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HELP NEEDED! First Dealings with a DCA


ld34
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Hi Guys

 

Found your forum whilst trauling the net looking for information on 'Nationwide Debt Recovery Limited' of Royal Avenue, Widnes, Cheshire, from whom I have received a threatening, dubious, yet seemingly unprovoked letter this morning, and have spent the last hour reading advice and looking for similar cases to mine.

 

Whilst my reading has been greatly informative I was just hoping for some advice on my individual case, as it does differ from many here. Please accept my apologies for the long post that follows; hopefully once you've read it you will empathise with the exhaustion I have experienced over the whole charade, and understand my complete and utter disappointment after receiving my letter this morning and learning that the farce was still uncomplete....

 

 

DEC 2006 - I bought several items (~£160) online during the Christmas Period (although after Christmas itself) from the website BargainCrazy.com (the online identity of store CBS - Catalogue Bargain Store - itself a subsidiary of Littlewoods)

 

JAN 2007 - After trying on the clothes I sent several back via their courier network for a refund, in accordance with their T&C's, in the first week of January.

I have done this before and written notification of the goods being returned is usually sent out to me within a week or so, then a debit card refund shortly follows.

This is where the cock-ups started. Courier was arranged via phone and email to arrive within three working days to collect the items from my house - luckily my brother was off work all week awaiting to start his new job so he could sit in and wait for them.

5 working days passed and still no courier, depsite a phone call on the fourth day where I was promised by Customer Services they would arrive on the fifth; alas, no courier.

The following week my house would be empty, with my brother in work, meaning that there would be nobody to give the parcel to the courier, so I decided to think proactively and save the courier the inconvenience by rearranging the pick-up location to my mum's workplace - not an unreasonable location, the local secondary school where the reception is staffed all day and where my parcel could be left with one of mum's colleagues with the instructions of who to give it to.

Tried this rearrangement via email, but no response, so after another lengthy call to Customer Services I was able to reschedule it. 3 working days was again quoted as the pick up time.

First few days of next week passed with a no show from the courier until one day mid/late-on in the week an elderly neighbour informed me after work that there had been a courier AT THE HOUSE, looking for a parcel to collect!! :o UNBELIEVABLE!

Anyway, at the end of that week the collection was made. Great, I thought, process is now underway. How I was wrong.....

 

FEB 2007 - Several weeks passed as I sat naively waiting, checking my online banking for the refund, when I decided that enough was enough and phoned CBS. After the annoying security checks they were able to look at my account history when they told me that they had in fact not received any parcel of mine from the courier, Home Delivery Network. Surely they must have, I argued, as it was collected over three weeks ago?! I was asked for the reference/barcode number on my printed collection slip in order for them to 'chase it up' with the courier, which I gladly gave. They would get back to me tomorrow with information.

Tomorrow passed, and they day after, until I phoned them on the third day. After having to reiterate the entire history of my order, a history that was increasing exponentially with the current rate of cock-ups, I was told what would be best would be to send a covering letter to their Returns Dept, include details such as customer number, order reference, amount of refund, etc, and include a copy of the Collection Slip I was given.

I did this, sent it Recorded obviously, and waited. And waited more. You see, the results did not show up on Royal Mail's tracking website. After giving the letter reasonable time (~1 week) to arrive I conceeded to phoning Royal Mail customer service, who confirmed that it had not arrived but they could not track it until 28 days had passed. Stuff that I thought, so I sent another copy (this time I even made two photocopies of my Collection Slip at the newsagent in anticipation of another cockup and to save myself the journey; a laughable, yet disturbing, indication of how low my consumer confidence was with CBS!), which arrived on schedule.

 

MAR 2007 - Into March now, and I knew the item had arrived through Royal Mail's tracking facility but after another week had passed I'd still received nothing from CBS confirming this - were they hoping I'd forget about the money and they could put it in their pot for the next Christmas Party I wondered? To reward all their hard work???!!:confused:

So I telephoned them. Yes, the letter had been received, the parcel had been FOUND (wasn't very lost then was it?!), and my refund was ready. I was given the option of receiving:

  • credit into my CBS Account (bearing in mind I was not even aware I had an 'account' with these people in a financial sense. Okay I was aware my address and other details would be on file there but I had not idea this 'account' was able to receive refunds; after all, every time I had made a purchase from them (and this had been on a few occassions, less than half a dozen mind) I had done so on a one-off POS transaction with my debit card)
  • a cheque made payable to me

Well, THAT was a no-brainer, "Cheque Please!!" The sooner I could get my money out of their slow, incompetent system the better, as far as I was concerned.

