An amusing incident……..although the debt collector wont think so

Around 13 months ago, i took out a 12 month contract which was paid up front for a web domain.

There was no clause which allowed continuous renewals and of course there was no clause which said i had to tell the company that i didnt want to renew. So, i had my 12 months, and decided i didnt want to renew the website so i never gave it a second thought nor did  i expect to hear anything else about it.

Fast forward to this month i receive a wonderful little missive from a well known Debt Collection Agency (DCA) telling me i owe money and must pay and quoting the details of how i could pay. Now im not the sort of person to just pay when someone tells me to. So i had a think about this and thought “Hell no, im not paying these people” afterall why should i?

A further point to note is not only could these wonderful people not address the letter correctly, they couldnt even spell my name correctly. Now that i find either sheer incompetence or a total lack of care, either way its dam insulting and unprofessional.

So i decided to telephone these people. Their letter said  they were open 9 am to 6pm so i called at 17:30 hrs and got a recorded message saying “our offices are now closed, our opening hours are mon to fri 9am to 6pm!!!!”At this point im starting to think piss up and brewery are quite apt here.So i wrote to them instead telling them of my disgust at their poor and tardy approach to business.

I decided to call them and speak to them again the following day as i had hoped i could resolved the matter amicably. How wrong i was.

I ended up speaking to an Irish lady, now i didnt tell her my legal background at the beginning, i was just the average joe to her, and boy how she would play on that. I was told that i was liable for the debt as i had failed to write to the web company telling them i did not wish to renew my website. She progressed to tell me it was clearly written into the terms of my contract and she knew what my terms were and therefore i was liable for the debt.

I was further told that by my silence i had accepted the offer made.

It was at that point i disclosed my legal background and gave this woman the biggest lecture she had ever received on Contract Law.I explained that her assertion that by my doing nothing i had accepted a new contract was nonsense. I told her in contract you need to first off know the offer that is being made, the terms need to be clear and then if you are accepting an offer it must be by communicated acceptance. So if i didnt know about the offer how the hell could it be accepted.  She then said that she didnt know what the terms of my contract were, wait a minute, a while ago she said that she knew all of the terms now she doesnt? sounds like an attempt to mislead here.

She ended the call darn quickly once she knew who i was and what my legal background was.

 

Anyway, today i receive a nice email apologising for the inconvenience and closing my account. How nice of them. In my view it is the right conclusion but the way it came about was demonstrably wrong and totally unacceptable.

 

 

About paul @ watsons solicitors
Member of Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a litigator for one of the leading firms of solicitors in Consumer Credit Act litigation. I was the fee earner in the landmark ruling of Harrison v Link Financial Limited and many other County Court decisions.

4 Responses to An amusing incident……..although the debt collector wont think so

  1. Pingback: Why do people ignore debt collectors | paulatwatsonssolicitors

  2. Jack Wilder says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for this story, and the rest of your website. I found the advice on not relying on templates particularly helpful.

    I’ve recently been contacted out of the blue by a DCA who are encouraging me to call them posthaste. What advice would you give a true average Joe on how to approach such a phone call?

    Regards

    • Thanks, i have never been a fan of template letters personally, but i understand that some people do use templates to good effect.

      In this present predicament i would say the best option would be to write to the company concerned and ask them to set out why they wish to speak to you. The OFT guidance on debt collection which can be found here http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/consumer_credit/OFT664Rev.pdf at chapter 3 requires debt collectors to communicate in a clear manner, and not to mislead the debtor in any way. I would add that if it were my matter, i would ask them to keep matters to written form at this current stage so that there is a paper trail of correspondence especially if you genuinely do not know what it is that they wish to speak to you about.

      So if it were me, i would write to the company instead of calling them, for now.

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