and in this instance I will have no hesitation in informing the relevant authorities, including the police, Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading, which I understand is already investigating your company. Please note that any legal action you may be considering in relation to the above account will be vigorously contested. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully [Your name] By the way, the OFT is indeed investigating MacKenzie Hall because of its appalling disregard for the law and industry standards. This company will attempt to bully you, hassle you and wear you down, but if the debt has expired under the 6-year statute of limitations they CANNOT collect it unless you admit you owe it, regardless of what they tell you. My advice is to refuse to communicate with them over the phone, put EVERYTHING in writing and keep copies and proof of postage of ALL correspondence.
  10. Good advice so far. I'd take lookinforinfo's line of thinking one step further and write to the companies who are calling you all the time, saying that you consider their constant calls harassment as defined under the Harassment Act 1997 and that you demand all future communication is directed to you in writing. I'd consider buying a telephone recording device as well (about £10 from Maplins) so that if they do persist, you have evidence of this. Also, if you tell them that the call is being recorded they are likely to end it very quickly as debt collection agencies frequently break the law and are unlikely to want this recorded. Now, as far as the debts themselves are concerned I highly recommend your wife visits the Citizens Advice Bureau to talk through her problems. Not only will they help her devise a payment plan based around her budget (which the companies are very likely to accept) but they will also get them all to stop pursuing the debt for a month or so while payment arrangements are made. Also, a lot of unlawful charges are likely to have been added on to these various accounts, as it seems common practice for debt collection agencies to add on whopping great fees, despite the fact they have no legal right to do so. You can force them to remove these, though it will be a bit of a struggle. The first thing to do is to write to all her creditors under the Data Protection Act asking for a list of all the charges that have been applied to her account. There's a template letter here - it's designed for claiming such charges back from banks but you can adapt to suit your purposes: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/bank-templates-library/516-1-data-protection-act.html Which legal argument you should use to get the charges back from a debt collection agency depends on whether or not there is a clause in your contract with the original service provider that says they can charge you collection fees if the account goes overdrawn. Even if there is, you can still get the charges knocked off but on a different point of law: 1) If there is such a clause, they must be able to demonstrate that the charges are a reasonable reflection of their costs, otherwise they are unlawful and thus unenforceable. It is unlikely that they will be able to justify a £30 charge for a couple of automated letters as being a reasonable reflection of their costs. There's a specific legal process you need to follow in this instance, which I'll go into if it arises. 2) If there is no such clause, they cannot add any collection charges whatsoever. Not a penny. To establish which argument you are going to take, you need to see a copy of the original contracts. You are entitled to do so by law, provided you submit your request in writing and enclose a £1 fee. It is a criminal offence for them not to supply you with these documents within 30 days of the request. Furthermore, if they do not have them the debt is unenforceable anyway. There is a template letter for this here - letter N is the one you need: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-bailiffs-advice/20758-creditors-dcas-letter-templates.html Finally, I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping a copy of every letter you send along with proof of postage. You can get a certificate of postage free from the post office and a judge will assume that the letter was received if you present him with this. Debt is frightening but there are many things your wife can do to reduce the problem and she is not alone. She does need to take an active role in tackling it though, or things will get worse not better. Keep us updated and we'll try to help as you go along with this.
  11. Yes. MacKenzie Hall is at the fag end of this dubious industry. Its staff seem to specialise in buying in unenforceable debts very cheaply and attempting to bully unwitting members of the public into paying them. There are many things you can do about this. For the moment, DO NOT ADMIT TO OWING ANY MONEY WHATSOEVER. Even if the debt were yours, if you have not admitted to owing any money on the accounts or made any payments for more than six years it is unenforceable by law unless you admit you owe it, in which case the six-year period starts all over again. Have you made any payments or admissions during the last six years?
  12. Ah. I didn't consider that, and it would appear you are right blacksheep. Sorry metalrat, I'm out of ideas.
  13. About a year ago I went into arrears with my council tax and the council added a £40 recovery charge on to the debt. Since I have begun to benefit from the advice on this forum, I have been wondering whether this charge is unlawful and something I can claim back. As far as I am aware, I have no contract with the council that would specify they can collect anything at all from me if the account falls into arrears. Does anyone know if councils have any legal basis for applying collection charges to council tax accounts?
  14. Oh, and I am sure you are already doing this, but remember to keep copies of EVERYTHING you send these cowboys so that your backs are covered if this does progress to court.
