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    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 12th Jun 17, 7:42 PM
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    wildbilljones
    Debt Recovery Letter Received
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 17, 7:42 PM
    Debt Recovery Letter Received 12th Jun 17 at 7:42 PM
    I've received a letter from a debt collection agency called Daniels Silverman, requesting the sum of '£105.56 which is 'outstanding on (my) account'. There is no detail offered about why I am alleged to owe this figure nor of who has instructed them to collect it.

    I recently traveled on a rush hour train from London and took the first available seat which happened to be in first class carriage (although I didn't know this to be the case at the time). As soon as the train left the station, several ticket inspectors entered the carriage and demanded everyone produce their first class tickets. I only had a standard ticket and so I offered to move into a standard class seat not knowing that I had sat in the wrong place. The Inspector didn't accept this and said that I would have to pay a fine. I then offered to buy a first class ticket but he also refused that and said that I would need to pay a fine. I also told him that I was feeling unwell and had sat there because I didn't feel comfortable standing for the journey but he wasn't sympathetic to that either. He was very determined to fine everyone in the carriage and wasn't open to hearing explanations.

    Now I'm assuming the letter relates to this journey although there is no explanation offered. Needless to say, I'm not willing to pay this company any money and if the letter is regarding the event above then I'm very happy to contest and explain the circumstances and my reasoning for not paying but since there is no detail at all given and the letter is addressed to a 'Miss' (I am a Mr), is it wise to even acknowledge receipt?

    Many thanks in advance for any advice offered.
Page 1
    • datlex
    • By datlex 12th Jun 17, 8:05 PM
    • 1,293 Posts
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    datlex
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 8:05 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 8:05 PM
    I doubt it is to do with the train journey. I would expect the fine to come from the train company.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 12th Jun 17, 8:25 PM
    • 11,497 Posts
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    sourcrates
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 8:25 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 8:25 PM
    How would they know who you were ?
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 12th Jun 17, 9:30 PM
    • 11,050 Posts
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    fatbelly
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:30 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:30 PM
    Daniels Silverman do not normally deal with railway fines.

    Try a prove-it
  • National Debtline
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 17, 1:44 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 17, 1:44 PM
    Hi there,


    I would agree with fatbelly to send the prove it letter to the Daniel Silverman letter and then consider your options from there. You can't make much of a decision until you know what they are chasing.


    With regard to the rail penalty you should have had notice of the penalty assuming the inspector took your name, address etc. you can then check the website of that operator for more details about how to appeal the ticket and where to escalate the appeal to, if necessary. If you get notice of a penalty, do not ignore it. Comply with the deadlines they give you to dispute and send everything recorded delivery and keep a copy.


    Laura
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 15th Jun 17, 1:46 PM
    • 8 Posts
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    wildbilljones
    • #6
    • 15th Jun 17, 1:46 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Jun 17, 1:46 PM
    They know my address because I gave it to the ticket inspector. I was expecting to receive a fine in the post and so I'm surprised that it's just a letter saying 'you owe...' and no details at all about the reason. It's probably just lazy administration from the debt collectors that the train company hand over to. In any case, I won't communicate with a debt collection agency but would willingly talk to the train company, however they've not been in touch.

    I'll not be at the address much longer and so if it's unlikely to cause any credit issues (my friend thinks that people can be defaulted over this kind of thing) then I intend to ignore the letter. I think a letter asking for money with no details doesn't justify a reply.

    Thanks,
    J
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 15th Jun 17, 3:13 PM
    • 753 Posts
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    StopIt
    • #7
    • 15th Jun 17, 3:13 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Jun 17, 3:13 PM
    They know my address because I gave it to the ticket inspector. I was expecting to receive a fine in the post and so I'm surprised that it's just a letter saying 'you owe...' and no details at all about the reason. It's probably just lazy administration from the debt collectors that the train company hand over to. In any case, I won't communicate with a debt collection agency but would willingly talk to the train company, however they've not been in touch.

    I'll not be at the address much longer and so if it's unlikely to cause any credit issues (my friend thinks that people can be defaulted over this kind of thing) then I intend to ignore the letter. I think a letter asking for money with no details doesn't justify a reply.

    Thanks,
    J
    Originally posted by wildbilljones

    It's not a default that you'd be worrying about with not paying a train fine, but a magistrates court fine.


    Yes, you read that right. Non payment of a train ticket, and then not paying the fine is a criminal offence, not a civil one dealt with a CCJ.


