1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Education Help on debt collection letter...

Discussion in 'General' started by Boscoe, 27 Jan 2021.

  1. Boscoe

    Boscoe Electronics extraordinaire.

    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Posts:
    1,108
    Likes Received:
    50
    Hi all,

    I need a bit of advice. I bought some bits from China in the summer that required some import duty paying. I paid all the invoices I received and thought it was all done however I didn't receive one and wasn't notified about it. Nothing in the post (that made it into my letter box) and no emails (I don't delete emails on this nature). I received a letter the other day from a debt collector acting on Fedex's behalf to collect the £80 I owe for the import costs plus ~£50 in statutory compensation/interest. I'm more than happy to pay the £80 but I find the £50 a bit out of order when there wasn't an original invoice or any gentle reminders in the meantime. Do I have any standing to refuse to pay the compensation in this case? Does anyone know where I could get some advice for this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 #noob

    Joined:
    17 Apr 2010
    Posts:
    2,174
    Likes Received:
    149
    I'd call them up and ask them to show proof they contacted you?
     
  3. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

    Joined:
    23 Sep 2009
    Posts:
    634
    Likes Received:
    132
    Yeah, if they can't provide proof (i.e. recorded call or recorded mail) then they can jog on. Most debt collectors are hoping to scare people into paying and rarely have a legal leg to stand on (unless its come from a court decision)
     
  4. IamJudd

    IamJudd Modder

    Joined:
    30 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    1,505
    Likes Received:
    142
    Agree with all the above... don't just take their word for it!
     
  5. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

    Joined:
    28 Sep 2009
    Posts:
    6,305
    Likes Received:
    876
    This. Had to do this a couple of times. For bonus points, mention things like potentially reporting them to Trading Standards. Other comments like 'This is the first I've heard of it' help too.
     
  6. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

    Joined:
    29 May 2008
    Posts:
    3,447
    Likes Received:
    475
    Also, this is worth consiidering: Now the UK has left the EU, this dispute can no longer be settled in UK courts. It falls under the jurisdiction of the country where the seller is located.

    Edit, for clarity the above refers to goods from the EU, but I don't know if the same can be said for goods from China.
     
  7. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    14,584
    Likes Received:
    3,401
    It's not the seller that's claiming a debt; it's the courier. FedEx Express UK Ltd. is registered in the UK.
     
  8. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

    Joined:
    29 May 2008
    Posts:
    3,447
    Likes Received:
    475
    Ahh, buggers.... then I guess there is the proof of contact route, how far that gets in avoiding the additional costs is anyones guess.
     
  9. Byron C

    Byron C Over-reacting and over-analysing since 1982

    Joined:
    12 Apr 2002
    Posts:
    7,014
    Likes Received:
    1,737
    I echo the other sentiments here: hells yes you do.

    If you they c0cked up and didn't send you an invoice then they don't get to stick you with a £50 fine for not paying an invoice you didn't know you had.
     
  10. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    14,584
    Likes Received:
    3,401
    @Boscoe Was the letter from Control Account PLC, by any chance? 'cos I've just received the same, claiming I owe FedEx £36.07 which has gone up to £54.57 with their charges and interest.

    Like you, I recall receiving no demand of the sort - and looking through my emails I didn't get any FedEx shipments around the date claimed (end of January 2020.)

    I'mma ring 'em now, see what's going on.
     
  11. Goatee

    Goatee Multimodder

    Joined:
    19 Apr 2015
    Posts:
    1,976
    Likes Received:
    823
    Google reviews for them as a company looks great:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Control+Account+PLC&rlz=1C1GCEU_enUS883US883&oq=Control+Account+PLC

    Link here on how to deal with them: https://moneynerd.co.uk/controlaccount-debt-recovery/

    Interesting snippet:

    Send a Prove the Debt Letter to Controlaccount PLC
    So, how do you make them provide proof? You simply have to ask them in a letter. These letters are known as prove the debt letters. You can write to them and let them know you received their letter and would like them to prove the debt they are referring to. You should also tell them that you will consider their communications harassment if they contact you again without the required proof.

    You may even want to tell them that you will report Controlaccount to the FCA or the Financial Ombudsman if they continue to make contact without replying with proof. It is best not to sign the letter in case Controlaccount were to use the signature to forge proof (better to be safe than sorry!).

    Some people feel comfortable writing these letters themselves, but if you do not, there are plenty of excellent templates you can use online. Use these detailed templates and swap some of the words for your details to make an effective prove the debt letter in minutes.

    If you send a prove the debt letter. You may never hear from Controlaccount PLC ever again!

    This is especially true if they had the wrong person because they used a scattergun method on people with similar names and hoped someone would own up to the debt and pay.
     
