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Dealing with debt collectors

26th January 2022 · 4 minute read

Published by The Real Debt Guy

  • Debt Collector
  • Debt problems
  • Communicating with Debt Collectors
  • Managing debt
  • Financial problems
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What do I do with a debt collector letter

Debt Collector Letters – Why you shouldn’t throw them away!

Receiving letters from debt collectors can be worrying, and many people find it difficult to tackle them head on. These pieces of paper have an ability to play with your emotions, often making you act irrationally. They can end up shoved down the back of the sofa, hidden away with other creditor chaser letters, or ripped up and put in the bin. Instead of confronting the letter, it can feel easier to ignore them, in the hope that the problem will eventually go away.

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You will read on the internet people with the best of intentions saying, "use it as toilet paper because that's all it's worth" or "just bin them, they can't do anything". Yes, sometimes a Debt Collector will ‘give up’, but this isn’t due to your lack of correspondence. It will be a commercial decision made by the business. By ignoring the letters, ripping them up, and putting them in the bin, you’re gambling.

The truth is, this is bad advice and could create more problems by following it.

“But I didn’t receive any letters”, won’t work

If a Debt Collector or Creditor has decided they will recover your debt; they will continue to send letters. It doesn’t matter how many you put in the bin; they will continue to send them. Eventually, the day may come that the letters you’ve been discarding result in you receiving a County Court Claim Form.

Your planned defence might be to say that "you didn't receive any letters", or "you didn’t have an opportunity to read them". Be wary, there is a rule in the UK that states, a letter is considered ‘received’, if the letter has not been returned after a reasonable amount of time has passed. This essentially means that the recipient will have had enough time to open and read the letter.

You can see how this tactic isn’t going to stand up in court.

The Debt Collector or Creditor will happily send several letters, over a long period of time, as it is part of their strategy. Let’s look at why.

Sending lots of letters.

It is much harder for you to argue that you didn't receive ten letters, as opposed to just one letter. If all ten letters go in the bin, that means not even one of those letters has been sent back to the Debt Collector. Not one letter has been marked as ‘undelivered’ or ‘return to sender’.

Based on ten letters being sent, and not one being returned, it is reasonable for the court to assume that you have received at least one.

Sending letters over a long time period.

The Debt Collector also must wait for a long period of time to pass before taking strong action, such as a County Court Judgement. This is to allow a reasonable amount of time for you to read and respond to at least one of the letters, it is also part of protocol.

So, it’s fair to say that if the letters are not returned to sender or remain unactioned by you and you are not making payments, you are leaving yourself open to the risk of legal action.

Don't forget to read The Real Debt Guy's final thoughts below!

The information in this article is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication.

The Real Debt Guy's final thoughts.

We get it, honestly, we do. Receiving letters from debt collectors can be worrying. All you want to do is hide the letters away or you simply don’t know what to do, so you don’t do anything.

By holding on to these letters or throwing them in the bin, you are at risk of creating a bigger problem.

It won’t be easy, but you’ll feel so much stronger if you tackle your debt head on. The best thing you can do is make sure you understand the rules that are in place to protect you from the aggressive recovery action a Debt Collector might try. You find this in section 7.3 of the Financial Conduct Authority Handbook.

It is there to protect you, as long as you are doing the best you can to deal with your financial situation (see our Token Payment Method article).

Don't be fearful, take one empowering action to get started and put yourself back in control.

Find out how to handle your debt with a Debt Collector and why you should always communicate with them in writing.

Simplifying complicated matters.

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