    I think this DCA thing may be totally separate, but if you get a letter demanding payment for this train ticket, you must pay it. Moving will not cure that one either. I'd be contacting the train company and seeing if they're issuing a penalty fare notice (Which you should have been able to pay at the time!), pay it ASAP.
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 15th Jun 17, 5:34 PM
    • 8 Posts
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    wildbilljones
    • #8
    • 15th Jun 17, 5:34 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Jun 17, 5:34 PM
    I agree, if I receive a letter demanding payment for a train ticket then I should pay it. However this isn't that. It's a letter from a disreputable debt collection agency demanding a payment of 'outstanding credit'. The two incidents are undoubtedly connected but it just seems odd to me that National rail operate in this way. Doesn't that mean that NR are selling their debts to a debt collection agency? The agency (initialled DS) is frequently criticised on this forum and people advise that you should not even speak to them, never mind pay them.

    Is it unreasonable that I await communication from National Rail on this? I will contest the fine but I can't do that with a debt collection agency who haven't even outlined the reason they are asking me for the sum.

    Thanks,
    J
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 16th Jun 17, 7:40 AM
    • 753 Posts
    • 682 Thanks
    StopIt
    • #9
    • 16th Jun 17, 7:40 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Jun 17, 7:40 AM
    I agree, if I receive a letter demanding payment for a train ticket then I should pay it. However this isn't that. It's a letter from a disreputable debt collection agency demanding a payment of 'outstanding credit'. The two incidents are undoubtedly connected but it just seems odd to me that National rail operate in this way. Doesn't that mean that NR are selling their debts to a debt collection agency? The agency (initialled DS) is frequently criticised on this forum and people advise that you should not even speak to them, never mind pay them.

    Is it unreasonable that I await communication from National Rail on this? I will contest the fine but I can't do that with a debt collection agency who haven't even outlined the reason they are asking me for the sum.

    Thanks,
    J
    Originally posted by wildbilljones

    No, you will receive a penalty fare notice, not a letter from a DCA.


    These are likely unconnected.


    Send a Prove-It letter (Details are in the stickies here) to the DCA. Ignoring it wont make it go away. If you move and they get a CCJ for whatever it is in default (They'll send the court paperwork to your current address, if you move, you wont see it), it'll cost you more to get a Set-Aside than the current amount claimed.
    Last edited by StopIt; 16-06-2017 at 7:42 AM.
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 16th Jun 17, 10:26 AM
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    wildbilljones
    They are not unconnected. I had a dispute with a train conductor who told me I'd receive a fine in the post. A few days later I receive a letter asking for the same amount from a debt collection agency. They certainly are connected and I know what they 'debt' is for. However, I haven't been given a chance to dispute with the train company. The debt collection letter gives no details of the train company, the debt, the offence or anything so in the circumstances, I should surely ignore it. Is it acceptable to send people letters claiming you owe them money but giving no explanation whatsoever?
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 16th Jun 17, 10:30 AM
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    wildbilljones
    A search for Daniels Silverman on this forum reveals many threads in which users advise people that it's unwise to enter dialogue with these people. I am willing to discuss/dispute with a train company when the fine notification arrives but I refuse to deal with a debt collection agency.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 16th Jun 17, 10:30 AM
    • 14,625 Posts
    • 14,349 Thanks
    Guest101
    They are not unconnected. I had a dispute with a train conductor who told me I'd receive a fine in the post. A few days later I receive a letter asking for the same amount from a debt collection agency. They certainly are connected and I know what they 'debt' is for. However, I haven't been given a chance to dispute with the train company. The debt collection letter gives no details of the train company, the debt, the offence or anything so in the circumstances, I should surely ignore it. Is it acceptable to send people letters claiming you owe them money but giving no explanation whatsoever?
    Originally posted by wildbilljones
    A penalty fare notice is not £105.56 though....


    - yes you can send whatever you want, it could be just an 'admin mistake'
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 16th Jun 17, 11:25 AM
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    • 682 Thanks
    StopIt
    Also, your "dispute" with the train company will likely not get you anywhere.


    They're not likely to accept your reasons for sitting in 1st class. Surely the seats saying 1st class on them is hint enough and of course, ignorance is no excuse anyway. Trust me, they've likely heard it all.


    If you don't want to engage with the DCA, it's your call but that comes with it's own risk. Replying in writing without acknowledging the debt and asking for proof is the best way forward.
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 16th Jun 17, 1:22 PM
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    wildbilljones
    Thanks for the advice. I think that responding to what amounts to a phishing letter and giving a DCA a person to harass is a very bad idea though. With a name and no other details and no response from the person they are seeking, I see no way that they can take things further.

