New Debt Collection comparison site launched

Posted on August 27th, 2014 by admin

Leading UK Debt Collection service supplier best4 network have announced the launch of a new website to partner its existing website best4debtcollection.co.uk

The new website launched in early August is intended to assist companies and individuals across the country and the world in their search for the right debt collection solution for their needs.

The new website best4debtrecovery.co.uk  will enhance their growing reputation and increase their exposure on the world wide web.

Tony Smith, team leader at Best4 said “We have enjoyed great success with our initial website, helping thousands of people and businesses in securing a low cost professional debt collection service.”

“We use only the very best in British Debt Collection and are pleased to partner companies such as Federal Management & Frontline Collections, gaining discounted rates for our users who in turn obtain the services of elite premium Debt Collectors”

The service that Best4 provides has been used by large companies as far afield as Japan with recently a large electronics company turning to the Best4 site in their quest to find the best that the UK has to offer in Debt Collection.

As well as dealing with large multi nationals and national firms, Tony informs us that they also look after small traders and landlords too.

“We receive enquiries from all sectors and are only to happy to help where there is a valid dispute.” He continues “We also receive some bizarre enquiries too ranging from a drunken man who wanted us to help him recover £20 from a card game in a pub to a woman who wanted to recover monies paid to a plastic surgeon because she wasn’t happy with the size of her boobs after a enhancement procedure”

Best4 have announced further plans to expand on their existing operations with a range of new services including a free letter before action for all new clients. Their trusted service has quickly developed a solid reputation by delivering a quick and efficient service that matches users with the right kind of service providers.

Choosing a Debt Collection Agency is a very important decision when there are so many factors to consider such as cost, transparency and brand/reputation protection.

All of Best4′s partners are considered their leaders in their respective niches and cater from all industries from private schools and nurseries through to large value commercial debts across the globe.

Federal Management Debt Recovery & Legal Services are one of the key suppliers to Best4. As the UK’s leading Commercial Debt Recovery service, this demonstrates the capability of the Best4 group and has served to only enhance their credibility within the debt collection industry.

In the modern day business world, Debt Collection is viewed as an essential aspect of credit control as quite often debtors do not respond. In light of the recent uproar of the use of ‘in-house’ debt collection tactics by banks and other financial organisations, the need for professional debt collection has grown substantially.

The Best4 network helps to feed the growing demand for value, quality and professional debt collecting services.

Author: James Finch

 

Bankrupt Man sent to Jail for trying to hide money

Posted on March 12th, 2013 by admin

 

A bankrupt has been handed a 12-month prison sentence after he was found guilty of removing money from accounts and failing to disclose funds to the Insolvency Service.

Michael Gerald Sheehy of Exeter pleaded guilty to three counts of removing money from his accounts and one count of failing to inform the official receiver of the Insolvency Service that he still had money in a bank account.

He prevented the funds being used either to pay taxes he owed or to repay his benefits debt.

When Sheehy was being pursued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for unpaid tax and by the Department for Work and Pensions for an overpayment of pension tax credits, he took £25,300 from his estate, without using any of it to pay off his debts.

Sheehy was declared bankrupt on 31 August 2010 with a debt of £58,128.97 but he did not disclose to the official receiver that he still had money in a bank account, despite being told to do so.

He had removed a further £12,300 by the time the official receiver had discovered his “secret” account.

Following an initial investigation by the Insolvency Service and a full criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), he was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court to 12 months imprisonment on each count to run concurrently.

Liam Mannall, deputy chief investigation officer from BIS, said: “Mr Sheehy took money which should have remained available to service his debts. He later also failed to inform the official receiver of money held by him which he subsequently removed from his account.

“The sentence should serve as a reminder to those considering such actions that the consequences are severe. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will pursue and prosecute those who flout insolvency law by denying creditors access to payment for debts due.”

OFT to investigate Payday Lenders Debt Recovery practices

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by admin

The OFT has opened formal investigations into several payday lenders over aggressive debt collection practices. It is also today writing to all 240 payday lenders highlighting its emerging concerns over poor practices in the sector.

