DCBL have issued a number of letters titled 'Notice of Enforcement' which appear to resemble statutory 'Notice of Enforcement' but in fact are just debt collector letters.
The letters also appear to artificially inflate the alleged amount owed so that the amount goes over £605 in two stages. This is the amount at which a high court writ can be issued if the claim is upheld at court. No doubt all the other debt collection companies are keeping an eye on proceedings and will shortly be following suit if the tactic works.
DCBL have applied to the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct credit activities and they have been granted interim permission. If you have received one of these letters and think it appropriate to bring it to the attention of the FCA, then they can be contacted at 25 The North Colonnade, London E14 5HS or firstname.lastname@example.org
A sample letter follows, but it is always best to use your own words.
I understand Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd, http://www.dcbltd.com/ have been granted permission to conduct credit activities following the changeover from the OFT. In light of that, I thought it pertinent to bring to your attention their debt collection activities.
I attach a copy of the letter they sent to me. As you will see from the attached, DCBL have provided a document entitled Notice of Enforcement. The notice displayed bears an uncanny and remarkable resemblance to the statutory Notice of Enforcement issued in April 2014 under the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. The truth of the matter is that the notice is not a statutory notice. Instead, it is a notice that (for want of a better word) has been cleverly doctored to resemble a Notice of Enforcement. You can no doubt compare the two.
These letters appear to fall foul of your debt collection guidance on several points:
7.3.14 (1) A firm must not take disproportionate action against a customer in arrears or default.
7.7.2 A firm must not claim the costs of recovering a debt from a customer if it has no contractual right to claim such costs
7.7.3 A firm must not cause a customer to believe that the customer is legally liable to pay the costs of recovery where no such obligation exists
7.7.4 Where a firm has a contractual right to levy default charges, a regulated credit agreement must state the charges and the conditions for making the charge under, as the case may be, the Consumer Credit (Agreements) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1014) or the Consumer Credit (Agreements) Regulations 1983 (SI 1983/1553).
7.7.5 A firm must not impose charges on customers in default or arrears difficulties unless the charges are no higher than necessary to cover the reasonable costs of the firm.
7.11.1 When contacting customers, a firm must not misrepresent its authority or its legal position with regards to the debt or debt recovery process.
7.11.2 For example, a person misrepresents authority or the legal position if they claim to work on instructions from the courts as bailiffs or, in Scotland, sheriff officers or messengers-at-arms, or in Northern Ireland, to work on instructions from the Enforcement of Judgements Office when this is untrue
7.11.3 A firm must not use official looking documents which are designed to, or are likely to, mislead a customer as to the status of the firm
I hope therefore that you can investigate this matter, and take due note of your findings when the time comes to finally decide whether to grant DCBL a credit licence or not.
The Parking Prankster