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Received scary letters from Link Financial / Kearns claiming I owe thousands of pounds!!!


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Hello,

To my knowledge, the only debt that I have is my student loan. While I've had a credit card in the past (and always paid it off in full every month), I haven't had one in a long time, nor do I use an overdraft. I've never taken out a proper loan (not counting the student loan) for anything whatsoever in my life. I don't have much involvement in financial-heavy things like that.

I have an account with a letter and parcel forwarding service. This service provides me with a PO box address that accepts letters only, and another separate address that accepts parcels only. I don't make heavy use of this service, but have used the letter address for some subscriptions, and the parcel address for a total of four online purchases.

I was recently notified by this forwarding service that they received two letters delivered to the parcel address, which is against their rules. Normally they would just discard letters, or return them to the sender, but for whatever reason they decided to notify me about it in this case, complaining that I'm breaking their rules. Of course, I never asked anyone to send letters to this address, so it's not my fault. They made a special exception for these letters and forwarded them to my home address.

So I received the two letters today, and here are the details:

 

  • They are both from "Link Financial", with a sender address that seems to match "Kearns" when I look it up online. It seems to be some kind of debt collection agency. I have never heard these names before in my life.
     
  • At the top of each letter is a reference number, an original lender ("Bank of Scotland plc"), and an outstanding balance. One letter says the outstanding balance is around £300, and the other says it's around £4300 (not the exact numbers).
     
  • Aside from the reference numbers and outstanding balances, both letters are totally identical in their written text.
     
  • The letters say: "We have previously written and attempted to call you regarding your Bank of Scotland plc account which was sold to LC Asset 2 S.a. r.l. on 24/08/2020. To date, you do not have a re-payment plan set up and whilst we understand there can be many reasons for this, we want to assure you we can help. It can be a worrying time if you are struggling to deal with your debts but ignoring them will make it harder in the long term and may have a negative effect on your Credit Rating, affecting your ability to obtain credit now and in the future."
     
  • The letters do not provide any details whatsoever about where this balance came from or why I should owe it.



I am baffled by these letters. There is no reason in my mind why I should have thousands of pounds in debt, or any debt at all, aside from my student loan. I don't have a lot of money, as I'm unemployed due to health issues and receiving Universal Credit currently, so this is very scary for me.

At first, I assumed these must just be some kind of spam or scam messages. But people say these are legitimate debt collectors, and that if they're chasing someone the debt must be real? And furthermore, they include my full name. So they're not just sending out messages to random addresses, but they know that that address is linked to me.

I want to re-iterate that these letters were sent to my parcel forwarding address. They were not sent to my home address. I have only ever used this parcel forwarding service for four online purchases. That means the only people who should even know of this address and it being linked to my name, are the online stores I purchased from, the couriers that delivered the package, the customs processing people, and the forwarding service themselves. So unless one of them sold the data, this supposed debt must be related to one of these things? I've never had any kind of Bank of Scotland bank account using this address.

Of the four parcels that I had delivered to this address, three of them were from outside the UK. With two of those international packages, I watched the online tracking with Parcelforce, and eventually it said they were waiting for payment of customs fees. So I phoned Parcelforce and paid those fees. With the last package, it was just delivered directly to the forwarding service with no fees needing to be paid. Naturally, I was happy about this, and assumed it must've been because the value was low enough to not need fees, or because the online store took the import fees already.

In my mind, the only way there could possibly be some debt is if that last parcel actually needed a customs fee paid on it. That's only a guess though. If that is the case, why would they have delivered it before receiving payment of the customs fees? If the courier paid the fees for me, why would I owe them anything — I don't have any kind of contract with the courier (only with the online store) and never asked them to do that for me.

And even if it were related to some kind of unpaid customs fee, why in the world would there be ~£300 and ~£4300 charges!?!?!?! The package was only worth £150, so if we assume 20% VAT and maybe a little more in duty costs, maybe it would be £30-50? Unless somehow something has been massively inflated, or they're adding thousands of pounds in fees for the debt collectors?

But it might not be related to any customs fee. Maybe it's something else. That's just the only remotely plausible thing I can think of. I don't know!

I want to re-iterate that the forwarding service normally forbids letters being sent to the parcel address. So if any previous letters were sent to this address about a debt, then I would never have received them and have no knowledge of them. This is the first I'm hearing about all this.

I'd really appreciate any advice with this. I'm confused and frightened, and not sure what to do about this. Do I just ignore it and "not accept" this debt? I genuinely don't understand what it's even for or why I should have to owe it.

Thanks in advance.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to CAG,

 

Someone knowledgeable will be along shortly to assist you.

 

In the meantime, please sign up for one of the free Credit reference agencies and check your credit file - confirm if these accounts appear on your credit file at all.

 

Don't worry, nothing to worry about with Debt Collectors, there is no rush to act at the moment and the onus is on them to prove the debt exists and is enforceable - you will be guided through this process.