These actions are set out in a progress report published today as part of the OFT’s compliance review of the payday lending sector. It highlights concerns about:

the adequacy of checks made by some lenders on whether loans will be affordable for borrowers
the proportion of loans that are not repaid on time
the frequency with which some lenders roll over or refinance loans
the lack of forbearance shown by some lenders when borrowers get into financial difficulty
debt collection practices.
The OFT is continuing to gather and analyse information about the activities of payday lenders as its compliance review progresses. It also expects to warn the majority of the 50 firms inspected, which account for the majority of loans, that they risk enforcement action if they do not improve specific practices and procedures which came to light when they were inspected. The OFT will require those lenders it warns to provide it with independent audits to verify that they have improved their practices and procedures to comply with legal obligations and expected standards.

The emerging findings are based on information from a wide range of sources, including:

a ‘sweep’ of the websites of 50 payday lenders
a programme of inspections of over 50 individual lenders
686 consumer complaints
a mystery shopper exercise involving 156 online and high street lenders
1,036 responses to a survey of businesses, trade associations and consumer bodies.
The OFT will publish a full report in the New Year setting out further findings on compliance, including whether wider action is needed to tackle problems in the sector.

The OFT has also today published revised Debt Collection Guidance, focusing on continuous payment authority (CPA), a mechanism commonly used by payday lenders to collect repayments.

The guidance helps to ensure that traders with a consumer credit licence do not misuse CPA. It makes clear that the OFT expects lenders’ use of CPA to be reasonable and proportionate, and to have regard to a borrower’s financial position.

The guidance sets out the minimum standards expected of traders and includes clear examples of unfair/improper use of CPA including:

using CPA without the informed consent of the borrower or in ways that have not been agreed
failing to explain adequately how CPA works and how it can be cancelled
not taking steps to establish the reasons for the payment failure and whether the borrower may be in financial difficulties
trying to take payment where there is reason to believe that there are insufficient funds in the account
continuing to use CPA for an unreasonable period after a scheduled payment was due.
Breaching OFT guidance can lead to enforcement action.

David Fisher, OFT Director of Consumer Credit, said:

‘We have uncovered evidence that some payday lenders are acting in ways that are so serious that we have already opened formal investigations against them. It is also clear that, across the sector, lenders need to improve their business practices or risk enforcement action.

‘Our report shows that a large number of payday loans are not repaid on time. I would urge anyone thinking about taking out a payday loan to make sure they fully understand the costs involved so they can be sure they can afford to repay it.

‘Our revised guidance makes it absolutely clear to lenders what we expect from them when using continuous payment authority to recover debts and that we will not accept its misuse.’

The Payday loan industry has been the subject of close media scrutiny recently and Frontline Collections became one of the first UK Consumer Debt Collection Agencies to publicly denounce the payday loan industry citing a lack of ‘ethics’ and ‘moral coding’ within their lending criteria.

Business Insolvency Levels improve

Posted on September 6th, 2012 by admin

Business insolvencies have fallen slightly in June, according to Experian’s latest Business Insolvency Trends report.

0.08% of the business population became insolvent in June, a small improvement on 0.09% in the previous month.

SMEs with between 1-100 employees were the only group to see improvements in their insolvency rates.

Those businesses with 101 or more employees overall experienced an increase in the rate of insolvencies. Firms with 101-500 employees experienced a 0.16% failure rate, compared to 0.08% in June last year.

Max Firth, Managing Director, Experian Business Information Services, UK&I said:

“Although the overall figures for June show a fairly stable environment at the moment led by smaller firms, the higher insolvency rate at the top end of the business world will have an impact on the supply chain.

“Many smaller suppliers, unless they have a good credit management process in place, will find themselves short of a major customer and left with unpaid bills.  They will need to move quickly to fill the gap in their customer base.

“When taking on new business, it is vital they start to monitor the health of both customers and suppliers. They can be forewarned of any issues and be in a better position to deal with the impact of another business’s failure.”

