My mother, who is registered disabled, has been pursued for a couple of months now by a debt collection company alleging that she owes them, or rather their employer Sky TV, nearly £100.
Her Sky account is in perfect order, something Sky themselves confirmed. They even stated that not only had they NOT referred on such a "debt" to an enforcement agency, but they'd never heard of the company claiming the debt exists!
I wrote a letter, which mum signed, putting the collection agency to strict proof as per the OFT's guidelines for holders of credit licences. I demanded that they furnish all data they held in relation to this alleged "debt" (balance statements, documentation from the originating creditor, the referral from the originating creditor - ie Sky - authorising them to act as collection/enforcement agents etc).
I also CLEARLY stated that their conduct was being construed as harassment under the Administration of Justice Act 1979 and that should they continue to ignore statutory guidelines by demanding money whilst the debt was now officially in dispute, we would refer the matter to the OFT and the police.
Meaning, we felt that such continued threats of court action and bailiff attendance, "personal visits", phone calls demanding money etc would escalate this from a simple civil pursuit to a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
They replied two WEEKS later simply with a threat of court action if she did not send them the sum demanded within 7 days of their most recent letter, along with ANOTHER letter a couple of days later stating that they would not send any proof of her alleged liability, nor of the debt's existence, unless she provided the statutory £10 fee for a data subject access request under the Data Protection Act.
I replied saying that the OFT guidelines for holders of credit licences REQUIRED them to furnish such information for free, as it was an exemption from the usual data subject access requests in that if they want to demand money, it is up to THEM to prove WHY the money is due.
To summarise, they have continued to pursue my middle aged, disabled mother for money she doesn't owe and indeed doesn't have! They have been advised twice in writing that she disputes the debt, and that she doesn't owe it and has proof from their "originating creditor". They were further warned frankly and transparently that any further action taken by them to attempt recovery of monies would be construed as harassment. I did state however that should they be able to demonstrate liability she would be more than willing to pay.
They continue unabated.
I have contacted Consumer Direct who have left instructions for Trading Standards, and I have been advised to follow up my threat to report them to the Office of Fair Trading (who have the power to remove their consumer credit licence) on Monday. The local police station however, says that even under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 this is a civil matter and no matter how much they continue to threaten, write to and telephone her she just has to "contact the CAB for advice".
No offence, but I've done quite a lot of legal work and have at least the qualification of a lay advisor at the CAB. All the right letters have been sent them, and short of them going away or actually having the balls to sue (with no evidence!) and us counter claiming for harassment and the striking out of this non-existent debt, I don't know what to do next?
Should I just file an N1 claim form pre-emptively with a copy of all the correspondence between them and my Mother, with a copy of the letter from Sky confirming she owes nothing and indeed never has owed them?
At the moment they're just a big, faceless corporation bullying a single woman too old and physically incapable to do anything but worry herself stupid at nights. They still refuse to comply with my/our request to prove their legitimacy in the debt's existence and their ability to enforce it (because it doesn't, and they can't!).