With a consumerist culture encouraging us to spend our money, getting into debt is unfortunately a pitfall for many people. Not only is this bad for your quality of life, but being in debt has all sorts of negative mental effects – it may get to the point where every time you get a letter through the post, you are filled with a sense of stress, doom, and despair. Debt is so easy to get into, but so difficult to get out of again.
You can imagine the despair of those then who receive demands for debt repayments when they haven’t borrowed any money. Companies can make this mistake due to computer issues, human error, or disorganisation in the workplace. Even though you know these debts aren’t yours, it can be surprisingly difficult to convince these organisations to back off.
With big names like Scottish Power, you are lucky enough to have a thorough complaints procedure but good luck to you if you are involved with the payday loans sector.
The Office of Fair Trading
Yet, there is still hope: recently the Office of Fair Trading has been given the right to grill any rule-breakers, and this month alone, issued a £554,505 fine to payday lender MCO Capital Limited and took away their consumer credit license.
Unfortunately, this company had failed to double-check the identities of the people they were handing out loans to and fraudsters used the details of over 7,000 people to borrow millions of pounds of money. Even though MCO Capital Limited knew they had blundered, they still hounded the victims for repayments.
Another company that is guilty of unfair accusations when it comes to money is the online site Wonga.com. It told its customers that they had committed fraud by asking for a payment to be reversed, through their banks.
What Do You Do If You Are Contacted?
The first thing you need to do is write a letter to the lender so there is documented proof that you dealt with the situation straight away. Remember, you can’t be sued for money you don’t owe, so don’t worry about that. Companies won’t take you to court until they have explored absolutely every other avenue.
Whatever you do, don’t just pray that the letters will stop – do something about it as soon as possible. These accusations can be negatively affecting your credit rating, meaning you will struggle to apply for a mortgage or loan in the future, or maybe even be denied tenancy in a rented building.
Ask the company to conduct an investigation into your debts and that all the letters coming through are stopped for the time being. If they get shirty with you, calmly say that failure to disclose will be brought to a judge’s attention in a court of law.
Keep in touch with every company involved: unfortunately, the lending business may have contacted a debt collector, so send a letter to them too. You are protected by The Office of Fair Trading, and debt collectors must deal with you fairly – download a complaint form from their website and fill it in.
This guest article was submitted by Francesca on behalf of IVA Expert. If debt problems are getting you down, read more about how an IVA could help by visiting their website.