What to Do If I Received Debt Collection Letters for Someone Else
Receiving debt collection letters for someone else? Well, you're not alone. In the UK, innocent people constantly find themselves having to prove their identity to creditors. This is why you need to know your rights if letters and calls start arriving at their property.
The Guardian reported in its Consumer Rights section that a single mother from north London went through such an ordeal. According to the article, a court order named her property as the address of a council tax absconder. This resulted in a bailiff showing up at her home and asking her to prove her identity.
Three months after she bought her home, letters began arriving concerning a debt that wasn't hers. One day, she received an already-opened letter stating that an enforcement agent would be coming the following week. The agent would be "taking control of goods and transporting such controlled goods to a place of sale," the letter threatened. It turns out that a prior occupant with a different first and last name owed over £7,000 in council tax. If you're also receiving debt collection letters for someone else, use DoNotPay's Debt Collections product before things escalate.
What Is the Purpose of a Debt Collection Letter?
A debt collection letter may serve some or all of the following purposes:
|Informing You That You Owe Them Money||This letter would simply remind you of your debt’s existence. Your debt company would send this if you have forgotten about your debt or currently lack cash flow but still intend to pay.|
|Establishing A Payment Process||If you’re struggling with cash flow, you can ask for a payment plan with your debt collectors. They will then send you a letter with what payment plans they offer.|
|Starting Legal Proceedings||If you haven’t paid your debt in a long time, your debt company will then send you a debt collection letter outlining the legal actions that they would take if you keep avoiding them. If you do not respond promptly with full payment of their debt, then they will initiate their collection process.|
The Responsibilities of Debt Collection Agencies in the UK
The Guardian pointed out that the UK has industry guidelines stating debt collection agencies must "must take reasonable steps to ensure that the person traced is, in fact, the customer." However, a debt collection agency's information can be incorrect, forcing new occupants of a residence to prove their identity. The Credit Services Association's (CSA) code of practice dictates that members are required to do the following:
- Act swiftly to correct and update data internally and with credit reference agencies. This holds especially true if CSA members become aware that certain data is either out of date and/or inaccurate.
- Take necessary steps to confirm beyond a reasonable doubt that the person contacted at a residence is indeed the debtor in question.
Sean Feast, the CSA spokesman, said that agencies never want to hound someone who isn't the rightful debtor — it wastes time, money, and resources. Feast claims that it's impractical to expect agencies to trace every single contact, adding that instances of mistaken identity will happen. Imagine if law enforcement treated serving search warrants or executing arrest warrants in a similar manner. But when it comes to collection agencies, doing all they can to keep mistaken identities to a minimum is acceptable.
Never mind that such mistaken identifications often lead to innocent citizens feeling distressed. In addition to that, as we at DoNotPay have written about numerous times, lenders play their own role in people owing debts they can't pay. Take Cheque Centre as an example. For years, the financial solutions firm instructed its employees to target customers who were already knee-deep in debt and persuade them to borrow more money.
It boiled down to Cheque Centre's upper management only caring about earning higher commissions and bigger bonuses. Little to no concern was had for the already struggling families barely making ends meet — the harm such practices caused. And this is what we at DoNotPay believe in fighting against; fighting against the injustices in our world by helping average people even the playing field a bit with big corporations and governmental bureaucracies.
What Can I Do if a Debt Collector Contacts Me?
If you’ve been receiving debt collection letters for someone else, stay calm. The first step is to verify the identity of the debt collector and make sure it's not a scam.
Do not provide any personal information until you've received the debt validation letter in writing. Here are the steps we recommend:
- Review the debt validation letter and verify the amount owed to the original creditor, what the debt was for, and the collector's identity.
- If you have any questions or don't think the debt belongs to you, file a debt verification request. If the statute of limitations on the debt is close to expiring, it may also be beneficial to simply ignore the collection and wait it out.
- Once you've verified the debt, you have a few options.
- Pay off the debt.
- Ask for the debt collector to stop contacting you. Once you make this request, they are legally required to stop contacting you, but they may escalate the case with a lawsuit.
- Specify how you want them to communicate with you, whether it's through your lawyer or asking them not to call you at work.
Stop Receiving Debt Collection Letters For Someone Else With DoNotPay
Whether a creditor or collection agency recently contacted you or you're being systematically harassed, DoNotPay's AI-powered attorney can help you. It will figure out if the debt collector is operating according to guidelines set forth by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
We'll start by guiding you through some questions. Then we'll help you with what actions you should take. Subsequently, we'll contact the creditors or debt collectors with demand letters on your behalf. If we find out that their actions go against the FCA guidelines, you may wish to report the creditor or collection agency to a governing body. In that case, we'll forego the demand letters and file complaints on your behalf instead.
This is how it works:
- Search “debt collection” on DoNotPay.
- Answer a series of questions about the debt collectors, including when you were contacted and how you were contacted, so we can determine if they have violated any debt collection laws.
- Decide which course of action you want to take based on our guidance, such as filing a debt verification request, demanding for the collectors to stop contacting you, or reporting them to a professional trade association.
DoNotPay helps its users with other debt-related issues including:
- Moorcroft Debt Recovery
- Amigo Loans Refund
- Lowell Financial
- Marston Group Holdings
- DWP Debt Management
- Provident Loans Refund
- Advantis Debt Collection
Other Ways DoNotPay Can Help With Your Financials
If you're having issues with debt collection, you might need help in other financial areas. Whether you want to save money, make money, or take advantage of freebies, DoNotPay has something for you. You can begin by:
- Lowering Your Payday Loans
- Close Your Bank Accounts
- Fight Outrageous Bank Fees
- Filing For Bankruptcy
- Get Help Paying Your Bills