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Dealing with Incorrect Debt

Imagine how badly your day starts off when you happen to open up your post and see that you have bills, junk mail and the occasional letter from a friend, but hidden under all that there is a debt-recovery firm that has sent you a letter stating that you owe them money. You panic at first, but then it becomes evident that they aren’t actually looking for you. Unfortunately, collection agencies have over £21 billion in debt right now to chase, so the fact that you might get contacted over someone else’s debt isn’t all that uncommon.

  • Due to the fact that lenders are often too busy to really chase down people, they will often sell that bad debt to another third-party firm who will then go after the debtor. The reason why is because once they recover the debt, as long as it’s over what they paid to the lender, they are making a good profit. This means that they will use their resources to get it back, and that can mean contacting the ex-partners of those debtors or even resorting to finding people with similar names and trying to find them.

    Part of the issue with those debt-recovery situations is that it is very hard to sort between who can’t pay and those who simply won’t pay. When they run into a situation where they feel the debtor is being elusive, they will send out something known as a “soft letter” to someone with a similar or even the same name, trying to find the actual person who does owe that debt. In the UK, it can be very difficult to track down people when they suddenly accumulate too much of a debt then move away, as there is no legal obligation for a debtor to actually tell his creditors where they have moved to or when they move. That makes soft letters such a common practice in the hopes of finding debtors.
In the event that you find you’ve received one of those letters, you have to fight back, because that agency is basically paid to try tracking down this debtor. Just because you tell them that you are not the actual debtor, though, doesn’t mean they will leave you be, as they may use that as a point of contact. Your best advice is to actually ask for the proof that you owe money. Then, they have to prove you have that debt, which typically is best when you ask for a signed agreement, because then you can verify whether or not that signature is yours. If it looks like you are getting threats about seizing your possessions, then be aware that there needs to be an actual judgement from a county court first.

Be sure that you know the exact rules in regards to avoiding your debts, though, because while things such as personal loans and credit cards do go off of your credit record, that only happens after six years AFTER the last communication, and not when you first had the debt. That means you need to be very aware of how long it has been since there was communication. And just because it goes off your record doesn’t mean companies can’t continue to pester you.
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