Recently I’ve received a letter from Lowell stating that I owe a debt from Orange.
The debt in question is regarding an upgrade I made in October 2014 in which I was told I had no choice but to upgrade onto ee as all accounts were switching. At the time I also had a tablet contract on the same account which I assumed was switched over too (stupid of me I know) and the payments to ee from then were similar so didn’t think anything of it.
In January 2016 I then spoke to orange as I wanted to get my previous bills (12 months) for an unrelated matter, which were sent and ended with October 2014. At the time they also specified the account was clear!
Fast forward to August 2016 and I receive a letter from Lowell calling for immediate payment. Contacted them to find out what it was for and subsequently spoke to orange, who claimed the debt was sold so didn’t appear on the system when I enquirers in January.
Lowell have now admitted they only brought the account in April 2016 (three months after I called), also have never received any contact from orange despite still being with ee on the same mobile number! No default notice was sent/received yet they have put a default on my credit file and correspondence with Lowell so far has been fruitless! I have continued to dispute the debt but they keep saying it’s valid with no evidence bar a print out of dates and numbers apparently from ee.
Really need some advice on what to do! My main concern is removing the default from my credit fully, but ideally I’d like them to erase the debt too as was never notified (all information they have provided on the account so far has been incorrect too, bar the account number). I’ve been reading a lot on this forum so feel positive but unsure how best to clear the default as well as the debt.
Any help you can offer is much appreciated!!
Where mobile phone contracts are concerned they do not have to legally send you a default notice. However, you should write to Lowell via recorded delivery, never phone them, requiring them to provide a copy of the original signed contract with EE, a copy of any existing Notice of Assignment form either themselves or EE – without which they have no right to even contact you, and a copy of the Deed of Assignment – which they will refuse to supply, but ask any way.
You may want to send this letter, if you wish:
I DO NOT RECOGNIZE OR ACKNOWLEDGE ANY DEBT TO YOUR COMPANY IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM
THIS IS A VALID DISPUTE AND MUST BE TREATED AS SUCH UNDER THE FCA REGULATIONS
Your Reference Number: Ref. number on their letter
FAO: Whom ever named on their letter
I write in regard to you letter dated, XXXX, the contents of which are noted and rebutted in their entirety.
As this is a valid dispute concerning verification of alleged debt, I require copies of certain documents to legally verify any claims made by you to any alleged debt as per the following:
In English Law in order to be successful in civil proceedings, the claimant must prove by evidence (the evidential burden) the facts to the standard of the legal burden of proof, which is on the balance of probabilities. Furthermore, it is a fundamental principle of English law that a litigant/claimant/proclaimer bears the burden (or “onus”) of proof in respect of the propositions it asserts to prove its claim. The burden of proof does not lie with the person who denies the allegation. Unless the party is able to prove the fact by relying on judicial notice or a presumption, the fact must be proved by formal evidence. Accordingly, the burden of proof is applied which requires a person to prove the facts that he relies upon.
A copy of the Original signed and dated Contract between myself and EE.
1. The Termination of Account Notice.
2. The Notice of Assignment made Under the Hand of the Assignor under Section 136 of the Law of property Act 1925.
3. The Deed of Assignment, duly made out as per Section 74 [amended] of the law of property Act 1925.
I require the above documents within 28 days, and expect as a matter of course any and all communications to cease until such times you deliver the above documents as per the FCA regulations concerning disputed debts, or a letter stating you cannot obtain any or all of the documents.
Should you fail to deliver any documents in the time period allowed, or state you cannot obtain them, I expect a letter from yourselves stating clearly that this matter is now closed and ended permanently.
Any deviation or your attempting to treat this as a complaint and not a Valid Dispute as per FCA regulations, will see me report you to the FOS, FCA, ICO and ActionFraud and I may take legal action against you for harassment under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997, and the ICO may wish to charge you with illegally processing my data under the Data protection Act 1998.
Thanks for the reply!
I’ve already mentioned wanting to see a signed contract to which they’ve said
Please be advised that telecommunication accounts are service agreements and not credit agreements and, therefore, they are not governed by the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. As such, there is no requirement to complete and sign an agreement in order to obtain an account of this nature.
