So to recap on the 27th of July 2022 I was put on a payment plan.
You have to bear in mind when the price rose earlier this year I tried to move my payment date and that is when the problems started in February although I did have a payment plan in place at the time but was told the only way I could move the date was if I set up a Direct Debit with the increased tariff. I wanted to move the date inline when my inbound payments were coming in. (The original payment plan which was at the time £65 and then rose to £90). Soon after I canceled the direct debit because I was not comfortable giving British Gas access to my bank account, this is when they refused to put me on a payment plan where I manually could pay by bank transfer, standing order, or directly on their website.
This has been going on for the best part of six months (Feb -August 2022).
I eventually was put on a payment plan after several phone calls and meter readings proving I was not using much Gas, somewhat five months later.
On the 4th of August 2022, some bright spark (woman) stopped my payment plan because she said I would not be able to pay online if I had a magnetic card, I told her I would pay by bank transfer and she said it was not possible even though I have the bank details to do that or simply pay on their website. There have been many agents that have said this causing contradictions to what other agents say, that I am able to pay online.
I phoned back on the 5th of August and was put back on the payment plan yet AGAIN.
I then got a letter yesterday dated 6th August that British Gas has not heard from me even though I am phoning practically every day.
I proceeded yesterday to go on their chat and set the transcript to email me at the end of the chat. You can guess I never received an email.
So today I phone up and I was met with a hostile agent who spoke to me in a very controlling manner. I told her about the letter and I said that I did not cancel the payment plan on the 4th, no sooner I had said this she put the phone down on me.
I then decided to have another go with the chat and not trusting British Gas as far as I can throw them, Istarted the chatagain but remembered what my daughter said and that was to screenshot the chat just in case I did not get a copy of the transcript. The agent assured me I would get an email (as per the screenshot)…wrong I had no such email but I did do the screenshots that confirmed I am on a payment plan and that my account has not been passed to debt collections.
Technically speaking I should be working but this company has made me so unwell I barely respond to emails and do the occasional update. The amount of time I have wasted with this company is beyond unbelievable.
Moving Forward and My Usage.
I eat sandwiches and salads maybe use the cooker 10 times a month. Come winter I am going to buy oil-filled radiators.
I would rather pay a little bit extra to the electricity supplier EON Next than give a penny more to British Gas.
“British Gas needs to have empathetic agents, not people that think they are so high and mighty and above you. They should be held accountable for their actions”.
This has been going on for six months and the number of calls I have had to make, emails I have sent, and chats are enough to test anyone’s mental health strengthand state of mind.
I have reported this to the ombudsman and will be sending them another update today.
In my opinion it absolutely disgusting how they treat people.
“If you have no extra money, to begin with, no amount of financial advice is going to get you out of the debt the governments and big corporations have landed you in”.
The UK Is On ‘The Brink Of Starvation’ 2022.
It was predicted during lockdown 3 million people were on the verge of starvation according to ‘The Financial Times‘ but now we are on a whole new level of people starving due to the price hikes of the cost of living.
My question is: “if you do not have money, to begin with, how are you supposed to pay for the cost of living price rises”?
Vulnerable People Are On The Brink Of Starvation.
If you have no assets to sell how are you supposed to pay off your debts?
This article should be shared everywhere so that the powers that be, realize that people like the elderly, the disabled, and people on low incomes simply cannot manage to survive.
If people who do not have savings and live pay cheque to pay cheque how can the government and the large corporations expect people to pay more than is physically possible when they increase prices? The Bank of England has just announced today they are increasing interest rates to help with inflation. How is increasing further hikes going to help people living on the breadline or below?
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
It is all very well to say the government is investing £15 Billion into helping with the cost of living, but it is all smoke and mirrors because that does not stop the creditors and utility companies chasing the vulnerable and does give an IMMEDIATE effect on the people that need the help the most.
Something needs to be put in place immediately, not next month or the month after, but it needs to be put in place now!
“People Need Help Today Not Tomorrow”!
A U-turn by the government will see oil and gas firms help pay an additional 25 percent windfall tax on profits to help pay for fresh measures to support households with soaring energy bills. Yet the energy companies such as ‘British Gas’ for example are still charging extortionate prices.
I am not saying this is impacting UK alone this is a global crisis but I have to speak for the people in the UK as this is where I reside.