  12. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    14,584
    Likes Received:
    3,401
    Called 'em, and while I was on hold found the debt they're talking about: it's from TNT, not FedEx, which is why I didn't find it in the first place.

    Someone sent me a review sample, which was clearly marked as a commercial sample and not for resale - ergo import VAT should not be charged.

    TNT then processed it incorrectly, charged £12.07 import VAT, £24 handling fee for a total of £36.07.

    I queried it immediately, pointing out that no import VAT should be charged - and therefore the deferment fee should also not be charged. Received confirmation that they'd received the email. Left the ball in their court, heard nothing back, forgot about it.

    That's the debt Control Account is talking about.

    Explained all this when I got through, and the Control Account dude offered to waive their charges and the VAT to take it down from £54.57 to £24 to "get it all sorted today."

    No.

    "Tell you what I can do, I can drop it to £20 to get it sorted today?"

    Nup. Happy to see Control Account in court, if necessary.

    "Okay, I'll make a note recommending that this not be pursued further, but it's not my company so I can't guarantee anything."

    Good enough, I guess. Going to put something in writing now, confirming the conversation on the phone.

    EDIT:
    Did some further digging... turns out I actually paid the flamin' VAT on the 12th of February, 'cos they wouldn't release the parcel without it. Rang Control Account again to give 'em the reference number for the bank transfer.

    EDIT EDIT:
    Second rep said he'd pass the information on to FedEx (TNT as was); I've also filled in the online query form with details of the two telephone conversations and a screenshot from my internet banking portal proving that payment for the VAT (but not the handling charge, which TNT verbally agreed to waive) was made on the 12th of February 2020. Requested confirmation that they're not going to pursue the "debt" any further; we'll see what I get.
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2021
  13. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

    Joined:
    29 May 2008
    Posts:
    3,447
    Likes Received:
    475
    So if you paid the VAT to release said parcel via credit card, you could raise a dispute?
     
  14. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    14,584
    Likes Received:
    3,401
    I did it via FPO, and I've given Controlaccount the reference number of the payment over the telephone *and* included a screenshot of my banking screen in the follow-up email (well, web-form query) I sent confirming the conversation in writing.

    I've also started talking to TNT UK on Twitter via DM, giving them all the details they'd need to call Controlaccount off. Hopefully I can actually get on with work now...

    EDIT:
    Pfft. Sent all the details to TNT, as requested, and they said "can't do nowt if it's with Controlaccount, they need to close the case." Which is funny, 'cos Controlaccount said all they can do is advise the client (i.e. TNT), and it's the client's decision whether or not to pursue the case further.

    Furrfu.
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2021
  15. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

    Joined:
    23 Sep 2009
    Posts:
    634
    Likes Received:
    132
    By the time the debt collectors have it, its common for them to have 'bought' the debt for pennies on the pound, hence they get up to such shady practices to recoup whatever they can. Wouldn't surprise me if TNT have written it off already hence their statement of 'it's not up to us'
     
  16. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

    Joined:
    29 May 2008
    Posts:
    3,447
    Likes Received:
    475
    Which I'd simply say, see you in court. If they're willing to pursue it to court, I'd come just to watch it being thrown out.
     
  17. bawjaws

    bawjaws Multimodder

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    4,143
    Likes Received:
    747
    If I had to hazard I guess, then I'd say that as the debt is a year old, TNT have sold it on to Controlaccount (for pence in the pound as @Spraduke says), so it's not their debt anymore. I guess it is possible that TNT have merely contracted Controlaccount to collect the debt, though, but this seems like more hassle than it's worth for them.

    Would not be surprised in the slightest if Controlaccount have indeed bought the debt, but are hiding behind it still belonging to TNT as a way of trying to fatigue you into ponying up just to get them to piss off! Funny that they were able to offer to settle for less than you "owed" TNT (i.e. £20 when you allegedly owed TNT £36.07) but apparently can't cancel the whole thing despite you providing proof that you don't owe TNT anything... Tell them to bolt!
     
  18. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

    Joined:
    28 Sep 2009
    Posts:
    6,305
    Likes Received:
    876
    Bloody hell Gareth, you're a better man than me. I would've lost my temper when they still tried to extract money.
     
  19. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

    Joined:
    20 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    12,234
    Likes Received:
    1,517
    I had someone try and collect a debt that wasn't valid, they called three times and every time I laughed and said no. Then I never heard from them again.
     
    IanW and Pete J like this.
  20. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2015
    Posts:
    12,198
    Likes Received:
    2,040
    TNT take the piss.

    I ordered my ex a wheels and doll baby tank top on ebay. It was $40aus.

    Some fat sweaty bloke in a hi viz demanded £38 on the doorstep. I was at the point of punching him when my ex paid it. I was furious. It's a proper racket they have going on there.
     

Share This Page