It is at this point I would like to stress that not once in the three months this process spanned did I ever receive correspondence from CBS Customer Service or Returns Dept, both of which I dealt with extensively - they never wrote to inform me of the status of my refund, to let me know there had been a problem, delay, or anything! They only every responded to one of my emails (out of around a dozen sent), and that was the one regarding the first collection from my home, and that was only after I chased up the request by phone!!

Even when I telephoned them enquiring, they rarely had answers and for the millions of pounds of Information Systems today's modern call centres are equipped with, their clueless actions were astonishing. It is like Ferrari employing monkeys to drive their race cars, in which case they would all drive like Ford Fiestas round the track! They did not even have the decency to mask their incompetence with politeness, and all-bar-one of their personnel were extremely abrupt, and bordering on rude, on the phone, IN ADDITION to them being no help at all (I wouldn't have minded if they could do their jobs effectively!)

 

MAR 2007 - Anyway, excuse that rant, back to the progress. The cheque would be sent out ASAP and I would receive it soon, I was promised. And so it did arrive! I couldn't believe it, three months in waiting and I was holding the money I thought I'd never see again, all £116.96 of it.

Now I know we're not talking millions of pounds here, but for somebody on an apprentice's salary it is quite considerable, almost a week's pay, and especially after the tight months following Christmas. I often ask myself if I wasn't living at home and I had more fixed costs to meet every month, how much of a problem might this whole farce have cost me? It's scary to think. As well as this it was the principle; why should a company be effectively 'rewarded' for acting incompetently?!

The cheque arrived, not from CBS but from another company, perhaps an agency, I don't recall (wish I did now as it has suddenly become relevant) and I cashed it, great!

Around ten days later however, a SECOND cheque arrived in my name, from a different organisation however, but for an identical amount and addressing the same scenario. Now I know this is not strictly kosher, but after the three months of hassle I'd had with them I thought "stuff 'em" and cashed it, almost purely out of spite toward the company, but also as it made a tight month that little bit easier to get through.

Call it compensation if you like, for the hours and hours I was left on hold, for the rudeness and poor reception I received after waiting on hold so long, for the dozen or so items of written and electronic correspondence that went unanswered, and for denying me my money back when I followed their returns policies to the letter in every action I took!

 

 

Anyway, that was that. Fast forward to now and, like I say, I have this letter. It reads

 

[*NO SALUTATION*]

 

NOTIFICATION OF INSTRUCTION TO PROCEED

 

We have been instructed by our Client Shop Direct Financial Services Limited to act on their behalf in securing paymnet for the sum of £128.96 in respect of purchases made from BargainCrazy.com.

 

Accordingly, we give notice that unless this account is paid - or a satisfactory repayment arrangement is made within 7 days, action will be escalated to whatever level appropriate to recover this debt, starting with the Statutory Default Notice described below.

 

The next action that you will receive will be a Statutory Default Notice which will request full payment of the arrears on your account to be paid within 7 days. Failure to do so will result in us sharing this default with licensed credit reference agencies, which will remain against your name at the credit reference agencies for 6 years. This may affect your ability to gain further credit with other lenders.

 

Balance: £128.96

Arrears: £128.96

Minimum Payment Required immediately: £128.96

 

Please use the payment slip on your statement sent by the Arrears Collection Department of BargainCrazy.com in order to make your payment by post or over the counter at your bank or a post office.

 

 

That's it! And whilst I am well aware what it refers to, I have honestly received nothing, no statement of account, no payment request or anything from CBS (BargainCrazy), like the final paragraph of this letter assumes/implies.

 

So I have just a few queries regarding this letter that I hope you guys may be able to help me with:

  1. Are their timelines (7 day deadlines) legally binding, as they seem to differ to those advised in other posts?


  2. Am I able to request to see a copy of my signed Credit Agreement (like is advised in many other posts), which I know for certain I have not signed, as every transaction with BargainCrazy.com was made online?