Six months ago, UN World Food Program President David Beasley issued a “one time appeal to billionaires to help fight famine,” which explained that if the world’s richest people donated a mere $6.6 billion of their collective $13.1 trillion in wealth (or 0.04 percent of the total), world hunger could be eliminated in 2022 and millions of lives could be saved.
So shame on all the rich that do not do enough and I am sure God or Allah or if you believe in any higher power, your fate will be decided for you in your next life and you will reap what you sow!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
To all the Politicians, Millionaires, Billionaires & Royalty of this world, why hoard your money when you could be helping society? Afterall we came into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. You cannot take your wealth with you. You do not know what happens when you die. You may be reborn and have to live a life in poverty – Karma!
“What person has the right to make another person unhappy? We are all supposed to live in harmony with one another and love thy neighbor but we have made this world a very evil place, and people should not have their mental well-being affected or lose lives through war and famine because of greed”.How can the people responsible for this, be able to sleep soundly at night?
MENTAL HEALTH & RISK OF SUICIDE.
‘It screws with an already vulnerable mind’: How the cost of living crisis is affecting the nation’s mental health. Soaring bills and a lack of support from the government are causing ‘huge pressure’ for people with mental health problems. Socioeconomic disadvantage or living in an area of socioeconomic deprivation increases the risk of suicidal behaviour. https://www.samaritans.org/wales/about-samaritans/research-policy/inequality-suicide/
Do also contact this charity Mind.org.uk if things are starting to get overwhelming.
** Please note if you are residing outside of the UK please contact local charities in your area. We try to update our list as much as posssible and may have missed charities out. Do contact us if you are one of those charities and we will gladly put you on our list.
Chris O’Shea CEO of Centrica & British Gas Earns £775K Whilst The Vulnerable Suffer.
Centrica CEO Chris O’Shea has a salary of £775,000 per year and waives a £1.1 Million Bonus. His decision came as gas and electricity prices are set to soar by more than 50% for 22 million households across the UK in April.
Centrica said British Gas Energy saw a 44% jump in profits to £118 million last year.Citation.
** (The following is just my opinion and not fact). However one needs to look at the bigger picture if there is a board of directors for argument’s sake there are 12 as the pdf below suggests, and some not all are on a payroll (Non-executive directors are not directly employed), but that is not to say they do not get commissions or donations) and if each one has received £250K (hypothesis) per annum, that would be £2.75M, you have to ask yourself this question who works for nothing... https://boardappointments.co.uk/uk-non-executive-director-remuneration/
How can you pay for increased prices if you do not have the money, to begin with?
I first would like to add I actually give this company free advertising space on my useful links page under the heading charities and on this page. (Backlinks Cost Money)!! Advertising was requested by British Gas in May.
I would like to introduce myself, I am the Editor of ‘Disability UK -Disabled Entrepreneur Journal’. I am a Businesswoman and Author. I suffer from Cerebellar Atrophy Cognitive Impairment, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Depression. My Disabilities do not define me and I am not afraid to say I have them. I am also a carer for my daughter who has ‘Multiple Sclerosis’.
I have indeed contacted ‘TheBritish GasCharity’ which is a joke (application Number 1035904). I filled in the form and submitted my meter reading and documentation. They said it would take 10 days for someone to approve my application (that was on the 31st of May 2022) and it did not surprise me that they never responded.
It is all smoke and mirrors because if the majority of people in Britain with British Gas are in turmoil, I do not think they have endless amounts of money to give away. So their charity is not worth the web space.
I am a genuine case and for them to not even respond says a lot about them. (Try them out for yourself if you are a British Gas Customer, but do not get your hopes up).
Now if a company has profits into the millions then they should take into account vulnerable people which they do not.
After being prompted to phone British Gas because I was being spammed 6 times by this number: 03332029470, (this is harassment)I took it upon myself to phone and complain. The phone call today lasted 2hrs 18 mins (see screenshot).
The original number that phoned me was (03332029470) to set up a smart meter and I had to justify why I do not want one which I have written previously about: https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/how-safe-are-smart-meters-for-your-health/ The customer representative technical department went on to say they would send someone to my home to ask me why I do not want one. Good Luck to anyone visiting as I am not allowing anyone over my threshold. The woman I spoke to said that because I had submitted a meter reading my monthly bill which was at the beginning of the year £65 rose to £90 in April, then rose again to £138 in May, and wait for this rose again today to £190 per month.
£190 Per Month GasPayments!