  15. Good advice. Additionally, the £30 admin fee is almost certainly unlawful on one of two grounds: 1) You have no contract with the finance company allowing them to charge you for anything (not a penny!); or 2) There is a clause in the contract you originally signed with the gym that says that if a third party is used to collect the debt they can charge you admin fees. However, in this case the same point of law that applies to bank charges applies here; they must show the charge is a reasonable reflection of their costs, otherwise it is unlawful and thus unenforceable. Further, you have already written to them informing them that the account is in dispute so they should be making NO attempt to enforce the debt until the dispute is resolved. It is not for them to decide the deadlines. Firstly, I think it would be very much in your interests to see a copy of the original contract, both to see what it has to say (if anything) about collection fees and to see what (if anything) it says about the quality of service the gym will provide. I would recommend sending the finance company a copy of the following letter, by recorded delivery, with a cc to the gym: [Your address] [The date] [Company address] Dear Sir/Madam Re:− Account/Reference Number [reference number] As we have previouly stated, this account is in dispute. We are repudiating the contract with [name of gym company] because the service provided by the gym was completely unsatisfactory and not as described. With reference to the above account, which we understand you are attempting to enforce, we would be grateful if you would send us a copy of this credit agreement. We understand that under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Sections 77−79), we are entitled to receive a copy of our credit agreement on request. We enclose a payment of £1.00 which represents the fee payable under the Consumer Credit Act. We understand a copy of our credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days. Failure to supply a copy of our credit agreement within 30 days constitutes a criminal offence, which we will have no hesitation in reporting to the relevant authorities including the police and the OFT. We understand that under the Consumer Credit Act creditors are unable to enforce an agreement if they fail to comply with a request for a copy of the agreement under these sections of the Act. Furthermore, we note you have added a £30 so-called admin charge to this account, despite the fact we have notified you in writing that the account is in dispute. We ask you to remove this unlawful charge from the account immediately. Please note that any court action you may be considering will be vigorously contested. We look forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully [Your names] That should do for the moment. If they still have not removed the 'admin fee' once you have the contract, we can establish whether there is contractual provision for them to impose it. Even if there is you should still get it back, but the argument as to why will depend on the terms of the contract. I hope this has been of some use. Please keep us posted. Edited to add: Don't forget to inclose a cheque or postal order for £1 to cover the statutory fee.
  16. Keep us updated. I sincerely hope you are able to get your money back.
  17. Alright, there may be hope. I found the following link on a Government website, which outlines the main points of the Sale of Goods Act in brief: http://www.dti.gov.uk/consumers/fact-sheets/page24700.html Please note: • Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description. • If goods do not conform to contract at the time of sale, purchasers can request their money back "within a reasonable time". (This is not defined and will depend on circumstances) • A purchaser who is a consumer, i.e. is not buying in the course of a business, can alternatively request a repair or replacement. And: Q9. Must I accept a credit note instead of a refund? It depends on why you want to return the goods. • If you have changed your mind, then the shop doesn't have to do anything. • But if the goods are faulty, incorrectly described or not fit for purpose, then you are entitled to your money back (provided you act quickly), and you certainly don't have to take a credit note • If you do accept a credit note in these circumstances, watch out, as there may be restrictions on their use. • If the shop displays a sign stating they only give credit notes instead of refunds, they might be breaking the law and you could report them to your local Trading Standards Department. This sounds like it's your choice as the purchaser whether you have a refund or replacement provided the goods are incorrectly described (wrong photograph), which is good news. However: • In general, the onus is on all purchasers to prove the goods did not conform to contract (e.g. was inherently faulty) and should have reasonably lasted until this point in time It looks like you might have some joy with this in the small claims court, especially if you explain that a) you believe you were mislead by the listing and believed you were going to get a camera and b) even if the court believes the seller did not mislead you in this respect, the wrong picture was supplied and you therefore want a refund. I believe a judge will take a very dim view of the seller in any case, and with the law technically on your side as well you are likely to win. However, the fact that the seller lives in Nigeria may be a problem, because even if you were to win it would be hard to enforce the court order. However, it may prompt Paypal to agree to refund your money; while Paypal is not liable, if a judge has ruled you should have a refund I think Paypal will be forced to facilitate this and recouperate the money from the seller. I would email Paypal asking if they would refund your money if a court ruling was made in your favour before proceeding.
  18. Merry Christmas. I look forward to hearing about how you get on.
  19. There is a template on this site about how to deal with companies that don't fulfil their Data Protection obligations through the courts. Extrapolating here and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but would it be possible to make a counter-claim along these lines as well as submitting your defence? Alternatively, would it be possible to persuade the judge to adjourn the case because they have not supplied you with the documents you need? I often hear solicitors request adjournments on these grounds when I go to court (as a journalist, I might add, not a defendant!).
  20. [quote=blacksheep1979;441231Best play as I stated before is to say that he sent the wrong item, but then he has the option of just sending a new picture. Really sorry about this - don't condone it at all, just trying to be realistic here. Yep, don't shoot the messenger. While what he did is clearly despicable, I'm racking my brains to think of any legal course of action you might have. Blacksheep, are you sure he has the option of sending a replacement rather than issuing a refund? I'm wondering if he has made any indication of how quickly he will get the item to you in your listing. If so, you may be able to argue that you needed the item for a certain date (friend's birthday?) and by not supplying the correct item to you by the date agreed he has broken the terms of your implied contract. Therefore, you require a refund. Has anyone got any idea whether this is a feasible way to approach this? Also, does the seller definitely have the option to choose between replacement and refund or is that the buyer's choice if the wrong item is supplied, setting aside the time issue?
  21. I sent off the letter to the debt collection agency today, asking to see a copy of the original contract. Is it 12 working days or just 12 days that they have to respond to me? And what about the 30-day criminal offence deadline - is that 30 working days or just 30 days?
  22. Good idea. It would be very helpful, especially with fuel prices skyrocketing of late.
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