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clrichards99

Advice on charges please.

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I apologise for the long story in advance, but I could really use some advice.

 

I had an Empire catalogue that I ended up not being able to pay due to my marriage break up. (My then hubby left me with over £5,000 of debt which I am still paying 10 years down the line). The debt was for £572.42, this was passed onto Droyds who agreed for me to pay £3 per month, and so I set up a standing order in November 2002. I moved house in 2006 and Droyds passed my debt to Shop Direct Finance in July 2008. At this time the debt stood at £362.47. I knew nothing of this as they sent all the mail to my old address. As I still lived in the same area, I kept the same phone number and could have been contacted that way. I had first contact from Lowell in October 2009 stating that they were taking over the debt and that it stood at £467.47. After many phone calls to them disputing how much was owed I received a statement that showed charges of £144 had been added since 2008. These charges should not have been added as I had not defaulted on any payments. Lowell have since said I have to send proof of how much I have paid, so I have been to my bank and paid £5 for bank statements going back 6 years. I only stopped paying the debt in March of this year because I was still paying Droyds who no longer had control of the debt. The lady I spoke to at Lowell today told me I shouldn't have had the charges on there and she would get it looked into as soon as they receive the statements. I hope that is clear enough to understand

 

I would just like to know where I stand on the charges situation. Can I refuse to pay them?

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I apologise for the long story in advance, but I could really use some advice.

 

I had an Empire catalogue that I ended up not being able to pay due to my marriage break up. (My then hubby left me with over £5,000 of debt which I am still paying 10 years down the line). The debt was for £572.42, this was passed onto Droyds who agreed for me to pay £3 per month, and so I set up a standing order in November 2002. I moved house in 2006 and Droyds passed my debt to Shop Direct Finance in July 2008. At this time the debt stood at £362.47. I knew nothing of this as they sent all the mail to my old address. As I still lived in the same area, I kept the same phone number and could have been contacted that way. I had first contact from Lowell in October 2009 stating that they were taking over the debt and that it stood at £467.47. After many phone calls to them disputing how much was owed I received a statement that showed charges of £144 had been added since 2008. These charges should not have been added as I had not defaulted on any payments. Lowell have since said I have to send proof of how much I have paid, so I have been to my bank and paid £5 for bank statements going back 6 years. I only stopped paying the debt in March of this year because I was still paying Droyds who no longer had control of the debt. The lady I spoke to at Lowell today told me I shouldn't have had the charges on there and she would get it looked into as soon as they receive the statements. I hope that is clear enough to understand

 

I would just like to know where I stand on the charges situation. Can I refuse to pay them?

 

Ok, time to send CCA to Lowells, template letter in the library, £1. postal order and don't sign the letter. Lowells will probably write back saying that they will send your request to the original creditor. This puts the account into dispute - they have 12 + 2 days to comply with your request. If they fail to comply you can if you wish cease payments to them. If they do send you an agreement, remove identifying details first and post on here for peeps to give their opinion using a free photoimaging site such as photobucket.

 

Never speak to these people on the 'phone, they will just make you angry and tie you up in knots. If you wish you can also subject access request the original creditor, template letter in the same place, £10 postal order don't sign the letter and as with the CCA request, send by recorded delivery. You can then later using the royal mail track and trace site print off the slip confirming that you have sent these requests. If they start ringing up if/when you stop paying, don't speak to them, say "in writing only" and send them the harassment letter.

 

Well done for taking the first step and coming on here for advice.

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Right where do I start.

Droyds will have been collecting on behalf of Empire Stores, when they passed to to Shop Direct Financial Services (SDFS) they were only giving it back to the original creditor, as Empire Stores is owned by SDFS.

If SDFS has sold the account to Lowells then you should have received a Notice of Assignment (NOA) stating that Lowells are the new legal owners of the account. But they maybe, as Droyds were, merely collecting on behalf of SDFS.

As for the charges I would presume these would have been added by SDFS, so it is them you need to contact to get them refunded.

You need to find out who the legal owner of this debt is, SDFS or Lowells.

Stop speaking to Lowells on the phone as they will tell you any lie that comes into their greedy money grabbing heads to extort money out of you.

Do not send bank statements or any other information to Lowells. It is for them to prove the debt and the balance outstanding and you are under no obligation to send them anything.

They do not want the statements to see what you have paid, they want them to obtain your account number, see what your income is and what you spend you money on, which has naf all to do with them. They will then dictate to you what you will pay

Have you ever requested a copy of the credit agreement?

As most catalogue accounts of this age, rarely have a signed agreement, so are totally unenforceable in court.

I think this would be the first step to find out if Lowells have the legal right to collect on this account.

In the mean time I would withhold any future payments.

The template for the letter you want is in the forum library, but does not appear to be working at the moment, when it is up and running again I will post a link to it.

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Hi,

 

Thanks for that, can I just say that I have never actually sent a payment to Lowell, the only payments for this debt went to Droyds, they re-directed the payments to SDFS, who then paid Lowells. So if they cannot produce a CCA for this what happens?

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...what happens?

Wait for the advise/link to be posted. Don't worry or lose sleep, now you are here you can all but forget about the account as Lowell are pretty useless at dealing with people who get advise from CAG. As already mentioned, it is highly unlikely there is a signed agreement for this account.

If they phone, refuse to go through security with them and be rude enough to hang up if you have to. Insist they communicate in writing only. They are known for making notes on their system that claim they have agreed a payment plan with you, or whatever. Try and prove otherwise!

