June 25, 2010

More Fun With Debt Collectors

Fifteen years ago I signed a one year contract with a satellite TV provider. Every month, without fail, I paid them £31 for my subscription. Before we moved home recently, I asked Clan Ranty if I should arrange to have the dish relocated to the new gaff. They all said that they don't really watch it anymore, so I ended the contract with the provider. I then cancelled my direct debit.

A month or so later, a letter arrives from the provider. It was very nice, very polite, and asked why I had cancelled my DD. I explained, again, that our business was done, as I no longer wanted/needed their services. Three weeks later, another letter plops onto the mat. This one more severe in tone and suggesting that I pay up or else.

I chose the "or else" option.

Two letters later, this time with bold red fonts, (which I ignored) and they gave up.

This morning I get a letter from XXXXXX Credit Services Ltd. They asked me to phone them "urgently". Knowing full well that I shouldn't have bothered, I called them. Much of this is a replay of last weeks call with the utility provider.

(They are DCA, and I am CR).

[Ring, ring, ring ring. Usual electronic guff at the start of any of these calls, including the warning that calls may be recorded.]

DCA: Blah de blah Credit Services, what is your client account number?

CR: I am not your client. I do not have an account with you. Who are you anyway?

DCA: We are a debt collection service.

CR: That isn't what your letterhead says. It says here that you are a credit services company.

DCA: It means the same thing. What is the number on the letter? It starts with "D".

CR: Thanks. I would never have found it without that valuable clue. It is D/12345678.

DCA: Thank you. Can you confirm your full address?

CR: You wrote to me. At the correct address. Now you want me to confirm it?

DCA: Yes.

CR: Why should I? I don't know you from Adam, I don't have an account with you, you are not acting for me in any capacity whatsoever.

DCA: Well, without you confirming the address, I cannot continue. I need it for security purposes.

[I have the option here, of giving her the address, or saying goodbye. I thought I would play some more, and confirmed my address].

DCA: Thank you. I am calling about your refusal to pay the provider the £31 you owe them.

CR: Who says I owe them anything? And who says that I "refused" them anything?

DCA: They do. Can you tell me how long you received services?

CR: Are we being recorded?

DCA: Yes.

CR: Good. Then we have on record that you and I have no contract in place. To answer your question, I signed a one year contract with them. In 1995.

DCA: Then why didn't you pay them this £31 via direct debit?

CR: The contract had ended. They seem reluctant to let go of me. The feeling is not mutual. I am not paying £31 for nothing. I received no services during the period they are whining about. I told them it was over. It is still over.

DCA: Well, they have asked us to collect the money on their behalf. When can you pay?

CR: If I had a mind to, I could pay you right now.

DCA: Super! If you can just let me have your credit card detai...

CR: Whoa! I said "if I had a mind to". I don't.

DCA: Oh! Well...

CR: Are we still being recorded?

DCA: Yes.

CR: Good. Answer me this; have you bought this debt off the provider?

DCA: No.

CR: Are you certain? I will request this recording for court if I have to.

DCA: No, we haven't. The amount is too low.

CR: So what's your next move?

DCA: I am going to put this information into the file. You will not hear from us again.

CR: Excellent. Tata.

So the ball is lobbed back to the provider. No doubt more letters will follow. If the mood takes me I will play some more, but this is a ridiculous amount to get worked up over.

I imagine they will give up. If not, I am happy to go and play in front of our local sheriff.

It could be fun.

A couple of years ago I would have just paid this £31 to shut them up. It is far more entertaining to say no. I only went to the trouble of typing it all out so that you knew there was an option to simply forking over your money.

BTW, my skirmish with HMRC continues, and the ball is back in their court. I will let you know what they have to say. Previously, their letters came pretty quickly after I sent them one of my Notices. There is a curiously large gap between missives this time. Mind you, I did urge them to lob my Notices (I don't write letters anymore. I send them Notices. There is a difference), at their lawyers. I gently explained that this was far too complex for a Tax Inspector. I appreciate that their understanding of the statutes (which they quote with gay abandon) is fullsome, but I don't think these inspectors know the law. At least, not as well as I do, in this instance.