I started crying (no word of a lie), I told the operative that the most I can afford is £100 per month and she point blank refused to help spread the costs over 36 months.
She continued to say that my usage is a prediction….well before the meter reading I had my central heating on 24/7 as I have black mold and my daughter who has multiple sclerosis cannot be around the spores, so I need to keep the house warm.
I said my life is not important whilst my daughter is and I said it was unreasonable and unfair to make me pay £190 when I cannot afford to do so right now.
(Obviously, the woman does not know how to count because if I paid £100 already this month and I still owe £333 (1st quarter) and each quarter after that was £400 for argument’s sake that would be £1,600 per annum divided by 12 months = £133 per month and not £190). I am going to bring this up when I submit my new meter reading.
This woman simply did not care what I was saying.
I also said if I cannot afford to heat my home and the black mold spreads I can then sue British Gas if my daughter relapses again. She did not like what I said.
She gave me a complaint reference number: 8013807386
I said,“if I killed myselfBritish Gas would not get a single penny from me”... My point was, do not push people over the edge, not that I was actually going to do it, there is a difference!
My Mental Health.
In my defense, I am NOT feeling suicidal just emotionally distressed, this is why I have an online journal where I can vent my anger and make my opinions known. I have a lot going for me and I feel for people who do not have a strong mind as I have, I see myself as their voice if they cannot defend themselves.
I use this platform to speak on behalf of people like myself or people worse off than me.
With social media, you may be restricted to what you can and can’t say. But on your own platform, you are in full control. Although I use social media to spread the articles I write.
I have a lot to live for, unbeknown to thepeople that are too ignorant to find out but are too quick to judge.
I mentioned this website multiple times “www.disabilityuk.co.uk” which forwards to “www.disabledentrepreneur.uk” in the phone call as I knew it was being recorded. I did it purposely so that people realize who I am. I will not stand for intimidation from anyone of any kind.
What made me laugh was at the end of the call she said it was a duty of care for her to report me to the authorities because I mentioned the dreaded “If I kill myself”. She did not want any repercussions. It was not that she cared. People do not care unless it directly affects them.She did not want ‘British Gas’ to be in the news and I guess they are told if a customer says anything that is a red flag to report it. In other words, she has kicked the can down the road, so nothing happened on her watch.
Bring it on is all I can say because this will cause a domino effect and open up a can of worms.
In fact, I reached out to my GP in a letter over my mental health that was put on the system last year but was never actioned by any doctor.
According to the practice manager, Doctors are too busy to respond to emails or letters even though my daughter’s Neurologist who is also a Professor at Oxford University has the time and decency to respond to my daughter’s emails.
My time does not matter to anyone.
I have another day wasted rather than working, I have had to fart around having to waste nearly two and half hours of my precious time to get nowhere.
Let’s see what the media will say when I send this to every corner of the planet.
British Gas Has Caused Me Emotional & Psychological Distress!
Let the fun begin because if ‘British Gas’ decide to try and come after me and they use harassment tactics I am fully armed. Besides I plan to pay them off next month.
This would not be the first time they have been sued and I doubt it will be the last.
I mentioned the National Debt Line: https://www.nationaldebtline.org/fact-sheet-library/gas-and-electricity-arrears-ew/ and said that Utility Companies have to adhere to rules such as and the woman said my circumstances do not apply and it would be impossible to give me breathing space:
People can be vulnerable for a wide range of reasons. Vulnerability can be linked to age, physical health, mental health, or going through a difficult time in life. A vulnerability could be temporary or ongoing. You should let your supplier know if there is anything about your circumstances that makes you vulnerable as they may offer you more support if they know this.
You should also check if your supplier has signed up for the Energy UK Vulnerability Commitment. Energy UK is a trade association. Suppliers signed up to the Vulnerability Commitment have said they will provide extra support to vulnerable customers. This includes:
Make sure staff have an understanding of vulnerability and can identify that you might be in vulnerable circumstances;
Give you an alternative way of contacting them in addition to phone contact;
Provide a freephone number if you are in financial difficulty and they think it is appropriate; and
Make sure you have paper versions of your bill if this is what you need.
This is a B#ll Sh#t because the woman today did not provide any of the above.
Furthermore, she refused to co-operate by turning the onus on me that I am not co-operating by not agreeing to pay £190 per month.
British Gas is having a laugh.
I said if it means I do not use hot water to bathe and not cook as well as not heating my home although I cannot see it being cold for a few months then that is what I will have to do. (This is degrading and affecting one’s quality of life).