Consider this - if it were the original company then you would be happy to continue paying them. However, they have written the debt off and sold the details to Lowell, and you don't owe them anything really. Lowell, and others like them, rely on threats and intimidation to persuade people that they MUST pay up - or else! Their letters are cleverly constructed with words like MAY or COULD, but they hardly ever do what they threaten as they simply don't have any paperwork, which they need to be able to take the matter to court. Yes, there is an old law they use to base their claims upon, but it's been shown time and time again that they don't have the required documents to be able to make a serious (legal?) claim, which throws thousands of cases into doubt.

Have a read around, do a search for Lowell, or Empire Stores, and read how other people are dealing with the Leeds Losers... They survive because some people will happily pay up, rather than risk further action. Once you've visited CAG, and become aware of what their little game is, you empower yourself to fight back and tell the DCA where to go.

Follow the info you are given and you'll soon realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Is the link back up and running yet? Also can I just say, I did contact SDFS and they told me that because the debt had been 'sold' to Lowells, I had to take up any dispute with them. So basically they are saying I defaulted, they are charging me, and there is sod all I can do about it! Argh!

Edited by clrichards99

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Is the link back up and running yet? Also can I just say, I did contact SDFS and they told me that because the debt had been 'sold' to Lowells, I had to take up any dispute with them. So basically they are saying I defaulted, they are charging me, and there is sod all I can do about it! Argh!

 

I have just tried to access the library, but the page is still not available, maybe another CAGer might have a copy of CCA request letter on file

SDFS cannot charge you anything, they have sold the account, its nothing to do with them any longer.

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:hail: Thanks rebel11, that link works for me...

Be good to those who give you advice that helps - click the star to give them your thanks by way of a reputation credit.

 

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I couldn't get the link to work for me, but found a letter template browsing around. Is it:

 

Letter N Ask your creditor for a copy of your credit agreement under the Consumer Credit Act 1974

posted by Baracad on 28th June 2006?

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I couldn't get the link to work for me, but found a letter template browsing around. Is it:

 

Letter N Ask your creditor for a copy of your credit agreement under the Consumer Credit Act 1974

posted by Baracad on 28th June 2006?

 

Use this one

Edit/delete anything that doesn't apply

send by recoreded delivery and do not sign the letter (print name)

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re:- Account No: XXXXXXXX/Your Reference Number: XXXXXXX

 

This letter is a formal request pursuant to s.77/78 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. I require you to provide me with a true copy of the credit agreement relating to the above account, together with any other documentation the Act requires you to provide.

 

I expect you to comply fully and properly with this request, within the statutory time limit. You are reminded that should you fail to comply with my request, the provisions of s.77 will apply.

 

If it is your view that you are not the creditor, s.175 of the CCA 1974 applies in the case of a simple assignment, and places a duty upon you to pass this request to the creditor. In the case of an absolute assignment, you are a creditor as defined by s.189. If you contend that you purchased the rights but not the duties of any agreement, you are reminded that s.189 of the Act is clear that an assignment is of both rights and duties.

 

Your attention is drawn to ss.5(2), 3(b),6 and 7 of the Consumer Protection From Unfair Tradinglink3.gif Regulations 2008 (CPUTR). I enclose a postal order in the sum of £1.00, which is the statutory fee. Note that these funds are not to be used for any other purpose.

 

If you are unable to comply fully and properly with this request, you should confirm this in writing at the earliest opportunity, and certainly within the statutory time limit for compliance, and return the fee.

 

Furthermore, with regards to the quantity and frequency of telephone callslink3.gif that I have received from your company, which I deem to be personally harassing.

 

I have verbally requested that these stop, but I am still receiving calls. (Delete if necessary)

 

I now require all further correspondence from your company to be made in writing only.

 

You are reminded of the following under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

 

Trading Standards can bring about a prosecution if, with the object of coercing another person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under contract, he or she:

 

(a) harasses the other with demands for payment which by their frequency, or the manner or occasion of their making, or any accompanying threat or publicity are calculated to subject him or his family or household to alarm, distresslink3.gif or humiliation;

(b) falsely represents, in relation to the money claimed, that criminal proceedings lie for failure to pay it;

© falsely represent themselves to be authorized in some official capacity to claim or enforce payment;

(d) utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it has not.

 

I am of the view that your harassment of me by telephone puts you in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

 

If you continue to harass me by telephone, you will also be in breach of the Communications Act (2003) s.127 and I will report you to OFCOM, Trading Standards and The Office of Fair Trading, meaning that you will be liable to a substantial fine.

 

Further to this if it is your intention to arrange a call from your 'doorstep collectorslink3.gif', I note that there is only an implied license under English Common Law for certain people to visit me on my property without express permission; the postman and people asking for directions etc (Armstrong v. Sheppard and Short Ltd [1959] 2 Q.B. per Lord Evershed M.R.).

 

Take note, I revoke license under English Common Law for you, or any of your representatives to visit me at my property and if you do so without my permission, you will then be liable to damages for a tort of trespass. You would also be conspiring in a trespass if you sent someone to visit me nevertheless. Any trespassers you attempt to send therefore will be dealt with accordingly.Be further advised that any further telephone callslink3.gif from your company will be recorded.

 

(Print in red optional addition)

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours faithfully **Edit to suit**

 

(Print do not signlink3.gif signature)

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I couldn't get the link to work for me

Strange - it's not working for me again now...! :smash:

 

Sunday 10:50am, it works again? Look at the top of the screen, there's a row of links "CAG-Magazine - Blogs - In the Media - Library - Reviews - Wiki - CAG Webmail" - click Library, then Debt Collectors and look down to number 8 in that list.

Edited by hillards

Be good to those who give you advice that helps - click the star to give them your thanks by way of a reputation credit.

 

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Letter and postal order are in the post.... Unsigned. See how long it takes for them to get in touch.

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That letter will have been sent before they even read the request, just ignore them for now

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