Also, I sent a new affidavit to one David Cameron dba as The First Lord Of The Treasury. He is not required to respond for another couple of weeks. I can't give you the details of my affidavit yet, (until he has responded, or not, whatever the case may be) but I will share the details when I can. Suffice it to say that if he ignores my affidavit, or fails to rebut it point for point, as the law requires, then we have a new game to play.

I am looking forward to it.



Anonymous said...

With regards to the Sky and its inherant problems, I have been contacted since leaving sky three years ago, by 5 different DCA's.

So far its a case of take me to court to prove I owe the money, if you don't I will not pay etc etc, they all refer to originator. lol good fun


Captain Ranty said...

Good god, three years!

They are getting on my tits already and it hasn't even been three months.

I actually asked them to send the DCA around to my new gaff. They declined. Then the letter from the DCA arrived this morning.

Tenacious bastards, aren't they?


PeteB said...

I've saved this for when I ditch Tiscali shortly. I'm sure it will come in handy.

I should have an interesting chat with the call centre guys in Bombay in due course.

Captain Ranty said...

Good luck Pete.

Be sure to get in who is contracted with who if you are being recorded. That sorts the wheat from the chaff.

The DCA don't/won't have a contract in place with you. If they have bought the debt from your provider, remember to say thanks just before you say goodbye.


Billy Blofeld said...

I'm liking the game!

Admiral Insurance - now there is another bunch of mother-fuckers..... beware..... although you can get a good long game out of them, where they try a whole range of bullying and intimidatory tricks, before they fold.

Captain Ranty said...


I am learning that these fuckers just like to bully people.

What kind of deviant do you have to be to terrify some poor bastard into forking over money they don't have to? And then go home feeling satisfied?

I'd never even interacted with these scum before a few weeks ago but I am discovering that they are easy meat.


Dioclese said...

Two stories :
(1) I took a three month free trial of Sky when they first started out years ago. At the end of the 3 months, I rang them and said I didn't want the thing and could they please take it away? The girl replied "You don't want it? But everyone wants it. We don't have a system for taking it away."
They eventally took it away seven months later....

(2) I moved into a new house. The previous owner had not cleared his Amex account. I got a snotty letter addressed to him, which I ignored. Several more followed. Eventually I got a recorded delivery, which I refused to accept as it wasn't addressed to me. The postie shoved it through the letterbox anyway.
I opened it and rang the agency. I said I had no forwarding address but told them the name and address of his employers.
Several more letters arrived, which I ignored.
Eventually a gorilla arrived at the door and said he was coming in to repossess goods. He had no warrant but he was a big bloke and pushed his way in. I decked him and my wife called the police while I restrained him. They came straight away. My wife said there was a assault in progress.
I was asked to produce my passport to prove who I was. The police gave the gorrilla a bollocking and sent him on his way.
Basically Amex sell on the debt and it passes on down the line of debt collectors until a man with a baseball bat arrives and breaks your kneecaps.

Be careful and don't say I didn't warn you!

P.S. What's your beef with the revenue - did I miss that one?

Captain Ranty said...


They are cheeky bastards, I'll say that for them. I read your story elsewhere. I think I even registered my disgust.

I have a beef with the entire government (because parliament itself is unlawful) and the monarchy (because ER has committed treason. Many times). When I entered Lawful Rebellion, I stepped away from all statutes. Paying taxes comes under statutes. Ergo, I have started to tell them that I am paying no more. I have begun with a corporation tax demand that they sent me. All I have done is ask them some simple questions which they don't seem able to answer. It will end in a) a courtroom or b) an embarrassing climb-down for them.

Either way, I am going to tell you all what happens. Good, bad or indifferent.

Have a sniff around for some of my older postings on this subject. That'll give you the backstory.