I reiterated that I would be writing about British Gas on this websiteand “I quote the woman saying “we do not have anything to do with disabilities”.
I had zero support for my daughter and me who both have mental and physical disabilities.
The moment I can pay this company off I am going to switch providers and will never recommend this company to anyone. They have an affiliate program which means they want help with marketing, so any affiliate marketers should avoid this company. By coincidence ‘British Gas’ are advertisers on Awin who I use for my affiliate marketing projects. Saying this I will never promote this company actively even though I have them listed on my useful links page and mentioned them in my article indirectly.
May I add that they never responded to my letter attachment in the email which had an auto-responder come back that they had in fact received my correspondence on the 28th of May 2022but chose to ignore it?
Condenscending and Intimidating.
People working for these large blue-chip companies should keep their tone neutral, and opinions to themselves they should not be biased.
The woman (Valencia) I spoke to said I should look at stepchange.org I explained I am fully aware of my rights and she became condescending demanding I tell her what they said.
I am not going to allow you to browbeat me as this woman was trying to do.
My gut feeling is they have calculated my meter reading of what I owed prior to the price hike to the new prices to make more money.
I will be posting my new meter reading on here tomorrow including the one on the 31st and will see if my reading goes up again.
**I have published this page but may update it with more information, as when I get any updates from British Gas who emailed me today and said they had deadlocked my complaint, according to ‘Valencia’. As far as I am concerned it is not over until ‘the fat lady sings, in other words,it is a colloquialism that is often used as a proverb. It means that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event that is still in progress. More specifically, the phrase is used when a situation is nearing its conclusion.
So please come back for more updates.
I am now going to be a thorn in British Gas’s side and every month I will be doing a meter reading.
Will I be pursuing “Emotional Distress Compensation” of course I will, and this is what you should do if you too feel you have become unwell because of any company.
Did yesterday’s (14/06/22) fiasco cause me emotional distress, and did British Gas treat me badly of course they did and this is not over until I say it is regardless of their deadlock narcissistic letter.
If you are in a similar position to me, it is not the end of the world and there is a solution to every problem.
If you feel suicidal call the Samaritans116 123 (UK) or visit A&E – (UK) / ER– (USA) or call the Emergency Services 999 (UK) / 911 (USA).
On that note, I did get a welfare check from the Police albeit it was seven hours after my initial phone call to British Gas had ended and guess what the Police said they were on my side and agreed that the CEO needs to be aware of this as they are getting a lot of calls like the one they received about me.
Stay safe and do not let these companies bully you.
It is not your fault that the greedy people blue-chip companies, at the top of the food chain like P#tin, and the Banks, Governments, and Large Corporations want to milk every last penny out of you.
I have received two emails from British Gas and a letter regarding my complaint despite me saying I do not want letters in the post. (How to kill the planet with carbon emissions).
So they have disregarded my new meter reading which is calculated as follows and are not supporting people with mental health or disabilities, let the fun begin because I am going to be messaging the CEO directly:
Below is the email that was sent to me:
Here are the calculations per unit as per the British Gas Website:
Ironically ‘British Gas’ will report you as “Duty of Care” if you happen to say something out of turn to make them look better but in the next breath disregard your disabilities and worst-case scenario cut off your supply.
People who are vulnerable especially old people may not turn on the heating or cook a hot meal in order to make sure their energy bills do not increase.
So although ‘British Gas’ may come across as they are helping it is all smoke and mirrors and they do not care about your well-being and would much rather pass the buck.
The other joke is why not reach out to organizations that specialize in financial difficulty. If you already know your financial circumstances and do not have the extra money, to begin with, no amount of juggling will pay off your debt and all you will be left with is to sell your assets if you have any or go bankrupt.
Maybe if everyone were to go bankrupt nationwide the Government would do something about it or maybe this is the end goal where no one owns anything (the great reset)?
I am not sure what the hidden agenda is but if vulnerable people do not get the help then unfortunately there is going to become a bigger problem.
Nobody should live in poverty, not in the 21st Century, and not have a good quality of life. People should NOT be killed because of W#rs. W#ars are big business to the people on top of the food chain. If world leaders have no regard for human life by starting w#ars, what chances have the rest of us got?I am sorry but if any country starts a w#r where people will be killed it just shows they do not care about humans in general. Nobody should die to help the 1% richer.
