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Mackenzie Hall/Meritforce


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Hi everyone

Firstly can I say what a great website this is - and I feel very empowered by reading your messages.

 

I am concerned over a SMS text I have received and wonder whether I could get some advice.

 

Sometime ago I started to receive text messages from Mackenzie Hall asking me to contact them immediately. I did not respond to these as I thought whoever they were they would write to me if they wanted to speak to me - which they never did. All I have received for the past 7 or so months are SMS text messages every couple of weeks asking me to call, which I have never done.

 

I should say at this point that I have suffered from debt in the past but am now trying to claw my way back up into the daylight, so decided to go through all my old paperwork to see if there was something I had missed. I found a letter I had forgotten about for a British Gas payment just as I moved for about £50.00 which had been passed to a credit company but not Mackenzie Hall they were CDC or something. I rang CDC and they advised me that they had passed the debt to Mackenzie Hall. This was about a month ago.

 

So I have been receiving the texts from MH but never had any postal correspondance. Now, last night I received a text from Meritforce asking me to contact them urgently with a reference number. I have not contacted them, but looked them up on the net this morning and discovered from these forums that they are part of Mackenzie Hall??

 

Can anyone suggest what I can do? I really do not want to pay before I have received any kind of corrsepondance from them - out of principle really - but I would like to get this matter cleared up. But I am worried they will add on loads of charges if I just ring them up and arrange to pay and I will be ripped off - particularly after what I have read about them on here. The amount I owe was £47 so it can't have risen that much?

 

Any advice would be gratefully received.

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Get in touch with British Gas and see if they'll accept payment of the outstanding amount, ensure you get a reciept and if possible a letter confirming there is no debt. They are normally fairly keen to accept payment

 

Then let the DCAs stew

Hope this helps

 

 

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The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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The debt may not have actually been "sold" to the DCA,

 

A lot of DCAs take a commission based stance with creditors, ie. "we will collect your debt for 25% of the original debt", they will also normally attempt to apply their own charges.

 

Once a debt is with a DCA, they will generally tell a debtor that they must deal only with the DCA and make no communications with the original creditor, this is complete bow larks, the creditor simply wants to receive the payment of the debt. The DCA wants to show a profit.

 

If you're going to pay the debt in anyway, it is better to pay the original amount of debt to the original creditor and freeze out the DCA, who will only cause you upset and try to inflate the debt.

 

Try contacting British Gas in the first instance, if you resolve the debt in full with them, and get proof of this IN WRITING (This is the important bit)

the DCA will have nothing to pursue and you can cheerfully tell them to sling their hooks and/or refer them back to British Gas

Hope this helps

 

 

If you feel that this site has helped you in any way please leave a donation if you can afford to do so.

 

If you feel that have been helpful please feel free to tip the scales.

 

 

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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If it turns out that British Gas won't accept the payment because the debt has been sold, then we may have to adopt a different stance. but try contacting BG first, it could be a very simple solution to your problem

Hope this helps

 

 

If you feel that this site has helped you in any way please leave a donation if you can afford to do so.

 

If you feel that have been helpful please feel free to tip the scales.

 

 

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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Well things get stranger - haven't had a chance to call British Gas since I last posted as had a family member ill in hospital and have spent most of my time there. Got home yesterday at 21.00 (after a day at work and then the hospital) to find a lovely letter from Wescot regarding the British Gas account.

 

Now the letter arrived with me yesterday (13th December) and the post mark was second class, but according to the letter itself it was generated on 26th November (3 weeks ago) and had in big bold letters Failure to action by 10th December could result in blah blah etc.

 

How are they allowed to get away with this???

 

Firstly it is with three DCAs?? Mackenzie Hall, Meritforce and Wescot?

And crucially for me, how can they generate a letter on 26th November with a specific timeframe for responding and then not send it out til after that timeframe has passed???

 

 

I am so so angry with them, especially as had I not found this forum I would be in a complete state of panic right now.

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Its against OFT guidelines for more than one debt collector to be chasing the same account. In your case you have two Mackenzie Hall "departments" and Westcott chasing on behalf of the original creditor British Gas.

 

I wouldn't phone BG but instead write to them asking WTF is going on. Remind them that they arer responsible for the actions of their appointed debt collectors and you are seriously considering making complaints against them to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FOS). In BG's case the complaint will be to Energywatch, an organisation already well used to dealing with BG complaints.

 

Then write to the three debt collecting muppets stating clearly the matter is in dispute, you will not talk to them or discuss the matter until you have received clarification from BG.

 

Ask them, no tell them, to send you details of their complaints procedure and then chase them up through that - if they send it - and if you get no joy report them to the FOS. An investigation by him will cost each of them £400!

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