October 13, 2011

Even More Fun With Debt Collectors

Regulars may recall my spat with a debt collector last year. The piece is here if you want to refresh your memories.

This morning I received a letter from a different debt collection agency.

The letter is headed, in big, bold orange lettering "AUTHORISED DOORSTEP COLLECTORS VISIT"

They say they have been "authorised" to collect £31.00 on behalf of Sky Subscribers Services Limited. How nice for them.

They then go on to say unless I pay them that they will "authorise" Meritforce Limited to "proceed with a visit to my property".

I have responded thusly, via email:

I have received a letter from you today with reference to a spurious claim for £31.00.

Who are you?

I have never heard of you. If I have never heard of you it is therefore impossible for me to owe you anything.

It may be that I signed a contract with you but I cannot recall that event. Please send me the contract containing two wet signatures, mine and yours. This is required by law for a contract to be in place between two parties. It may however, have been a verbal contract. If so, please send me the date and time I made this verbal contract and the full details of the other party.

When I have had sight of the contract we can discuss what is owed and by whom.

Another thing you may want to bear in mind is that Sky had some other bottom-feeding DCA contact me. They did not have a contract with me either. They did not collect £31.00. They went away after one phone call. That was 18 months ago.

As a result of that communication I contacted Sky who told me that the matter was resolved. They did not want to pursue this alleged debt. The debt never existed. I was required, under my contract with Sky, to give them 30 days cancellation notice. I gave them 45 days notice. The matter is over.

Do not show up at my door. Ever.

You may write to me one more time to tell me that the matter is resolved. If you feel the urge to write to me about anything other than that I will counter-claim for five hundred (500) times the amount you are attempting to extort from me. I will pursue this in the Small Claims Court until I have satisfaction or until you have a CCJ registered against you. Do not test me on this. I have never lost a court battle yet, and I guarantee that you will lose.

Your choice.

Captain Ranty.

The letter says that my email will be receipted within 1 hour. The timestamp on my email to them says that I sent the email at 11: 52 on 13th October 2011.

They have not yet replied.

I'll post an update if/when they do reply.



Bill said...

The route I take with DCA's is one of total ignorance. Not as much fun as yours admittedly but works a treat.

Get this though. The Co-op Bank you know the one that calls itself ethical, is unwilling to help me by freezing the interest payments on what is looking increasingly like a dodgy credit card account (more as it evolves, assuming I remember).
It cannot help because despite even though the bank accepts my current financial position is difficult I am maintaining the monthly minimum payment.

So effectively they are telling me to stop paying and then they might be able to help!

I will naturally follow their advice and stop paying. I also told them to skip all the threatening letters and go straight to a DCA. Once a DCA has bought a debt or an alleged debt in the eyes of the law the debt is paid off in full no matter how much the DCA actually paid for it.
The key point for those that don't know is the DCA has NO contract with the original debtor.

Not a lot of people know that?
Who used to say that?
Buggered if I can remember.

Captain Ranty said...


If I just ignored them I would have nothing to write about!

I was amazed when I learnt that a couple of years ago: if they buy the debt then they have settled the debt. People forget that the debt was bought and sold without them (the alleged debtor) ever knowing about it.

I usually ask "Did you buy the debt?" If they say yes, I just thank you and good bye.

This sum is too small, but WTF are Sky playing at? Either the £31 was written off last year or it wasn't.

They need to make up their minds before I make up my mind to be "offended" or "harassed" and sue them as well.


Oh, and it was the tiny conjuror, Paul Daniels, who used to say that.

RantinRab said...

Apparently, I owe Grattan catalogue £46. I've never had dealings with them.

Some dra has written to me several times, I have ignored it.

I have no idea how they came about my name or address as we moved into this property at the beginning of the year. It's a new property on a new street.

I suspect that it's a fishing exercise.

Captain Ranty said...


Easy to ignore it when you know for sure you did nowt wrong, as in your case.

But Sky and I have a fifteen year history where I paid them every month on the dot. Why the greedy fuckers are squealing over £31 I do not know.