Across the UK’s five biggest industries, the leisure and construction sectors saw the biggest improvements. Particularly for firms in the leisure sector, this is the third consecutive month of falling insolvencies. Business insolvencies have fallen slightly in June, according to Experian’s latest Business Insolvency Trends report.

0.08% of the business population became insolvent in June, a small improvement on 0.09% in the previous month.

SMEs with between 1-100 employees were the only group to see improvements in their insolvency rates.

Those businesses with 101 or more employees overall experienced an increase in the rate of insolvencies. Firms with 101-500 employees experienced a 0.16% failure rate, compared to 0.08% in June last year.

Max Firth, Managing Director, Experian Business Information Services, UK&I said:

“Although the overall figures for June show a fairly stable environment at the moment led by smaller firms, the higher insolvency rate at the top end of the business world will have an impact on the supply chain.”

“Many smaller suppliers, unless they have a good credit management process in place, will find themselves short of a major customer and left with unpaid bills.  They will need to move quickly to fill the gap in their customer base.”

“When taking on new business, it is vital they start to monitor the health of both customers and suppliers. They can be forewarned of any issues and be in a better position to deal with the impact of another business’s failure.”

Across the UK’s five biggest industries, the leisure and construction sectors saw the biggest improvements. Particularly for firms in the leisure sector, this is the third consecutive month of falling insolvencies.

New Law to Protect Tenants in Arrears in Scotland

Posted on August 16th, 2012 by admin

A New housing law that provides more protection for social tenants in Scotland with rent arrears from eviction has been approved.

The Scottish Parliament has approved amendments to the Housing Scotland Act (2010) which require social landlords such as housing associations and local authorities, to undertake a series of actions before they can refer a tenant to court for eviction action.

Under the amended legislation, social landlords will have to go through a series of seven key actions including offering tenants advice on housing benefit and making reasonable efforts to agree a repayment plan for rent arrears, before they can approach the courts.

However, going to the court may not result in an eviction.  Even after court action, social tenants will have the right to make a repayment arrangement.

Housing charity Shelter Scotland welcomed the new move by the Scottish government to protect social tenants.  The charity claims that far too often social landlords have used the threat of eviction to collect rent from vulnerable families.

According to Shelter Scotland, councils carried out 1,061 evictions in the 2010-11 financial year, with other social landlords evicting 761 tenants.

Shelter director Graeme Brown said:

“From today, social tenants will be afforded the same protection as homeowners, which, at a time when cuts are hitting home and more people are struggling with household budgets, can only be good news.”

Scottish Minister for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil, commented:

“This Government is committed to ensuring that social housing tenants have access to the information and advice they require to live in a peaceful and secure environment.”

“In 2010/11, only 12% of the 14,600 cases taken to court by social landlords for eviction action resulted in tenant eviction, which is a huge drain on public resources,” he added. 

”Social tenants are required to meet the obligations in their tenancy agreement – including paying their rent.  From today, all social landlords will be required to follow a consistent set of practices before they can evict tenants who fall behind on their rental payments.”

£6 Million Recovered Each Day by Debt Recovery Agencies

Posted on July 12th, 2012 by admin

Figures show agencies recover nearly £6 million of debt every day.

  • New generation of consumers in debt for the first time
  • Industry calls for access to the Full Electoral Register to counter data accuracy issue

Levels of debt being collected by members of the Credit Services Association (CSA) have returned to pre-Christmas levels, according to the latest Quarterly figures, as consumers look to regain control of their finances.

The gross monthly total of consumer debts collected for the final month in Q1 2012 (March) stands at £172.088 million – a return to a level last seen in November 2011 (£172.862mn) following a dramatic fall in December (£147.476mn).

CSA President, Sara de Tute, attributes this to an increase in placements in November contrasting starkly with the consumers hanging on to their money in December to spend on Christmas: “It is quite usual for the monies collected to decline over Christmas and the immediate aftermath as agencies show forbearance with the consumer’s position,” she says.