If the cost of living is the cause of the increase in mental health then powers that be that are responsible for the demise need to be made accountable.
Can stress cause your cerebellar atrophy to get worse?
The link between the cerebellum is connected with stress-related brain areas and expresses the machinery required to process stress-related neurochemical mediators.
As most of my readers already know I suffer from ‘Cerebellar Atrophy’. Other than jumbling my letters and words up when I am writing (thank God for Grammarly) and occasionally memory loss, hence I have to jot things down to help me remember, I also have noticed lately an increase in loss of balance.
In fact ironically with what I am about to tell you, just over a year ago I did have a similar episode where I fell down five steps landing on my back and being severely bruised (I do not recall feeling lightheaded at the time just lost my footing). I made sure my doctor (GP) was notified in the letter I wrote that was confirmed was put on the system but no one in the surgery took any action.
However, on 10/06/22 being home alone I was at the top of the stairs and all of a sudden my whole body started to give way. Not only did I feel very lightheaded and the room was spinning, but I also could not balance properly and could feel my body about to hurtle down a flight of stairs. Fortunately, I grabbed hold of the central support pillar to help me break my fall. Had I not stopped myself I would not be writing this post today.
Research suggests people who suffer from psychological stress are more prone to having their condition worsen.
Analyzing why this happened to me yesterday all I can put it down to is I am under a lot of pressure. With the rise in the cost of living and having to also run a business, I am really feeling a financial pinch.
By coincidence taking a leaf out of my own book, I wrote to all the utility companies and my creditors offering to pay anything I owe in affordable installments. All the utility companies and one of the creditors were all understanding and seemed to all accept my offer Barr one who as it happens I owe the least of money to and no word of a lie has written to me 22 emails to date repeating the same things over and over again. As it is my understanding either multiple people are dealing with one account and not updating one another or they are trying to intimidate me to pay more. I have since written a 10-page letter which took me all day to do and no doubt I will be getting email #23 soon.
My utility bills at the beginning of the year were £154 per month in April they rose to £219 and have risen again to £412. Now here is the question where does one find an extra £267 per month if you do not have that sort of money, to begin with?
So I wrote to all my creditors and explained the situation and all have agreed on my offer and the most I pay is £239
It has riled me that every day I get one or two emails from this one creditor (V) and every day I cannot move forward because I always have this nagging conscious feeling that I need to reply.
They are purposely trying to break me down and they leave me no choice but to report them to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
They have caused me considerable emotional and psychological distress.
If it was not for the fact I am pushing myself to fight this battle I could easily have just given up, turned to alcohol, drugs, or worse.
If you are feeling down and are in a similar position to me DO NOT TURN TO Alcohol, Drugs Smoking, etc, instead seek medical advice through your doctor and professional advice immediately.Here is our useful links page.
You should not suffer alone and millions of people are in the same boat as you.
There is a solution to every problem. Stand your ground and never let anyone intimidate or harass you as I have experienced lately.
Write to your creditors on headed paper rather than just email. Provide them with a breakdown of your expenses. This one creditor never sent me a form similar to the one I have designed below, just bombarded me with daily questions.
According to the harassing creditor (V) they claimed they could not have asked all the questions in one email and in my reply I sent them the form below arguing that if a solicitor or governing body writes to you they do not send multiple emails they send one email and or one letter. 22 emails and counting is harassment and is designed to break you down.
I have a sample template of a form you can send your utility companies and creditors. I can customize it for you, make it editable, and remove any watermarks.
I do not drink alcohol as a rule as it has landed me in heaps of embarrassment and trouble many times in the past doing stupid things and am just happy drinking my energy drinks, but this company (V) which shall remain nameless for now is harassing me and that is against the law, consequently making my illness worse.
I have been meaning to update the GP surgery on my health conditions for a while now and have not found the time, but even if my illness worsens I am not going to get treatment, tests, infusions, etc like my daughter is getting. She is 21 and she can make her decisions but I have my own views which I will leave for another day.
Do contact us if you want the customized form in this article using the form below, **please note we may consider sending the form to you (free of charge) if you are experiencing financial difficulty, however, our business information (Disability UK -Disabled Entrepreneur will be in the footer. It will not have Designed by Renata):
Disclaimer: This site primarily focuses on residents in the UK, however, it’s okay if you are from another part of the world as we try to help everyone. One thing you must take into consideration is this article has links to UK Government Official Bodies. Should you be reading this in the USA for example please contact your local legal office for advice. Furthermore, if you are experiencing financial difficulty and you are in debt, tell someone, you should not suffer in silence. Write down all your income and outgoings and let your creditors know you are finding things difficult. Ask them for extra time. They may give you an option to pay reasonable amounts without you losing sleep. No one should get themselves so worked up that it affects their mental health.