I do know that it will be a cold day in hell before they get it off me.


General Pyston Broak said...

Paul Daniels used to say "You'll like this, not a lot, but you'll like it."

Michael Caine played a character in Educating Rita who said "Not a lot of people know that".

Captain Ranty said...


You are right.

I did the bloody phrase in Michael Caines voice and still wrote Paul Daniels!

Brain has gone.

Thanks for the correction.


Xen347 said...

A lot of companies are now employing solicitors as DCA under the guise of 'Agents acting for and on behalf of'.

Neither side will tell you if the debt has been sold, precisely because of the reason you outline.

Another thing, you write of a 'verbal contract'. Is this the answering to your name over the phone ploy? If so then what's to stop me or you from doing exactly the same to them? Not asking their name obviously but getting the agent on the phone to contract with you.

There's something else as well. What form of contract is concluded with your consent, neither verbal or written? E.G. 'By purchasing a ticket to this car park you agree to the following terms and conditions'.

Isn't that a 'contract'? And if it is why are we not using the like, against them?

Anonymous said...

"Why the greedy fuckers are squealing over £31 I do not know."

I understand that one of the major shareholders of BSkyB has recently closed down one of its other revenue-making outlets due to a slight case of "problematic behaviour".

As a result this shareholder finds itself with a bit of a shortfall, and in order to keep itself in the style to which it has become accustomed it is evidently seeking money from whatever source it can lay its hands on.

You should really be more understanding and sensitive to their problems, CR!

Or not. ;-)

BTW, loved the earlier article too. :-D



Captain Ranty said...


Good points.

A verbal contract exists whenever you ask someone for something (or they ask you for something and money (or something else) is due to change hands.

Asking a newsagent for a coke or a paper is a verbal contract. They supply, you pay, both walk away happy. The contract was born, was executed, and was terminated in thirty seconds.

And I am doing exactly as you suggest in your last line: I am asking to see the contract.

No contract-no deal. I promised nothing. They get nothing.


Captain Ranty said...


I briefly thought exactly the same!

"Profits are down, Board Members, what do you suggest?"

"Chase Ranty for that 31 quid! That'll help!"

Dozy bastards. Have they no idea who they picked a fight with here?


Anonymous said...

It has been suggested to me, by someone in a dispute, that email alone isn't a valid communication. They said it had to be backed by an identical letter through the post, presumably registered. Does anyone know if this is correct or just a 'belt and braces' approach?

Bill said...

General Pyston Broak.
Many thanks kind sir. Mr Caine was the voice in my head but these days faces.............. can't make the connection sometimes!

Anonymous said...

I had a similar incident with BT. First they wanted £15.00. I sent them an email with (requst a receipt). They didn't respond. Next day I sent 1000 emails,then 10,000, leading on to 1,000,000. They soon responded when i sent a counter claim for £1000 damages.

Anonymous said...

CR, Sir you are an inspiration to this battered & gnarled but defiant Englishman of 63yrs. Maybe you realise that yourself and others are becoming Champions of the People. That's great but i suggest we ALL need to become Champions if we are to work in unison to reclaim what is rightfully ours and was stolen. Thanks to you and TTC and a few other bloggers my re-education these past months has been illuminating to say the least. The latest false flag bollox re:Iranian plan to kill Saudi ambassador in USA! just adds to the deceit of the whole globalist nwo bullshit we currently endure. To live under such evil corruption is an abomination, a capital crime perpetrated on the people but ultimately will prove to be the greatest test of objectivity and will of "We the People". The establishment in it's entirety is progressively deceitful & corrupt beyond belief and i include the traitorous house of bloody windsor in there as well. Let's all continue to build the momentum of lawful rebellion until the whole rotten pile of shit is consumed by the smouldering but growing flames of retribution and we can re-build our nation on principles as enshrined in those timeless documents such as Magna Carta and Common law as in the Bill of rights of 1689. yours, reiverdave

microdave said...