At the end of Q1 2012, the total value of unpaid consumer debt held by CSA members for debt collection stood at £58 billion (£58.316bn), comprising £31 billion (£31.264bn) placed by creditors with Debt Collection Agencies to collect, and a further £27 billion (£27.052bn) of purchased debt owned by Debt Buyers. This represents a slight increase on the total for Q4 2011 (£58.179bn – a difference of £137 million).

The total volume (i.e. number) of consumer debts awaiting collection by CSA members remains at a staggering 32 million (31,781mn) as at the end of March 2012, a slight fall on the previous Quarter (32,130mn). Debts are being outsourced for collection by ‘new’ creditors within the private sector and parts of national government – including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the HMRC – who no longer see an issue with recovering monies vital to the public purse.

The total value and volume of unpaid debts are high, Sara says, partly as new types of consumers fall into debt for the first time: “Our members are noting a trend of ‘new’ consumers falling into debt for the first time, and are working with them to agree a repayment schedule or reach a settlement wherever possible, and this is reflected in these latest figures.”

Yvonne MacDermid, Chief Executive of Money Advice Scotland, is not surprised that the CSA is seeing many different types of people in society, affected by debt arrears: “The recession is affecting everyone in one way or another,” she says.

“Many consumers have nothing left to cushion them from any emergencies which arise, and as a consequence they find themselves perhaps for the first time in arrears. The key to getting back on the road to recovery is to seek help from the money advice agencies, many of which offer advice for free, and, of course not to ignore the problem and to make contact with creditors or their agents.”

SMEs Urged to Prepapre For Payroll Law Changes

Posted on June 26th, 2012 by admin

An accountancy firm from the North West is urging SMEs to be prepared for major changes to payroll law.

Real Time Information  is being introduced by HMRC in April 2013 as a means to improve the operation of Pay As You Earn. In the latest development HMRC has published a consultation document on the penalty system for non-compliance – which could open up businesses to significant fines.

Mitchell Charlesworth, which has offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Warrington and Widnes, says it is vital firms start preparing for RTI now.

Mitchell Charlesworth’s payroll manager Joanne Nieman said:

“The new RTI system is due to come into effect next year and if firms are not careful it could be a nasty banana skin. Our strong advice is that firms give themselves enough time to prepare. Our main concern is that leaving this too late could prove time consuming, costly and disruptive especially for small to medium sized firms.  It is important to note that the transition to RTI will be mandatory for all employers and failure to comply will result in fines. We are looking to support employers so they understand their new responsibilities and take the right action to prepare for the change.”

Mrs Nieman said while the existing system allows employers to issue PAYE information at Payroll Year End through the use of electronic versions of P35 and P60 forms, the new RTI system will require firms to send this payroll data, via the Government Gateway, on or before the date each employee is paid.

The latest proposals from HMRC could see a minimum penalty of £100 per week for each late or non-submission per 50 employees. Penalties will increase depending on employee numbers and the duration of a late submission.

Mrs Nieman said the RTI proposals are constantly being updated and is advising employers to address four key areas.

Mrs Nieman continued:

“Businesses can prepare for RTI in a number of ways. Firstly, they can submit employee data to HMRC before RTI is live to help correct any inaccurate or incomplete data. Secondly, they can improve and maintain their existing data ensuring they have dates of births, full names and addresses of employees on the payroll. Another vital step is contacting the payroll software supplier, or payroll provider, to ensure they can deliver on RTI. Finally, employers must consider banking and whether they need to upgrade their BACS facility to accommodate RTI.”

HMRC is currently trialling RTI with hundreds of employers. New employers will be able to join the RTI trial from November, to avoid starting a new scheme in April 2013.

Debt Collectors Attacked by Machete Wielding Thug

Posted on June 18th, 2012 by admin

A thug wielding a machete has robbed two debt collectors as they made their rounds.