Who is a Creditor?
A creditor could be a bank, a credit card company, a business, a loan company, or a utility provider.
The creditor usually provides property, services, or lends out money, including but not limited to anything you have taken out on finance such as a car, white goods, or even phone/broadband providers.
A creditor is basically a person, a business, or an institution you own money to.
All creditors should give you the option to pay off the debt in installments even going as far as capping interest rates.
It will take the creditor a lot longer to get his/her money if he/she has to pay a credit agency or if you agree on an IVA where most of your debt is written off.
Most creditors are reasonable but there are a few that are not.
Explain how the debt is affecting your mental health and if you are unable to function properly or go to work, (after all they want you to continue getting a wage, in order to pay them). Most will be understanding and show empathy but there will be a few that may not care.
Remember to document everything including saving emails/text messages and letters which all count as evidence of your communication.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997
A creditor that continually phones and texts on your business number causing you to turn it off consequently causing you to lose business is causing a criminal offense.
Debt collecting agencies and creditors, especially credit card companies use multiple telephone and mobile numbers and even if you block them they will still get through, even if you have blocked all notifications and incoming calls.
They after getting their money back by any means possible. Some have no regard for your circumstances or your mental health and may become patronizing, judgemental, and condescendingwhen you finally contact them.
Engaging in harassment during the debt collection process is also deemed a criminal offense.
“The harassment may be verbal or written, either via letter, email or text and includes making repeated calls and texts during non-social times or to the workplace of the debtor”.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 considers it a criminal offense for a person to take any action that is known or should be known, to be harassing another person.
DEBT COLLECTION GUIDELINES
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) specifies unfair practices regarding debt collection in its Debt Collection and Debt Management Guidelines. These include accounts in arrears or those having missed payments.
The Guidelines focus on a section about “contacting debtors at unreasonable times and intervals.”
Hours for contact regarding intervals and times that may be considered unfair are outlined. Making multiple calls during working hours, using the business number, phoning at unsociable hours, contacting neighbors and informing them of the purpose of the call, and contacting a debtor at his or her workplace are included in the whitepaper.
HOW TO HANDLE A HARASSING CREDITOR
If you think a creditor has violated one of the above laws or is not in compliance with the OFT Guidelines, you should discuss the issue with the creditor or a collection company representing it. Always reach out to the creditor with the initial complaint and then escalate it with the professional body if you feel your complaint is not taken seriously. Tell your creditor how you want to be contacted in the future and ask them to confirm this in writing.
Your letter should state that harassment is a criminal offense and you can take further action if your creditor doesn’t stop. Initially, you could write to them by email, usually, they have autoresponders confirming receipt of your email. Give them a few days to reply. Follow up by a snail mail postal letter andremember to send all letters by recorded deliveryand keep copies so that you have a record of your complaint.
Prior to making contact, gather all your evidence including calls/texts (screenshot the message and capture the phone number and date) and visit times, and any emails or letters that you consider threatening or menacing.
The letter should include a request that the party immediately stop the behavior. You should also provide a preferred method of contact and acceptable times to make contact.
Once your complaint have be received and acknowledged, your creditor has 3 business days to respond informally. This could be by phone or email (This depends on your preferred method of communication as outlined in your letter of complaint). A final response letter might take longer. Your creditor also has to report your complaint to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), even if they respond within 3 business days.
If the creditor fails to change its practices following receipt of this letter, submit a formal complaint to the Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards, or OFT.
If the behavior of a bailiff, creditor, or collection agency ever becomes extremely threatening or violent in nature, notify the police immediately.
Support Making A Complaint
If you need help complaining, writing letters, or phoning your creditors, you can phone the debt helpline on 0300 330 1313. Lines are open between 9 am and 8 pm, Monday to Friday. Calls cost the same as calls to landline numbers. Alternatively, You can also get help by contacting your nearest Citizens Advice.
You could also contact us and we could send you a template letter and you just need to fill in the blanks.
To escalate your complaint you should complain to a professional body too. Your debt collector may belong to a trade association or professional body with a code of practice (FCA) that sets out how they are supposed to behave towards you.