Catosays said...


Take great care with Tiscali (now TalkTalk) I left them in December and they've pursued me ever since for money I don't owe them. They've tried the biz with Debt collectors etc. Now I've handed it to OTELO (Telecoms Ombudsman) to sort out.

I rang every number I could find for TalkTalk/Tiscali. They never give you a number to call apart from Customer Services and that's in bloody Bombay or South Africa.
They'll give you reference numbers and then do absolutely fuck all.

OTELO are very very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Dont pay Coooncil Tax. Get letters from Debt Coolectors.
Ignore them.

Have fun.

Freeman Dave

Captain Ranty said...


Cooncil Tax is on my list. I wanted to score a major win with the taxman first. They seem to be the most vicious.

I know it's common for "them" to go for the soft targets first, but I thought I'd try the opposite.

If I can beat HMRC I can beat anyone.

Be well,


Barking Spider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barking Spider said...

CR, you're a card, mate - I'm loving this!

And nice job twatting that goon, Dioclese. ;-)

opsimath said...

You are an inspiration to us, Cap'n - keep up the good work and keep us posted as to how it's going; I'd never have had the nerve to do any of this without your blog - thank you!

Dick Puddlecote said...

"CR: You wrote to me. At the correct address. Now you want me to confirm it?

DCA: Yes.

CR: Why should I? I don't know you from Adam, I don't have an account with you, you are not acting for me in any capacity whatsoever.

DCA: Well, without you confirming the address, I cannot continue. I need it for security purposes."

This bit always amuses me. But it enrages Mr P Sr. He has them explaining it for serious lengths of time.

He enjoyed your last DCA post, I'm just going to ping this one over to him as he'll like this one more (probably). :-)

handymanphil said...

Reverse the "Data Protection Act" on them Ranty. They alway6s seem to ask you for all details but you try asking them! It's hilarious when they don't know what to say next :)

Caratacus said...

Fantastic stuff Captain. KBO.

Had a similar do with Cabot/Barclaycard some years ago. Whenever court was mentioned they came over all bashful.

Bastards should be fought at every turn.

James Higham said...

It's a bloody nightmare, isn't it? On the other hand, I had an arrangement with one of these TV companies in 1995, the TV was stolen, they replaced at no cost, serviced for free and when I ended it, thanked me for the time together.

Seems things have changed.

Bucko said...

Love it!
I have had the phone calls where they ask for my address and date of birth. I always say, you rang me on my phone, who are you. It always ends in a stalemate and I ask if I should put the phone down. I always get them to say yes before I say, Thanks for your call, Goodbye.

Billy mentioned insurance. I once had Adrian Flux theatening to take me to court. A couple of months after I stopped hearing from them, I phoned back and demanded that they take me to court. The poor girl kept saying that the matter had been resolved. Because they never contacted me and told me that, I gave her a lot of pain.

It's all good fun

Captain Ranty said...

And here's me thinking I am some sort of pioneer!

You buggers have been at it for years. You could give me tips!

Thanks for all your lovely comments. It's good to know that pushing back is a popular thing.

Yes, Phil, I really should mention the Data Protection Act but I don't believe in statutes anymore.

I could just start out saying that I live according to common law, followed by "Do carry on", and listening to what they have to say.

Oh, and I may start recording the calls as well. I will inform them that I am doing so for entertainment purposes, and that it's going out on YouTube. Wonder if that'll rattle 'em?


Angry Exile said...

""DCA: ... What is the number on the letter? It starts with "D".

Numbers that start with letters, eh? Oh well.


Captain Ranty said...

You are sharp like a razor!

I missed that. I would have made a sarky remark. Well, I thought I was being sarky with my answer but it went over her head.


Anonymous said...

Capt, A web site of some help with DCA's and banks etc I found "The Consumer Action Group" invaluable.

Template letters etc, really worth a look.


Captain Ranty said...

Thanks lfb,

I'll swing by for a gander.