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Harassed by Fredrickson International Ltd (DWP Related)

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Hi everyone - this thread might be a bit long and confusing so I apologise in advance :)

 

Towards the end of 2010 I made a claim for jobseekers allowance.

 

I was successful in my application and received the usual amount every fortnight in my account.

 

During the initial Q&A over the telephone when making my claim - I made it clear to the advisor that I will be working in my dad's shop, unpaid, for less than 16 hours per week.

 

On my sign on days i'd take along a sheet of paper outlining the hours I worked for my dad during the 2 weeks.

 

Until one day when I went to sign on, one of the DWP staff said I'm not allowed to receive benefits because I'm working for my dad

and that voluntary work only counts if working for charities etc.

 

After that no money came into my account and I never bothered going back to sign on.

 

On 30th Aug 2011 I received a notice of overpayment from the DWP for the amount that I received from them since the beginning of my claim.

 

On 29th Sept I received a letter from Iqor chasing the amount.

 

I had numerous conversations with Iqor and they kept putting the claim on hold for a week each time. I tried to speak to DWP but was going round in circles.

 

time went on and on 2nd Dec 2011 I received a letter from Geoffrey Parker Bourne solicitors chasing the amount.

 

I ignored it and I didnt hear anything at all until..

 

.7th Nov 2012! This time it's a letter from Frederickson International chasing the same amount.

 

I keep receiving phone calls from them but I am ignoring them altogether until I seek advice from you guys.

 

I have just received a letter on 20th Nov 2011 stating that Debt must be paid within 7 days, It's a "Letter Before Action" letter.

 

Can my credit rating be affected by this as I have spent years repairing it and i've only just recently now been able to take out phone contracts and apply for credit cards successfully etc.

 

What do I say to Frederickson? I see a draft letter here in this thread:

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?116083-Help-with-fighting-Fredrickson-International-Ltd

 

Shall I use this?

 

Looking forward to the replies!

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That is what I would do. It should at least buy you some time if nothing else.

 

I believe the letter you received is a standard letter sent out by the company in an attempt to pressure you into making a payment. Without knowing the figure you "owe", it is unclear whether it is likely they will consider court action.

 

At present I owe around £5000 in debt to both my bank and other creditors. I have very little income as I have been signed off sick for most of the year. I contacted CCCS, who assessed my income and agreed I couldn't afford to make any payments towards my debtors. They wrote a standard letter which I sent to everyone I owed money; explaining my financial situation. This may be something you want to consider if you can't afford to make any payment.

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That is what I would do. It should at least buy you some time if nothing else.

 

I believe the letter you received is a standard letter sent out by the company in an attempt to pressure you into making a payment. Without knowing the figure you "owe", it is unclear whether it is likely they will consider court action.

 

At present I owe around £5000 in debt to both my bank and other creditors. I have very little income as I have been signed off sick for most of the year. I contacted CCCS, who assessed my income and agreed I couldn't afford to make any payments towards my debtors. They wrote a standard letter which I sent to everyone I owed money; explaining my financial situation. This may be something you want to consider if you can't afford to make any payment.

 

thanks, it's not that I can't afford it - it's just that why should I pay them back for money they paid to me knowing full well what my situation was after a thorough question and answer session and through fortnightly sheets outlining the hours I worked.

 

Frederickson do know the amount as well as it's on their letters.

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Hi everyone - this thread might be a bit long and confusing so I apologise in advance :)

 

Towards the end of 2010 I made a claim for jobseekers allowance.

 

I was successful in my application and received the usual amount every fortnight in my account.

 

During the initial Q&A over the telephone when making my claim - I made it clear to the advisor that I will be working in my dad's shop, unpaid, for less than 16 hours per week.

 

On my sign on days i'd take along a sheet of paper outlining the hours I worked for my dad during the 2 weeks.

 

Until one day when I went to sign on, one of the DWP staff said I'm not allowed to receive benefits because I'm working for my dad

and that voluntary work only counts if working for charities etc.