The masked attacker struck as the man and woman were outside a flat near Park Road in Sale. He demanded money, mobile phones and car keys before running off in the direction of Firs Road.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the theft, which happened at 11.25am on May 29.

Det Con David Wood said:

“It is unthinkable for most people to be confronted by such violence when simply going about their daily job. I would therefore appeal to anyone who might have information about this robbery to come forward. I want to hear from anyone who either witnessed the robbery itself, or perhaps someone saw a man fitting this description hanging around the area. If do you have any information then please call us.”

The attacker was white, 5ft 7, of medium build, and wore black leather gloves, a black hat and a thin cotton scarf over his face.

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 7652 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Source: Debt Collection News

Fall in Insolvency Rates in England and Wales

Posted on June 13th, 2012 by admin

Insolvency rates across England and Wales fell in 2011 after peaking at record levels in 2009.

Figures show that the amount of insolvencies per 10,000 adults in England and Wales fell to 27.1 in 2011 having risen from 7.2 in 2000 to a peak of 31.1 in 2009. These figures include bankruptcy orders, DROs and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs.)

The North East has the highest rate of individual insolvencies with 35.2 per 10,000 adults. This was followed by the south-west and the east Midlands which both stood at 30.4 per 10,000 adults. The rate in London in 2011 was 17.5.

The Wansbeck area of Northumberland has officially been named the bankruptcy capital of England, in a list that also features parts of Cornwall and the seaside town of Eastbourne, considered well-heeled by many. Individual insolvency rate in Wansbeck is 57 per 10,000 adults.

Meanwhile, the City of London, which includes the flat-dwellers of the Barbican, tops the list of areas with fewest bankruptcies, closely followed by St Albans in Hertfordshire and affluent London boroughs such as Richmond upon Thames and Camden.

Latest regional statistics show the individual insolvency rate in Wansbeck, which includes the former mining towns of Ashington and Bedlington, is running at 57 per 10,000 adults, while in the City of London and St Albans the rates are four and 11 respectively.

For full article see Federal Management

Financial Ombudsman Service Annual Review

Posted on May 22nd, 2012 by admin

The Financial Ombudsman Service has today published its annual review covering the 2011/2012 financial year.

The review shows that during the year:

  • The ombudsman received over 1.2 million front-line enquiries and complaints from consumers – over 5,000 each working day.
  • 1 in 5 of these initial enquiries went on to become formal disputes – a record 264,375 new cases, up 28% on the previous year.
  • 157,716 cases were about the sale of payment protection insurance – the highest number of complaints ever received about a single financial product.
  • All areas of the UK saw similar-sized increases in the number of consumers bringing complaints to the ombudsman – with “complaint hotspots” in Glasgow, Swansea and Bristol.

Looking at the trends and themes behind these figures, Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman said:

“This year’s been a struggle for many consumers, who’ve found themselves burdened by debt, besieged by claims companies and bewildered by the complexity of financial services. This has made our work at the ombudsman service more challenging – but more crucial – than ever before.

“I believe there’s something we can all learn from what we’ve seen this year – to help prevent future problems and complaints. What’s gone wrong in the past doesn’t need to happen again – as long as we remember that “complaints” are about real people, not numbers, and that “complaints handling” is about customer service, not box ticking.”

Statistics from the ombudsman’s annual review show:

  • The ombudsman’s involvement resulted in compensation for consumers in 64% of cases.
  • 69% of PPI complaints were brought by claims companies – down from 76% last year, as more consumers realise they don’t need to pay someone to complain on their behalf.
  • PPI complaints made up 62% of cases from the North East of England compared with 48% from the South East.
  • The number of people using the ombudsman from “C1/C2″ and “DE” backgrounds have risen by 50% and 140% respectively over the last five years – while complaints from “AB” professionals have fallen by 42%.
  • 21% of consumers who brought complaints to the ombudsman said they had some form of disability.
  • 18% of people across the UK said they’d had a problem with a financial product or service – and 75% said they were aware of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  • 70% said they would trust the ombudsman – and 77% said they would recommend the ombudsman to friends and family.