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What to do about Debt Collection Agency Letter?

DavidSWP

Casual Member
Has anyone any idea on the best way to proceed when faced with a letter from the debt collection agency Fast 4 use?

They are trying to charge me for March bandwidth usage. This is obviously illegal since they (claim) to have notified customers on March 2nd about the changes they made moving from a flat rate monthly payment to their punative 'pay as you go' charging scheme. Infact they never notified me at all but that's irrelevant anyway.

As mentioned on various other threads this is contrary to the Communications Act 2008 section 9.3 which states that if an ISP makes changes to their service in a way that is likely to negatively effect their customers they must give 1 months notice and offer customers the chance to cancel free of charge.

It seems that these companies are becoming a law unto themselves and can make up any kind of charges and when customers obviously refuse to pay they pass them onto debt collection agencies who have no knowledge or interest in the issues behind the 'debt' but only threaten and intimidate people. Its a sad state of affairs that these companies have the power to affect you credit rating and (they claim) take you to court.
 

timeless

ULTIMATE Member
Staff member
Volunteer Mod
firstly ld make sure you keep all windows locked etc (according to someone here its quite legal when faced with a debt collection inspector to climb in through a window if not locked to reclaim owed monies) then speak to ofcom and trading standards..
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
The best advice is to try arguing your case to the debt collectors first but failing that you might have to pay up. Debt collectors are a bit like the Mafia and if you can't instantly resolve the problem then it's better to pay than have your life credit rating ruined over a small sum.

Otherwise you should complain to Trading Standards and F4/NJP's complaints handler, CISAS. The issue here may come down to whether or not Fast4 did enough to inform you about the changes and I don't know whether sending out e-mails qualifies or not, I'd very much like to know the answer.

Personally speaking I don't think they should because e-mail is highly fallible as a communications technology but I fear it may be an accepted form. Just make sure to pay first and try to resolve it later otherwise you could be impacted in the future.
 

Agrajag

ULTIMATE Member
according to someone here its quite legal when faced with a debt collection inspector to climb in through a window if not locked to reclaim owed monies

I'm pretty sure that only applies to baliffs..

For the baliffs to get involved, it would have to go through the county court first and they must have a 'warrant of execution'.
 

DavidSWP

Casual Member
The best advice is to try arguing your case to the debt collectors first but failing that you might have to pay up. Debt collectors are a bit like the Mafia and if you can't instantly resolve the problem then it's better to pay than have your life credit rating ruined over a small sum.

Otherwise you should complain to Trading Standards and F4/NJP's complaints handler, CISAS. The issue here may come down to whether or not Fast4 did enough to inform you about the changes and I don't know whether sending out e-mails qualifies or not, I'd very much like to know the answer.

Personally speaking I don't think they should because e-mail is highly fallible as a communications technology but I fear it may be an accepted form. Just make sure to pay first and try to resolve it later otherwise you could be impacted in the future.


Id personally have to disagree with the advice that its better to pay up. If we don't stand on principle then these companies will continue to get away with it. It may be a small sum but they are relying on large numbers of people thinking 'I may as well pay up to get rid of them'. Why should they make huge sums of money through intimidating their customers?

Even if they did send an email in March as they claim, they still can't charge me for March bandwidth usage because they didn't provide any notice. They could charge me for April but not March.
 

zag5

ULTIMATE Member
I know how you must feel but I think Mark was just trying to save you the hassle & grief of being chased by the debt collecting agency.
I bit the bullet & paid their outrageous exit fee when I left but I'll continue to be a PITA to them on this forum.
 

Kits

Super Moderator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Id personally have to disagree with the advice that its better to pay up. If we don't stand on principle then these companies will continue to get away with it. It may be a small sum but they are relying on large numbers of people thinking 'I may as well pay up to get rid of them'. Why should they make huge sums of money through intimidating their customers?

Even if they did send an email in March as they claim, they still can't charge me for March bandwidth usage because they didn't provide any notice. They could charge me for April but not March.


I would do a letter of complaint explaing Fast4 failure to contact customers with changes that were detrimental to their service, put in links to proof on these forums of this failure. Send all recorded delivers first one to debt collectors, second to Fast4, third to fast4 ADR fourth to OFCOM (who should be fed up with fast4 complaints by now) and one to Trading Standards. Request that the debt collector returns this to Fast4 until the outcome of the ADR since others have already won Fast4 on this already one did post in the forums somewhere he didn't even have to pay the leaving fee. The ADR will decide if it is legal or not and is binding on all parties that means if Fast4 lose they get nothing.
You then take care never to phone the debt collector back always let them contact you, never arrange a time to meet them as this is implied as an invite into your home.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.
 

