Friday, 14 December 2012

Debt Recovery

Yesterday afternoon was finished with an intense period of near panic.

No, I didn't have a debt go bad.  I had a debt collector phone me saying he was from Moss Recoveries and that I owed a bill of £3,900+ to an internet directory company.  Apparently I agreed in early 2011 to a service to keep me on the first page of Google enquiries at £99 + VAT per month and this had by now accumulated to this amazing number.

In spite of my protests at knowing nothing about the company, contract or service they insisted this was the last day I could settle the debt without going to court.  So Moss Recoveries suggested I should contact the business owner on his mobile so some arrangement could be made for payment.  At 4:00pm my bank is normally shut down so paying that day was out of the question.  "Oh, no.  Your bank stays open until 5:00pm at this time of the year."

The discussion with the owner was inconclusive.  Immediately after the conclusion of the discussion with the owner, saying that he would accept no delay in payment "Why would I let you escape for another 12 months when I have you now?" the person from Moss Recoveries phoned asking what resolution had been achieved.

I wanted to have the documents that it was indicated would be sent to me special delivery to substantiate the claim that I owed this enormous amount of money.  They would not allow any delay.  If I did not pay today, they would go to court and the sum owed would be £7,000+.  For some reason I asked what if I did not have the money to pay in full.  The response was that if I paid half now, I would get half of the papers.

At this point I decided that I would fight this.  They had me call a mobile number rather than a land line. They called me on a telephone number which could have been found at any time in the last 24 months. They had my correct address all this time and did not attempt to communicate with me except to a discontinued email address.  Something was not right.

So I told them I was going to talk to my solicitor.  Their parting shot was that they would see me in court.

The solicitor (after I described the incident) said that this probably is a scam, but that nothing can be done but wait to see if papers come for a court appearance.  They need to give at least 7 clear days before the court date to allow me to come to an arrangement for settlement.

I think it is a scam.  The company Moss Recoveries is not findable on the web.  They were never clear about the name of the internet directory company.  But I will have to wait.


Anonymous said...

This does smell of a scam - poor you! But thanks for letting us all read about it!

Anonymous said...

This does sound like a scam - but what a horrible thing!!!
Thank you for posting this - so we all can see

Tom said...

This does sound like a scam.

You should ask for a company number and VAT number for both companies, as well as their physical address.

They could also email you a scanned contract, but use a disposable email address so that they do not harass you.

I was contacted by a company recently that were pretending to be the company that manage my SSL certificate (a website security measure).

They were claiming that if I didnt pay that day I would have lost my certificate and this would effect my business etc.

It is sickening that scamming is a full time job for some.

Anonymous said...

In the states, this is a common scam. I worked at a church and I used to get calls like this all the time. Don't know the legal system over there, but I would definately fight it.

Gerry Phibbs said...

Steve, my friend - sure signs this is a scam.

!) Unsupported debt/contract/agreement that you've never heard of before

2) Huge outstanding bill - that needs immediate payment - as in RIGHT now!

3) Contacts to mobile phone, or some untraceable number, post office box, etc.

4) Willingness to "deal" - as in if you pay half, you get half the documents. Legitimate claims aren't so easily discounted.

5) Attempts to trade on your "good name", or "business reputation", or potential social scandal if not resolved immediately.

Over this side of the waters.. it's actually against the law to threaten legal action as a means to extract payment - but it's part and parcel of this sort of "shake down".

As W. C. Fields famously said so long ago, "you can't cheat an honest man." Such scammers are hoping that there may be something in your personal or business life, that you do not want exposed either to friends and family, or to business concerns - thus you'll do whatever it takes to keep any sort of official or court driven investigation from proceeding.

It's taken a few of these sorts of things being flung at me - but I've finally gotten to a point where I just let 'em know point blank - come ahead, don't just threaten - let's get on with it! Solid, unflustered, determined attitude goes a long way in these scams.

Latest permutation of phone scams here in California, is barrage of calls from so-called "contractors", or "home repair or security" companies. Laws here in CA have made any number of telephone sales illegal - so now they pester you - offering a "free estimate" on just any sort of home or business improvement - for several months, it's been for solar electrical panels. These fools seem to think that technically a "free" estimate is not a "sales pitch", and they think they're skirting the letter of the law. They're not, but..

So.. most incoming phone calls during daylight hours are answered not with "hello".. but with.. "no, I don't want any free estimate.. don't call back!"

Best of luck.. but always remember that there are hoards of people who will try to convince you that your money in their pocket - is good for you!

Peace -Gerry