    I'll bide my time and see if the train company wish to issue a fine or warning.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 16th Jun 17, 1:49 PM
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    • 682 Thanks
    StopIt
    Thanks for the advice. I think that responding to what amounts to a phishing letter and giving a DCA a person to harass is a very bad idea though. With a name and no other details and no response from the person they are seeking, I see no way that they can take things further.

    I'll bide my time and see if the train company wish to issue a fine or warning.
    Originally posted by wildbilljones

    That's what the Prove-It letters are for.


    You don't accept legal responsibility for the debt and you put the onus on them to actually come up with the goods so to speak. If I was in your position I'd be wanting to put the DCA on the back foot because there's nothing stopping the DCA issuing a Letter Before Action at any point now, regardless of whether you think they're being fair or not.


    These DCA guys usually hope that people either get scared and pay, or just ignore it as they then don't need to provide much evidence at all to win a CCJ by default.
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 16th Jun 17, 2:40 PM
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    wildbilljones
    Thanks again. All things considered, I don't think it's worth entering a conversation with people like this. I don't believe that they'll attempt to win a CCJ nor that they'd be successful if they did. They haven't located the person they are attempting to charge. I think therefore it's a question of whether I'm willing to pay the amount (I'm not) or whether I accept them chasing me for a while (I'm ok with that). If whoever issued the fine expected to have it paid up, they should have contacted me, not sent it to a DCA immediately.
    • anna_1977
    • By anna_1977 16th Jun 17, 2:46 PM
    • 575 Posts
    • 799 Thanks
    anna_1977
    Thanks again. All things considered, I don't think it's worth entering a conversation with people like this. I don't believe that they'll attempt to win a CCJ nor that they'd be successful if they did. They haven't located the person they are attempting to charge. I think therefore it's a question of whether I'm willing to pay the amount (I'm not) or whether I accept them chasing me for a while (I'm ok with that). If whoever issued the fine expected to have it paid up, they should have contacted me, not sent it to a DCA immediately.
    Originally posted by wildbilljones

    I don't think you should ignore the rail fine! If you do you'll be posting on here down the line about having a CCJ and screwed credit history
    • wildbilljones
    • By wildbilljones 16th Jun 17, 2:50 PM
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    wildbilljones
    But it isn't rail fine! It's a letter from a DCA claiming I have outstanding credit! If I get a rail fine, I fully intend to cooperate.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 16th Jun 17, 2:50 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 682 Thanks
    StopIt
    Thanks again. All things considered, I don't think it's worth entering a conversation with people like this. I don't believe that they'll attempt to win a CCJ nor that they'd be successful if they did. They haven't located the person they are attempting to charge. I think therefore it's a question of whether I'm willing to pay the amount (I'm not) or whether I accept them chasing me for a while (I'm ok with that). If whoever issued the fine expected to have it paid up, they should have contacted me, not sent it to a DCA immediately.
    Originally posted by wildbilljones

    Again, I'm speaking in the general when it comes to DCA's. And so you know, they can and will throw a CCJ case in for low amounts like this as the bar to get a judgment in default is very low. Do not think they wont because they haven't cleared your bar of evidence because that's asking for trouble.


    If this is for the train fine though, again, this wont be a CCJ they'll be applying for, but a magistrates court fine as avoidance of paying a penalty fare is not a county court matter.


    What train company is this regarding? Have you investigated on their penalty fare procedures?
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 16th Jun 17, 2:57 PM
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    • 11,095 Thanks
    sourcrates
    Daniels Silverman are a standard trace and contact debt collector.

    So they will be acting for a client.

    The letter is purposely vague, in order that you will contact them to obtain further information (as off October 1st this year the law will change so that anyone chasing a debt has to provide information and proof of liability at first contact).

    At present you can only speculate what this is about, you think it "may" be about a train fare fine, of course it may be something else entirely, the problem you now face is this, if it is about the fine, and you avoid contact, its almost certain the client (rail operator) will escalate this to the magistrates court.

    If you want to avoid this happening, all you need do is send them the "provit letter", and you will then have your answer, for the sake of a second class stamp, and 10 mins of your time, you could avoid a lot of trouble.

    Fines are a priority debt because the magistrates' court has the power to send you to prison for non-payment. The magistrates' court may fine you for committing a driving offence, not paying a fixed penalty notice, not having a television licence or many other criminal offences.
    Last edited by sourcrates; 16-06-2017 at 3:06 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
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