When my father died recently I needed to make some economies, and SKY was the obvious first choice. Mindful of their reputation for being very difficult to get rid of, I telephoned the call-centre and asked to cancel the contract. When asked why, I said that my father had just died and we could no longer afford SKY TV. Rather surprisingly there was no argument, and after a few minutes the lady said it had all been dealt with and the contract cancelled.

Within the hour our card had been switched off, but I then realised I had cancelled part way through the month. I wrote a confirmation letter and asked for the remainder to be reimbursed, which I sent by recorded delivery. Much to my surprise the next bank statement showed an appropriate refund!

James Higham said...

This morning I received a letter from a different debt collection agency.

So jealous. Not satisfied with just one, you get calls from multiple debt collectors and put us all to shame.

Bill said...

Google them I'll lay odds all that's different is the trading name.

Llyods TSB use MHA collections
(Trading name of Lloyds TSB)
then SCM Solicitors
(Trading name of Lloyds TSB)

They then passed or sold the alleged debt to Westcot
then Wescot Credit Services
(Trading name of Wescot)
then Credit Security Limited (aylesbury)
(Trading name of Westcot)

There are bound to be more names I've yet to encounter. The key thing is I spent a year asking LloydsTSB for a signed copy of the credit card agreement including legible terms and conditions prevailing at the time it was signed and despite three different named employees of LloydsTSB stating that they had asked for it to be sent nothing ever arrive so there was no agreement ergo no contract.

Span Ows said...

Good luck with this CR, bastards. My own bastards seem to have left me alone and I spent last night reconstructing Owsblog. Thanks for your comments this week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cap'n,

I do what the first poster Bill does - ignore them. I don't bother wasting my time or money phoning them. I don't have an answer machine, therefore they can't leave any messages. If they do call then 9 times out of 10 I won't answer the phone as I only answer calls if I know who's calling. The same for doorbell rings, although I live in a secured flat.

In a nutshell Cap'n I ignore them. Sure, I could go down your root, which is quite a laugh and take the piss, telling them my rights and theirs (none), but in all reality I can't really be bothered with these fuckwits, now that I realise what it's all about and I no longer sit in the audience watching someone control my life.

However, it is enjoyable reading to say the least.


Bill said...

Something to ponder..

I am administrating my late mothers estate account, sounds grand but we are not talking megabucks here. Anyhow I gets a cheque from some shares she held and pays it into the estate account as you do.

Turns out on the giro slip I entered the figure £1897.40 and the cheque was actually made out for £1697.40. I didn't realise this at the time. But here's what happened.

The Bank, won't say their name but its the one that thinks its ethical, cashed the giro slip. £1897.40 appeared in the estate account. Three weeks or so later there was a mysterious withdrawal of £200 with a bank code of 000000.
As I am the sole executor I knew I could only move money by cheque, there are no debit cards on estate accounts and no internet access so it must have been the bank stealing £200 out of the account.

The bank people never got in touch telling me what they had done.

So I e-mails the ethical banks top man pointing out their faux pas in revealing that the giro slip is the same as a cheque, at least to my mind. I also further queried various points about the credit card as outlined back up this comment tree.
I gets a reply from a bank employee who apologises for not informing me about the 'mismatch'. The letter then turns my points into complaints which they aren't and states that's the end to it. No it isn't!

A few of things arise from this.
Any money anyone deposits in a bank becomes the property of the bank.
All bank accounts opened by a name remain the property of the bank.
The Giro slip IS a promissory note in exactly the same way as a cheque .
This particular bank, the ethical one, is happy to cover things up with silence hoping no-one will notice their cock ups.
There is a gap in my understanding of why a giro slip and a cheque are required for payment when it appears either will do. If anyone can shed some light on this I would be very grateful.

The only times this bank has never got in touch with me by letter about things that happened on the account was on this occasion and last Christmas when the 'magicked' £1600 out of thin air and credited it to a credit card account only to remove it again a week later without saying anything which put the account 'into arrears' and they then charged me arrears and interest.