As you are probably aware, accounts of this type can be obtained by telephone, over the internet and by mail order.
With this in mind no agreement will be provided.
Do I just send the letter you advised to anyway?
Also, realistically what are the chances of me getting the default removed? I haven’t paid a penny of the debt as thought it’d be better to use as leverage
Yes send the letter any way, because in English Law it is the claimant’s onus or burden to prove what they assert is the truth. If the contract was made over the phone then they need supply a recording of the verbal agreement made, if via the internet, then an electronic contract duly signed by you, be it by you ticking a box or typing your name.
The burden of poof it always the claimant’s not the defendants, so make them prove it or stop harassing you.
Thank you so much Faljay! I feel a lot more relaxed now 😀 will get the letter sent tomorrow and then I guess I follow up with the 2nd and 3rd letter if they don’t provide the documents.
I’m actually in shock, Lowell have agreed to drop the debt after letter one!!!
Thanks to much Faljay!!
Any advice on how to go about getting the default removed now?
This is what they sent me:
We acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.
We note all your comments and have investigated the matter. We consider that there is sufficient evidence to confirm your liability for this debt and that the balance outstanding is due and owing. However, with a view to resolving this matter quickly and simply, we have decided to take no further action to recover this balance and will close your account.
We are not prepared to remove any default registered with the credit reference agencies in respect of this account as we consider that this data remains correct and accurate. This information will remain on your credit file for a period of 6 years from the date of default.
For the avoidance of any doubt, please note that, whilst Lowell will always endeavour to comply with all relevant regulatory requirements, we do not acknowledge or accept any of the terms, conditions, fee schedules and timeframes that you have set out in your correspondence. Any claims against Lowell based on these unilateral terms and conditions will be defended.
I trust this now concludes the matter. Should we receive any similar correspondence from you regarding this account, we will not be providing a response. If, however, you do have any specific questions regarding the content of this email, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Well Done and Congratulations! Don’t forget to add this to Success Stories.
It means they do not have the required documentation to prove they owned the alleged debt, or that you owed it, so are lying about your liability, as always.
They have already said they will not remove the default, however, as this relates to a mobile phone contract, which does not require a default by law and as Lowell are not the original supplier and this is not related to a Consumer Credit Agreement the and the fact they have closed the account, you can use this to persuade them to remove the default and if they do not, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office.
Received this reply today regarding removing the default, any ideas on what to do next?
Thank you for your email.
As advised in my previous email, we are not prepared to remove any default registered with the credit reference agencies in respect of this account as we consider that this data remains correct and accurate. This information will remain on your credit file for a period of 6 years from the date of default.
Our stance is as follows:
· Lowell Portfolio I Ltd purchased your account from the original creditor in 04/2016
· Formal notice of this assignment was provided to you by letter dated 18/04/2016 – which complies with the requirements of section 136 of the Law of Property Act 1925
· That this is not an assignment under the provisions of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882
· That we are not acting as agents for the original creditor or any other third party.
I would be happy to reopen your account and request statements to show how the balance accrued however we are not legally obliged to provide you with documentation you have requested.
Please let me know if you would like me to reopen your account and request the documents.
I would write and ask them who issued the default; Lowell or Orange? If they say themselves [Lowell] you can then demand they remove it as only the original party can default you and if they refuse, report them to the ICO.
I responded with what you said and threatened to report them but just received this.
Will reporting them mean the ICO will investigate and get it removed?
At the point of application of this account with Orange, a Fair Processing Notice was agreed to by you to share/pass personal data. Consequently, when Lowell Portfolio I Ltd purchased the rights and benefits of the account, this included the Fair Processing Notice and the requisite permission.
We are required to show how the account has been conducted and therefore the default and the default balance will remain on your credit file as unpaid for 6 years from the date of default.
If you would like the account to be marked as satisfied/ with a zero balance you would need to pay the account in full. If you would like me to reopen the account so you can pay the account in full or by affordable instalments please let me know.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sorry for the delay but last week an old back injury flared up and crippled me.
Yes if you report Lowell to the ICO they will investigate and respond to your complaint.