If you are wondering if your lender belongs to a trade association that has a code of practice, then check out this link for Further Help. The trade association may also take action against its members who break the code of practice.
If your complaint is against a bank, building society, or credit card company, they may belong to the Standards of Lending Practice.
The Standards of Lending Practice have guidance for members which they should follow.
Avoid putting pressure on a lender and not allowing harassment.
Should advise to consolidate the debt or debt management.
Should provide support if the lender is vulnerable, for example, if you have physical or mental health problems.
Should use trustworthy debt collection agencies who must also follow the Standards of Lending Practice if the debt is passed on or sold.
You should complain to the bank, building society, or credit card company first, using their complaints procedure. If this does not sort out the problem, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, telling them that a debt collector or creditor has broken the terms of the Standards of Lending Practice. For more information about complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Service, go to the Financial Ombudsman’s website at: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
Complaining about a solicitor acting for a creditor
There may be times when the debt is forwarded to a legal team and initially you get a letter from a solicitor notifying you that you have defaulted and a demand for a payment settlement. If a solicitor then starts to become harassing you on behalf of a creditor, this is considered to be professional misconduct.
To make a complaint about a solicitor, you will first need to use the firm’s internal complaints procedure. What this means is you will have to contact the law firm and lodge a complaint. If the complaint is ignored or handled unsuccessfully, you can then escalate to the Law Society. If this does not resolve the problem, you can complain to one of the professional associations. A bonafide solicitor will be a member of the Law Society and you can find their registration number in the footer section of their website. You can also check the Law Society website if the law firm or solicitor is a member.
If they are registered in England or Wales, you can complain to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) at www.sra.org.uk. If they are registered in Scotland, you can complain to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) at www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk. If they are registered in Northern Ireland, you can complain to the Law Society. Go to www.lawsoc-ni.org.
Complaining to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service
If you want to complain about a local firm, you can contact the Citizens AdviceConsumer Service. They can put you in touch with your local Trading Standards Office, which can investigate whether an offense had been committed.
Complaining to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA has rules and guidance about debt collection. Although the FCA cannot take up your individual case, they can refuse or revoke the firm’s authorization or, for example, fine the firm. It may be worth reminding the creditor that breaching the rules could affect their FCA authorization.
More about the FCA rules and guidance on debt collection in the FCA’s Consumer Credit Sourcebook at www.fca.org.uk.
Illegal money lending
In desperate times we sometimes do desperate things and we may come across companies offering us money dangling a golden carrot until the day come to pay our loan back, we may get into financial difficulty and this is where we end up in murky waters.
It’s easy to borrow money but it’s not so easy to pay it back.
You may have borrowed money from a moneylender who is not FCA authorized. These lenders are for the better word often called loan sharks and they may physically or verbally threaten you if you can’t pay back the money.
They also charge extremely high rates of interest, which means you may end up owing much more money than you originally borrowed.
It’s important to remember that loan sharks are breaking the law by lending you money in this way. They can’t enforce the high rates of interest they are trying to charge. You can’t be legally made to pay back the money and you have not broken the law if you don’t pay it back.
If you are being harassed or threatened by a loan shark and you think your life is in danger you can phone the police. If loan sharks threaten you or your family they can be prosecuted. You should also report them on the GOV website to find out how to report a loan shark on GOV.UK.
Reporting a problem to Trade Standards
If you want to report a problem, you should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service, (citizens advice is a community of volunteer solicitors, usually found in every town/city in the UK). The citizen’s advice will then share the information reported with Trading Standards.
Creditors Are People
Some creditors and debt collecting agency may take their jobs too seriously and may become patronizing, judgmental and condescending, and even sometimes intimidating or threatening.
“You should not live in fear of another person or organization. It is not your fault that the powers that be have decided on price hikes and consequently got you into debt”.
Creditors are the people at the end of the day, either owners of businesses or employees trying to do their jobs.
If you owe money to a creditor and stop making payments, they can take action against you to get their money back. Therefore it is best to write to them, that way everything is documented, giving them a proposal on how you plan to pay the debt off.
“If you have more overheads than the income coming in tell them this. No one on the planet can get blood out of stone”.
Try to exhaust all avenues of getting extra money to pay your debt off before saying you have no money.
If you have reached out to everyone you know and have contacted organizations that may give you grants and been unsuccessful then by all means be truthful with yourself and with your creditors and do not try to brush the problem under the carpet because it will not go away and will only get worse if you do nothing over time.