Mel

ULTIMATE Member
Did you write to Farce4 disputing their invoices as you said you would in your earlier thread http://www.ispreview.co.uk/talk/showthread.php?t=26906

I'm going to put it in writing to Fast4 claiming my notice period back plus expenses and complain to CISAS and trading standards since they don't even have the courtesy to respond to my tickets now they know that I know the exact statute that they have broken.


My understanding of my consumer rights is that a company is not allowed to set a debt recover agency on you, if you have disputed their entitlement to the debt they are claiming from you.

I would write to the Debt collection agency informing them that you wrote to their client on <date you sent the letter to fast4> informing them that the alleged debt was in dispute enclosing a copy of the letter you sent to farce4 as proof. If you also asked Farse4 for a deadlock letter, you could also point out that the issue is awaiting fast4 to issue you with a deadlock letter so you can take them to the arbitration service to resolve the dispute and to seek compensation from fast4.

If you speak to the CAB or contact consumer direct you should be able to get some help on how to phrase the letter http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
 

curtis

Top Member
I'm pretty sure that only applies to baliffs..

For the baliffs to get involved, it would have to go through the county court first and they must have a 'warrant of execution'.

As an ex debt collector many moons ago I would receive paperwork which would have the addresses details and what amount of payment was agreed in court and at times the customer would clear the amount there and then:eek:.

But as far as I am aware of collectors have no powers to go through a open window they may put their foot in door but thats more than their job worth
but they can be a bit over the top now days:hrmph:
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Re credit rating, no one can list a bad debt against you without going to court first. Most dodgy companies rely on the fact that most people ( over 90%) will chough up before going to court, even if they know they are 100% in the right.

Most of these debt collection companies will back out on the court house steps if you turn up; they book regular sessions at the various courts and try to push through as many cases as they can; if you turn up it will stop them from pushing through dozens, if not hundreds of cases so they give in.
I have stood my ground on many occasions and never lost yet, even when my legal council said my chances were nearly zero.
 

DavidSWP

Casual Member
Did you write to Farce4 disputing their invoices as you said you would in your earlier thread http://www.ispreview.co.uk/talk/showthread.php?t=26906




My understanding of my consumer rights is that a company is not allowed to set a debt recover agency on you, if you have disputed their entitlement to the debt they are claiming from you.

I would write to the Debt collection agency informing them that you wrote to their client on <date you sent the letter to fast4> informing them that the alleged debt was in dispute enclosing a copy of the letter you sent to farce4 as proof. If you also asked Farse4 for a deadlock letter, you could also point out that the issue is awaiting fast4 to issue you with a deadlock letter so you can take them to the arbitration service to resolve the dispute and to seek compensation from fast4.

If you speak to the CAB or contact consumer direct you should be able to get some help on how to phrase the letter http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

SO far I just sent messages detailing my complaint on their customer support system and asked for a deadlock letter. Normally they reply to these within 24 hours but as soon as I mentioned the Communications Act 2003 they started to ignore me. I didn't write to them snailmail yet because I though they would just drop it. I will now though.
 

DavidSWP

Casual Member
I would do a letter of complaint explaing Fast4 failure to contact customers with changes that were detrimental to their service, put in links to proof on these forums of this failure. Send all recorded delivers first one to debt collectors, second to Fast4, third to fast4 ADR fourth to OFCOM (who should be fed up with fast4 complaints by now) and one to Trading Standards. Request that the debt collector returns this to Fast4 until the outcome of the ADR since others have already won Fast4 on this already one did post in the forums somewhere he didn't even have to pay the leaving fee. The ADR will decide if it is legal or not and is binding on all parties that means if Fast4 lose they get nothing.
You then take care never to phone the debt collector back always let them contact you, never arrange a time to meet them as this is implied as an invite into your home.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Sorry but what is ADR? I haven't heard of that before.
Fortunately I guess there is no chance of debt collectors coming to my house because I don't live there any more :)
 

Mel

ULTIMATE Member
ADR = alternate dispute resolution service (an arbitration service), Ofcom require ISPs to be a member of one of two aproved ADRs (either CISAS or OTELO) Fast4 are a member of CISAS http://www.cisas.org.uk/Guidance_Notes.asp

CISAS's decisions are binding on the ISP, win or lose the ISP pays CISAS's case fees, the service is free for the complainant.
 