 

After that no money came into my account and I never bothered going back to sign on.

 

On 30th Aug 2011 I received a notice of overpayment from the DWP for the amount that I received from them since the beginning of my claim.

 

On 29th Sept I received a letter from Iqor chasing the amount.

 

I had numerous conversations with Iqor and they kept putting the claim on hold for a week each time. I tried to speak to DWP but was going round in circles.

 

time went on and on 2nd Dec 2011 I received a letter from Geoffrey Parker Bourne solicitors chasing the amount.

 

I ignored it and I didnt hear anything at all until..

 

.7th Nov 2012! This time it's a letter from Frederickson International chasing the same amount.

 

I keep receiving phone calls from them but I am ignoring them altogether until I seek advice from you guys.

 

I have just received a letter on 20th Nov 2011 stating that Debt must be paid within 7 days, It's a "Letter Before Action" letter.

 

Can my credit rating be affected by this as I have spent years repairing it and i've only just recently now been able to take out phone contracts and apply for credit cards successfully etc.

 

What do I say to Frederickson? I see a draft letter here in this thread:

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?116083-Help-with-fighting-Fredrickson-International-Ltd

 

Shall I use this?

 

Looking forward to the replies!

 

When you did the assessment over the phone when applying for JSA, the fact that you told them about working in your dad's shop should have been noted. They would have sent you a copy of the form. If it states on the form that you will be working in your Dad's shop etc, then the DWP have made an official mistake and cannot claim back the money. If you no longer have the form, which I think is called a "JSA Customer Statement" ask them to send you a copy.

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When you did the assessment over the phone when applying for JSA, the fact that you told them about working in your dad's shop should have been noted. They would have sent you a copy of the form. If it states on the form that you will be working in your Dad's shop etc, then the DWP have made an official mistake and cannot claim back the money. If you no longer have the form, which I think is called a "JSA Customer Statement" ask them to send you a copy.

 

 

thanks - yeah I don't think i have the form anymore however on one of the occasions I was speaking to the DWP (Bradford office IIRC) the woman did mention that it sounds like there's been some sort of "official error".

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The reason I mentioned the figure (not that I am asking what it is) is because if it's less than say five hundred, they are less likely to take you to court. If it's a thousand plus, it's much more likely.

 

For me personally, I actually don't mind if I get taken to court. My credit rating is abysmal, and the court will make sure I have an affordable payment plan. If you want to save your credit rating, it might be best to take steps to get this resolved before the possibility of court action comes into the equation.

 

If you plan to dispute the debt, contact both Fredrickson and the DWP in writing by recorded delivery. Then there can be no suggestion that either party are not aware of your dispute.

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thanks, yep the amount owed is £395.

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thanks, yep the amount owed is £395.

 

To get Fredrickson off your back and any other debt collector, write to them and advise that you dispute the debt due to it being an "official mistake" by the DWP and that they are obliged under OFT guidelines to return teh debt to DWP. You don't have to go into any details about it with Fredrickson.

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To get Fredrickson off your back and any other debt collector, write to them and advise that you dispute the debt due to it being an "official mistake" by the DWP and that they are obliged under OFT guidelines to return teh debt to DWP. You don't have to go into any details about it with Fredrickson.

 

thanks - i guess a simply worded letter will suffice?

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Just something along the lines of "having taken advice on the alleged debt, I now have very good reason to dispute the alleged debt and request that under OFT guidelines it is handed back to DWP!" You should be able to phone and ask for a copy of the customer statement and if you ask, maybe they can email it to you, if not, they need to post a copy.

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When you did the assessment over the phone when applying for JSA, the fact that you told them about working in your dad's shop should have been noted. They would have sent you a copy of the form. If it states on the form that you will be working in your Dad's shop etc, then the DWP have made an official mistake and cannot claim back the money. If you no longer have the form, which I think is called a "JSA Customer Statement" ask them to send you a copy.