You could save yourself money with postage simply by emailing them. Explain your incomings and outgoings and ask them for more time. Ask them to spread the cost of what you owe over a fixed term between 12 – 60 months.
“No One Should Live In Fear and pushing people into a corner may send them over the edge”
How Creditors Are Supposed To Behave.
Creditors are supposed to behave professionally, they should not express their personal opinions, or become, patronizing, judgmental or condescending towards you when they are trying to recover their money.
Harassment is any action that makes you feel emotionally distressed, stressed, anxious, humiliated, or threatened. It makes you live in fear and will consequently damage your mental health.
If you feel you are being harassed and becoming unwell because of a creditor, there are several things you can do to stop them from doing it.
If you need help talking to a creditor about their behavior, you can also phone the trading standards debt helpline on 0300 330 1313 if you are located in the UK. For all other countries find your local debt management agency that can assist you further.
Citizens Advice (UK) is open between 9 am and 8 pm, Monday to Friday. Calls cost the same as calls to landline numbers.
If the creditor tries to do any of the following things to try and get you to pay back the money you owe, this could be considered harassment. They include:
If a creditor or debt collection agency contacts you several times a day (during working hours, whilst you are at work), or early in the morning or late at night.
If a creditor or debt collection agency pursues you on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn.
If a creditor or debt collection agency puts pressure on you to sell your home or take out more credit.
If a creditor or debt collection agency uses more than one debt collector to chase you for payment.
If a creditor or debt collection agency does not inform you that your debt has been passed on to a debt collection agency.
If a creditor or debt collection agency uses paperwork or business logos that appear to be official when they’re not, (this is fraud) for example sending you letters that look like court forms.
If a creditor or debt collection agency puts pressure on you to pay all the money off, or in larger installments when you can’t afford to.
If the creditor or debt collecting agency becomes threatening you physically or verbally abusive to you.
If a creditor or debt collection agency ignores you if you say you don’t owe the money.
If a creditor or debt collection agency tries to embarrass, humiliate or intimidate you in public.
If a creditor or debt collection agency tells someone else about your debts or uses another person to pass on messages, such as a neighbor or family member.
If a creditor or debt collection agency falsely claims to work for the court or be a bailiff in England and Wales or sheriff officer in Scotland (this is deemed as fraud).
If a creditor or debt collection agency implies that legal action can be taken when it can’t. For example, implying that your home can be taken from you without a court order.
If a creditor or debt collection agency gives the impression that court action has been taken against you when it hasn’t.
If a creditor or debt collection agency gives the impression that not paying the debt is a criminal offense. For most debts, it is not a criminal offense if you don’t pay them.
What doesn’t count as harassment by a creditor?
Not all actions that a creditor takes can be called harassment. Creditors are allowed to take reasonable steps to get back the money they owe them. These include:
Sending reminder letters, texts, or emails.
Telephoning you to ask for payment (not during working hours and not on your business phone).
Call at your home, as long as this is at a reasonable time of the day.
Taking court action.
Who is harassing you
If you’re being harassed by a creditor it’s important to know who is chasing you for payment.
You may be surprised that the people in your case may not be the people you originally owed money to. This is because your original creditor may have sold the debt to someone else to collect. If your original creditor does this, they cannot come after you for money, instead, you will have someone else in their place. If your creditor decides to pass the debt on, they must tell you in writing before they do it.
Your debt may be collected by:
Your original creditor
A debt collection agency acting on behalf of your creditor
A third party who has bought the debt from your creditor
Bailiffs in England and Wales or sheriff officers in Scotland.
Things to consider before making a complaint, gather as much evidence as you can to support your claim.
Depending on the seriousness of the situation this could include (although not all compulsory) It makes sense to gather as much evidence as possible to build your case:
Documenting the number of visits or calls with dates and times. Write down what was said to you each time and who you spoke to.
Has the original correspondence been printed to include letters, documents, emails, and texts you have received?
Witness statements from neighbors or other people who live with you.
Evidence of your circumstances.
Any medical evidence if you suffering from mental health issues.
Further help and information
Trade and professional associations
Your creditor may belong to one of the following trade or professional associations which have a code of practice that its members must follow. You can find a list of members on the organizations’ websites:
The Finance and Leasing Association Imperial House 15 -19 Kingsway London WC2B 6UN
We also have a useful links page of resources such as Charities and Other Organizations.
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