A letter to the bank to ask what was going on brought a rapid response which never explained where the credit came from. Whilst stating they had done nothing wrong as a gesture of goodwill they refunded the interest and arrears charges. A clear admission of guilt or am I too cynical?

bollixed said...

@ Anonymous

Emails are considered communications for contracts IF they have the full header. This means the email provider will have a copy or a record of this communication. This is only in the UK. Its different in Rep of Ireland for now.

I would suggest that if you really want to make you back it up a hardcopy posted from post office.

By the way, the new duvet sized stamps at the post office... Does anyone know if there is a legal or lawful reason for these? Are these still Queen's mail or is this now identifying a private carrier with all the legal connotations of having legal papers delivered by private messenger? The lady at the PO told me that it was so they could print a frank mark on them. It might be something. Might be nothing. Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

I went through something similar to this.
What happened was some scumbag who rented one of my properties used my identity to order £300 worth of stuff from a catalogue, fortunately for me he misspelt my name and got the birth date twenty years wrong.
I had to send off all sorts of stuff to prove I did not live at the address and my date of birth was incorrect.
Anyhow when I rang the collections department at said catalogue company I stated...
So all I have to do is give a name and an address and you send valuable goods without question ?
In a nutshell yes that's what they do ,no wonder they get ripped off so much they deserve it for being so bloody stupid.

Bucko said...

Captain - The Freeman stuff I may not get but debt collectors I do because I have had a lot of dealings with them, Meritforce included.

You're right that if they've bought the debt it's clear. If they haven't they need to supply the original contract and if it's over six years old they have no claim.

Some people say never speak to them on the phone, but when I have I just said I was recording the conversation and the line went dead.

debt collectors said...

If this is some sort of debt collectors scam then you must dispute the claim in writing and ask for proof of debt to have something to go to.

RBDC said...

How to reverse boycott debt collectors.

When a debt collector/debt collection/debt buyer company can repeatedly call with the intent of getting money their customers can repeatedly answer or call back with the intent of not giving them any. They need people to pay with as little talk as possible. They don't want to talk with people who know they are never going to pay. Be all talk and no pay. Answer when convenient. Call back. Give no information. Verify nothing. Ask as many questions as you can. Answer none.

Don't ignore/block/report them. It doesn't work. These folks want you to ignore them for as long as you can stand to or until you give them something valuable like money or information. Ignoring them is being their good customer. Sending a cease and desist is giving information. It lets them know you are still alive and remain their good customer. Preparing to initiate unlikely individual legal battles is being their good customer.

Be their bad customer. Make them talk to you fruitlessly for as long as they can stand to or until they stop selecting you as their customer. These companies cannot spend seconds much less minutes on the phone with every person who will never send them a dime. But they don't know who that is. You do. That knowledge is power. Every second you can keep their staff on the phone will render their business less profitable giving them a reason to never call you again.

Calling will not reset your SOL. Making a partial payment will.

One person who does this likes to ask general questions they should but usually won't answer, "May I have the name and address of your agent for service of process?" Calmly and slowly ask them to spell every word in the address. Read it back for verification. Control the pace. If they are rushing then politely ask them to slowly repeat. "Are you a corporation and if so in which state are you incorporated?" Repeat your questions when you don't get direct answers. When they won't answer a question ask, "Would you like to comply with the business and professions codes of your state?" That is usually the point when they hang up on me but if they say they want to comply then begin your questions again.

Repeat while you have the spare time. These folks have many victims and few operators. If everyone calls back but pays nothing the mass auto-dialer business model becomes unprofitable. Don't aid and comfort the enemy by ignoring them. Call! Have a nice long slow friendly chat! Make them hang up first.

Press 2 for Spanish.

There are certainly enough victims to take down this company so ignoring/blocking seems downright Orwellian to me. Really? We're just going to passively submit and go with a block list or however we manage ignoring an endless stream of unwanted phone calls day after day? No! Unite or remain conquered. Answer/return every call - become well practiced at keeping these folks on the phone - or count yourself not amongst the free.