  3. Does BargainCrazy.com being an online company have any consequences regarding the CCA's validity in this case?


  4. Does the fact that my 'debt' to CBS has occured through no fault of my own hold any weight legally? I did not choose to be 'in debt' with the company (i.e. through extensive purchases from them), although I did choose to cash the second cheque!

    :D Also, when their administrative errors were disadvantaging me financially they did not seem to care, why should I have cared when their errors served to benefit me, when the shoe was on the other foot?


  5. What are the legal consequences of me delaying repayment of this?


  6. Can I dispute the amount? The £128.96 figure seemes to be arrived at my original over-repayment plus what I can only deduce to be a £12.00 charge - surely this charge is not my responsibility as they were not my errors made!?


Any support you guys can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Finally, apologies for my lengthy post (possibly a record for longest debut post?:cool: ) - it was designed, as mentioned, to emphasise the patience-testing relationship I have suffered with these horrid people, and to give you all an understanding of why I felt it morally acceptable to cash that second cheque. Also, perhaps it entertained one or two of you, it certainly did for me, but then everything does in hindsight!!:razz:

I do (almost! - perhaps someone can help!) resign myself to the fact that me paying off this 'debt' is inevitable. I know the money was not originally mine, easy-come-easy-go as they say, and I do not want any severe lasting damage to my credit rating, with me intending to buy a house in under three years time. However, I do not intend to roll-over to the bullying nature of this DCA who seem to pray on the misinformation, naivety and vulnerability of their 'customers' with their aggressive tactics, I intend to draw it out for as long as I possibly can and make them wait for their money (if they receive it at all), just like I did!!

A perfect example is this letter dated Saturday 26/05/07, which demands a response within 7 days, was posted second class, and arrived at my home today, Friday, on what is the seventh day!! You seriously could not make it up!!

 

Like I said, advice regarding my next step would be great guys!

 

Thanks In Advance,

 

ld34.

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NDR are a dormat company, i told them to get stuffed as a dormant company cannot have accounting records. They were chasing me on behalf of Marshall Ward and Littlewoods who are owned by Shop Direct Financial Services. NDR are an in-house DCA.

 

You must put this account into dispute to stop the Default (of course it wont stop them from sending it but it will make them look like twonks when the judge see's they defaulted a disputed account! not that it will come to a judge) To put it in dispute CCA them today and if you can afford it send it special delivery, send the £1.00 postal order (dont send a cheque, it has your siganture) Then sit back and give them enough rope to hang themselves with, they will keep sending threatening letters which will all count towards your harassment claim:)

 

This is letter i sent to Marshall Ward when they ignored my CCA request:-

 

Further to your letter dated 6 April, received 24 April 2007 the contents have been noted. Please find attached all documentation.

On 27 March 2007 I requested a copy of the alleged credit agreement relating to this account. This was sent by recorded delivery with the statutory £1.00 payment. This is to be supplied under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. So far you have failed to supply the documentation and on 8 May 2007 you will have committed a criminal offence.

Since my request you have instructed a dormant company going by the name if Nationwide Debt Recovery to recover the amount due. This is in breach of the Office of Fair Trading guidelines and will be reported.

Apart from failing to respond to my CCA request you have also ignored my other letters but continued to pursue this debt when it is clearly in dispute. This amounts to ‘Harassment by Letter’ this puts you in breach of Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970, and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.If you continue to harass me you will be reported to Trading Standards and The Office of Fair Trading, meaning that you will be liable to a substantial fine.I expect the next form of communication from you to be my CCA request. Any legal proceedings you may be considering will be vigorously defended and contested in court. Any judge will not think highly of a company that has failed to work within the lawI also bring your attention to the new Civil Procedure Rules. . The commencement of legal proceedings under such circumstances could be counter to the ‘Overriding Objectives’ of the new Civil Procedure Rules. You will be aware that the Overriding Objectives underpin everything the court does. Moreover, paragraph 4 of the Protocols Practice Direction states

 

 

To be honest it did not take alot with Marshall Ward about 7 days later they wrote to me bascially saying ' You are indeed indebted to this company but we have taken a commercial desicion and will not pursue this matter any further' Why......No credit agreement.