Edited by Badtimes123
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well dont be scared of LINK a powerless DCA and a DCA are NOT BAILIFFS

and their fake paper tiger solicitors Kearns, just a bloke in a diff coloured skirt sitting nearer the bog door.

neither can do anything to you simply ignore them.

 

so you have never had any accounts with RBS?

when was the last time you moved ?

 

link dont do customs fees debts so its nothing to do with that side of life.

 

dx

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Thank you very much for your reply!

 

Quote

link dont do customs fees debts so its nothing to do with that side of life.

 

It's good to know that don't handle anything to do with customs fees. But then that's almost even more worrying, as I then have absolutely no clue whatsoever about what this could be.

 

Quote

so you have never had any accounts with RBS?

 

It's my understanding that "Bank of Scotland plc" and "Royal Bank of Scotland" are two different things. The letters say "Bank of Scotland plc" on them.

 

I've never had a bank account with "Bank of Scotland", but I understand they do own some other banks.

I think Halifax is one of their owned banks, and I do have (or had?) a Halifax bank account, which is totally unused. It might have been closed already due to inactivity - I'm not sure. I remember signing up for a free current account with them, but then I ended up not actually using it for anything whatsoever. I definitely didn't have any kind of loan, credit card, or overdraft with them.

I've had accounts with Nationwide and Barclays in the past, years and years ago. My main and current bank accounts are with NatWest and Starling, which I don't think are "Bank of Scotland" banks.

But all of those banks that I have or had accounts with know my home address, and shouldn't have any knowledge of the forwarding service address. So if it were really something to do with a bank, then I don't understand why or how these debt collectors would be writing to the forwarding service address. That doesn't make any sense to me.

 

Quote

when was the last time you moved ?

 

I've lived at my current address for at least 20 years. I don't remember when I moved here.

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Pers what i would do is this..

 

It is not admittance and cant hurt you .

 

Make a copy of their letters.

 

Write link a letter simply stating your correct address is as above.

You have sent the attached letters to a mail forwarding service which i administer mail to.

 

I have never had any financial dealing with RBS in any shape or form.

 

You must have the wrong details.

 

Please correct your records and remove me from your debtor list.

 

,......

 

Have you checked your credit file?

 

Dx

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Check your credit records to to see what is recorded as was suggested earlier.

 

One of the reasons for this is to try to rule out the possibility of identity theft,  where someone has taken out credit debts using your personal information.  Also to rule out the possibility that a debt has been recorded against you in error.

 

If you have a forwarding service address and used this for purchases, then yes your data has been sold, so the debt collectors have found the address to write to.  But the debtor could be someone who just happens to have the same name and this is a case of the wrong person being traced.

 

 

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We could do with some help from you.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. I went ahead and tried looking up my credit report. I've never done this before though.

I tried Money Saving Expert's Credit Club first, but it said it couldn't identify me.

I then tried on the Experian website. It asked me to pick three different bank accounts from a list as a verification question. My main banks, Natwest and Starling, weren't on the list at all. I noticed that Link Financial was on this list — does this mean anything? I picked Barclays, Nationwide, and Halifax as my answers, and it let me through. The Experian website says my score is "Excellent", with a score of 999 out of 999.

I signed up for Experian's free 30 day trial, in order to access the full report:

 

  • It says I have 0 new credit applications, £0 total borrowing, 0 credit cards, 0 loans, and 0 mortgages — which is all correct, apart from the student loan which I guess isn't factored in on here.
  • It says I have 5 active accounts, which are with the banks I already know about, and for all of them it says they're in good standing with no issues that affect the score.
  • It says I have 2 settled accounts (whatever that means) which are an old bank account and credit card that have since been closed. Again, it says they're in good standing with no issues.
  • There's no mention of Link Financial, or Bank of Scotland, on the actual report.

 

So as far as I can tell, this all looks fine.

But this is with my home address. Again, the letters that I got were written to the forwarding service address. I did try checking on a couple of websites with the forwarding service's address, but they said they couldn't identify me.

Edited by Alphabet40
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So as dx suggests write to Link with copies of their letters advising that they written to the wrong person  due to incorrect tracing.  Advise that you have had no Bank of Scotland accounts and therefore no debts with them. 

 

Mentioned  they are writing to a service box address and they should refrain from doing so, as costs may be incurred which they would have to repay.

 

Yes Link have been on your record to register they are linked to you. So you might want to question this.

  • I agree 1

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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1 hour ago, Alphabet40 said:

I noticed that Link Financial was on this list — does this mean anything?

 

so this was under the list of previous creditors that was part of the sign up process to ID you.

so there is something about Link on your file

 

FIND IT.

 

could it be recent searches by them?

 

if you can't see why link was on that list can i advise you look at the FAQ for the credit ref file provider 

or 

go ring them.

you need to know WHY they came up , wherever they did come up.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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