 

Unfortunately he will be past the absolute time limit to appeal the overpayment, even if it was official error, the decision and debt now stands.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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He's only just found out about the debt.

 

There's a big difference between a debt being pursued and a debt being enforced by a court. In this case I think it is very unlikely anyone will pursue court action to claim this debt, and unlikely a court would support a claim even if they did.

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He's only just found out about the debt.

 

There's a big difference between a debt being pursued and a debt being enforced by a court. In this case I think it is very unlikely anyone will pursue court action to claim this debt, and unlikely a court would support a claim even if they did.

 

Unless he appealled within 13 months of the overpayment decision, there is no facility to prove that the debt wasn't his fault. The court will not look at official error as this is a matter for a benefit Tribunal, and a benefit tribunal will not look at it as it is out of time. The only way it could be done is if he challenged or appealled the decision at the time, and the challenge or appeal was never actioned or decided upon by the DWP. As far as a court will be concerned, he owes the debt.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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At present Fredrickson are attempting to collect the "debt". The letter the OP received is a letter which essentially threatens court action. Due to the amount owed being so low, I think it is very unlikely this situation would ever get to court.

If it did, I don't think the court immediately rule in the DWP's favour. The debt is 11 years old, and the court would look into all the evidence if the OP disputed the DWP's claim.

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At present Fredrickson are attempting to collect the "debt". The letter the OP received is a letter which essentially threatens court action. Due to the amount owed being so low, I think it is very unlikely this situation would ever get to court.

If it did, I don't think the court immediately rule in the DWP's favour. The debt is 11 years old, and the court would look into all the evidence if the OP disputed the DWP's claim.

 

The debt is less than two years old, and the court are not allowed to look at official error in benefit overpayment debt.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Having looked at the replies so far, im not sure what action to take next? :(

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Having looked at the replies so far, im not sure what action to take next? :(

 

From benefit perspective, did you ever lodge an appeal about the overpayment or request a reconsideration, that you never got a decision on?


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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From benefit perspective, did you ever lodge an appeal about the overpayment or request a reconsideration, that you never got a decision on?

 

Nothing official but i called them and IQOR so many times and just went round in circles.

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Nothing official but i called them and IQOR so many times and just went round in circles.

 

Unless it was in writing and appealled within the time limit, then I'm afraid you're stuck with the debt.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Unless it was in writing and appealled within the time limit, then I'm afraid you're stuck with the debt.

 

when does the time start ? From the date I receive the initial "note of overpayment" letter from DWP?

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Apologies for my misinformation, I misread some of the earlier posts.

 

Are you working now?

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when does the time start ? From the date I receive the initial "note of overpayment" letter from DWP?

 

Yes, the absolute time limit is 13 months from the date on the decision letter originally notifying you that you were overpaid.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Assuming you will have to pay this back.......

 

With any DWP debt it's best to clear it or one day when you really need a benefit the most they will snatch it back from your benefits. I had a job seekers overpayment (70 odd quid) from around 1998 (they contacted me about it a couple of years ago), I knew they could not take me to court for it and I don't claim benefits so they could not take it that way, however I also knew that I am in a position to repay it now, bit by bit (they take low repayments) and should I ever need to make a claim one day it wouldn't come back to haunt me when I needed money the most.

 

I would call DWP debt management team direct (not the debt collectors, ignor them), make them a low offer, a fiver a month or something and start to clear it. You never know when you might need to make a claim and when you do and you have a debt, they would take it back then and it will hurt more.


Ash.

 

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Thankyou.

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Having looked at the replies so far, im not sure what action to take next? :(

Ignore what one other other poster is telling you as I am speaking from personal experience. You can still claim as you have only just be made aware that it was an "official mistake". As far as I am aware nowhere in the regulations does it state you need to claim the official mistake within a specific time frame although it is expected to be reasonable. Get the letter off as you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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