 

Wrap them up in paperwork, i wouldnt worry about it at all.

 

So get that CCA off then we can go from there.

 

:)

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yaffsimone1

 

Thanks for your timely reply. It is also reassuring to know that somebody else has managed to succeed against this company!

As far as the CCA request goes, would the following be a suitable template?

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

 

With reference to the above agreement, I would be grateful if you would send me a copy of this credit agreement and deeds of assignment.

 

I understand that under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Sections 77−79), I am entitled to receive a copy of me 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 my credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days.

 

I 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.

 

I look forward to hearing from you within the statutory timelimit.

And do I just send that to NDR and not to BargainCrazy/CBS?

Also, speaking as a person who has personally dealt with these before, if the letter is to be sent to NDR, would you recommend I send the letter to their Head Office address in Liverpool or to their letterhead address in Widnes, Cheshire? A note on the footer of their letterhead, just above their head office address, instructs me to send all correspondence to their Widnes address but I have read somewhere on the forum that somebody struggled to get Recorded Delivery confirmation (although I will use Special Delivery) - did you encounter any problems with this address yourself and is one of the addresses more preferential over the other?

Thanks again for your support, it really is reassuring! :)

Regards

Leigh.

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Ref No ******

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

I do not acknowledge any debt to your company

 

With reference to the above agreement, I would be grateful if you would send me a copy of the alleged credit agreement and a signed true copy of any deed of assignment relating to the above alleged agreement. You are notified that you are obliged to supply this documentation whether you are the original creditor or not, under s.189 of the Consumer Credit Act.

 

I understand that under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Sections 78) I am entitled to receive a copy of the alleged credit agreement on request. I enclose a payment of £1.00 which represents the fee payable under the Consumer Credit Act. This fee MUST NOT is used as payment against any alleged account.

A detailed statement of account showing complete list of transactions and charges relating to the alleged debt since inception of the alleged agreement.

 

I understand a copy of the alleged credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days.

 

I 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.

 

I look forward to hearing from you within the statutory timelimit.

 

 

 

 

I have added and chaged some bits in red. hope you dont mind

 

You MUST say ' i do not acknowledge this debt etc'

 

Sections 77-79 relate to three types of acccount, s77. Fixed Sum, s78. Rolling account credit and s79. Hire Purchase. You can only refer to one section, your will be s78 rolling account credit

 

Dont put 'my agreement' remember you do not acknowledge this debt as far as your concerned you dont have an agreement, so it is the 'alleged agreement'

 

You can ask for a deed of assignment but they wont send you one because they have not sold the debt on, at the moment it is in-house. Keep it in there anyway eventhough i have changed it slightly. As far as they are concerned you dont know any different about thier DCA's

 

I think that is ok for the minute. It is best to keep these things simple and to the point.

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Thanks for the ammendments yaffsimone1, I shall get that printed out now and try to catch last post this afternoon.

Should I also send the copy to NDR special delivery (as this is only for their records) and do I need to include a £1.00 fee with this copy?

I do not understand the paragraph you inserted:

A detailed statement of account showing complete list of transactions and charges relating to the alleged debt since inception of the alleged agreement.

am I requesting this be sent to me by them along with the credit agreement?

Finally, out of curiosity, what is the 'deed of assignment' in comparison with the credit agreement? Do they go hand-in-hand or are they two completely separate documents?

Thanks again for your help!

Leigh

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I am sorry i missed that last post. You could send it NDR but only a copy of your letter and postal order there is no need to send them another £1.00.

 

The detailed statement of account is bascially a statement of your account showing all transactions and charges since the account was opened. they may not send this as this information is usually provided when you S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) them but its worth a try.

 

The Deed of Assignment is bacially a document that shows they have sold the debt to a third party and for how much, again i doubt this has been done as NDR are an in-house company. Yes they are two seperate documents. Legally a DCA cannot pursue you for the debt unless it has been assigned to them by the creditor

 

Again my apologies for not catching your post, as long as you sent the CCA request with the £1.00 either to NDR or CBS it does not really matter as i said they are all the same company, the main thing is that it has gone.

 

Everything that is reqested in that letter should come together.

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