Mel

ULTIMATE Member
SO far I just sent messages detailing my complaint on their customer support system and asked for a deadlock letter. Normally they reply to these within 24 hours but as soon as I mentioned the Communications Act 2003 they started to ignore me. I didn't write to them snailmail yet because I though they would just drop it. I will now though.

If you still can, get some screenshots showing the complaint.
 

DavidSWP

Casual Member
If you still can, get some screenshots showing the complaint.

I've got all the text of my enquires and their replies from their support system logged. These totally incriminate them, however I guess anyone could easily fake or doctor the text and since they never put anything in physical writing they could deny what they said on their support system. I guess the common shared experience of people on this forum is the best way to prove their breach of the law.

As I said before they ignored all my most recent messages. Stangely, I got an email saying 'You have received a reply to your enquiry - please log into your account to read it' recently, but when I tried to log in they had finally cancelled my account. Seems odd that they would reply and then make sure that I never read it.
 

DavidSWP

Casual Member
ADR = alternate dispute resolution service (an arbitration service), Ofcom require ISPs to be a member of one of two aproved ADRs (either CISAS or OTELO) Fast4 are a member of CISAS http://www.cisas.org.uk/Guidance_Notes.asp

CISAS's decisions are binding on the ISP, win or lose the ISP pays CISAS's case fees, the service is free for the complainant.

Ah ok, I asked them for the deadlock letter so that I could complain to CISAS. I never got one. I tried to phone CISAS earlier but they are closed for the weekend. I think I'll phone them and ask for their advice and then put things in writing and send recorded delivery as suggested.
 

timeless

ULTIMATE Member
Staff member
Volunteer Mod
they cancelled your account? did they give you a MAC? might be worth asking for one as they cannot refuse to give you one.
 

NUT

Top Member
When I got my letter from their collection agency, I emailed the company as there was an email address on the letter (when I managed to figure out why they blocked 1 of my email addresses I was trying to contact them from in the first place) Did you get a extra £70 charge added on to your bill? I only paid the original amount what I owed £34.35 and that was a struggle as they only accepted payment by cheque and I didn't even have a cheque book for my account. Basically I would pay what you owe and not the extra add on charges. That's what I did and they accepted that. Sad that your forced to reason with a collection agency and fast4 refuse to even listen. They more concerned about money which is sad.
 

DavidSWP

Casual Member
When I got my letter from their collection agency, I emailed the company as there was an email address on the letter (when I managed to figure out why they blocked 1 of my email addresses I was trying to contact them from in the first place) Did you get a extra £70 charge added on to your bill? I only paid the original amount what I owed £34.35 and that was a struggle as they only accepted payment by cheque and I didn't even have a cheque book for my account. Basically I would pay what you owe and not the extra add on charges. That's what I did and they accepted that. Sad that your forced to reason with a collection agency and fast4 refuse to even listen. They more concerned about money which is sad.


I went through their cancellation process, paid about £20 for a month's notice and they sent me a MAC code. All done and dusted I thought. Then they billed me for March Bandwidth usage after I cancelled.

CISAS seem pretty useless. They told me that they can't do anything if Fast4 don't provide a Deadlock letter and go to county court before 12 weeks elapse. Looks like I have to either turn up at their county court to fight the case (which could be hundreds of miles away). Or issue a counter claim with my local county court.

Everything seems to be in the company's favour. They don't even have to turn up at county court, they can just submit paperwork. But if the person they are extorting money from doesn't turn up they get CCJ against them.

Madness. This country has totally gone to the dogs.
 

Kits

Super Moderator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
I went through their cancellation process, paid about £20 for a month's notice and they sent me a MAC code. All done and dusted I thought. Then they billed me for March Bandwidth usage after I cancelled.

CISAS seem pretty useless. They told me that they can't do anything if Fast4 don't provide a Deadlock letter and go to county court before 12 weeks elapse. Looks like I have to either turn up at their county court to fight the case (which could be hundreds of miles away). Or issue a counter claim with my local county court.

Everything seems to be in the company's favour. They don't even have to turn up at county court, they can just submit paperwork. But if the person they are extorting money from doesn't turn up they get CCJ against them.

Madness. This country has totally gone to the dogs.

Contact them again and tell them that you cannot get a deadlock letter from a company that is not communicating with you. Ask them for help to resolve this since Fast4 failure to respond to contact should be taken as a dealock in communication, again report to trading standards and OFCOM
 
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