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  • FIRST POST
    darkblue
    BCW - What you should know [Insider]
    • #1
    • 11th Mar 08, 1:16 PM
    BCW - What you should know [Insider] 11th Mar 08 at 1:16 PM
    BCW Group PLC - Buchanan Clark and Wells.

    What you should know

    I was an employee with BCW Group, and I would like to, anonymously, share my experiences of them, and hopefully help people who currently have their debt with this company.

    BCW are a debt collection organisation. Some of their clients include: British Gas, Scottish Power, E.On, powergen, etc. Local councils for council tax collection. Most large mobile phone companies.

    I am speaking out as an ex-employee because this company's 'tactics' are appalling.
    The only thing they are concerned with is getting as much money as possible out of you - regardless of your circumstances.

    First of all, BCW have a 'three call' strategy.
    This is as follows.

    You will receive a letter from BCW stating that it is a 'formal/final demand for payment'. You will be urged to contact a premium rate telephone line to make payment.

    The person you are connected with is trained to ONLY EVER accept payment in full the first time you call. Therefore, when you call and say you cannot afford payment in full, they will tell you to go and try and find the money and will give you 48 hours to do so.

    The second call you make, if you say you could not source the money, they will offer you:
    50% payment now and 50% payment next month. Or 50% then 25% then 25%.

    Only on the third phone call will you be offered a monthly payment plan option, up to 12 months.

    BCW make an extra charge (min 2) when paying by credit/debit card over the phone.

    Their call centre is very much a competition-based environment, whereby bonuses are given to 'top collectors'.
    As you can imagine - 'top collectors' are ruthless.

    During my training - I was told to 'take payment at all costs'. Never fob callers off to the client (i.e. british gas) - just make excuses for the charges and take payment.

    We were told to "imply" court action, baliffs, credit blacklisting - as means to make the caller pay.

    We were always told NEVER to tell the caller that they WILL end up in court, etc - however that 'May/Might/Possible' court action,etc was a good tactic.

    If you fail to call BCW and they have your telephone number - they will call you. They can call you every single day if they don't feel that you are trying hard enough to pay or not paying.

    Debt is written off if they cannot trace you/ you can prove you are bankrupt./ you can prove the original client is deceased/ you prove you are on a debt prepayment plan with a recognised authority and obtaining payment from you would be uneconomical to pursue.

    There are non-premium rate telephone numbers to get through to them - please see their website for numbers.

    Please note that at the time I was employed - BCW staff were told to obey all data protection act rules and regulations. Training involved a lot knowing about the regulations in place, and we were tested on them.
    Anyone flaunting the rules was automatically fired - on the spot.

    This is because complaints are costly to their fortune, and they don't tolerate it - at least, in theory.

    If you ask to speak to a line manager - you must be put through or called back as soon as possible.

    If you ask for your telephone number to be removed from their system - they MUST do it, so long as they have an address they can write to you at.

    DB.
Page 1
    • boredofbeingathome
    • By boredofbeingathome 11th Mar 08, 1:45 PM
    • 15,412 Posts
    • 37,538 Thanks
    boredofbeingathome
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 08, 1:45 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 08, 1:45 PM
    Thanks- its good to know how people like this operate, i will pass info round to folk.
    Blackadder: Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words 'I have a cunning plan' marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?
    Still lurking around with a hope of some salvation
  • livinginhope
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 08, 2:24 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 08, 2:24 PM
    Thanks darkblue,BUT I was told by Payplan that BCW are actually solicitors that act for the Lloyds TSB group and this is the first place our debts from Lloyds ended up,I never got a call from them,but I called them once and had my payment plan accepted straight away,guess I just got them on a good day then?
    What you are describing is basically what we hear about most DCAs,so nothing surprising
    Debt at highest 107k
    Debt as of Nov 11 90k
    Sorting debt thanks to DMP with Payplan 52 years
    Proud to be dealing with my debts
  • darkblue
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 08, 2:40 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 08, 2:40 PM
    Thanks darkblue,BUT I was told by Payplan that BCW are actually solicitors that act for the Lloyds TSB group and this is the first place our debts from Lloyds ended up,I never got a call from them,but I called them once and had my payment plan accepted straight away,guess I just got them on a good day then?
    What you are describing is basically what we hear about most DCAs,so nothing surprising
    Originally posted by livinginhope
    This is a common thing in BCW. Certain 'Rogues' play on the fact that Buchanan Clark and Wells sounds like a solicitors, when in fact, it is three sporting heroes of the founder of the company!!!

    Certain departments are allowed to accept a payment plan in one call, and some people do it just to 'boost their stats' anyway.

    It's worth a try to try and get one sorted immediately. But never let them bully you. If you are polite and genuine, the person on the phone might have a heart.
    • freddykrueger
    • By freddykrueger 11th Mar 08, 11:22 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    freddykrueger
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 08, 11:22 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 08, 11:22 PM
    Ken Buchanan, Alan Wells and ....... Clark? I too worked for BCW and still keep in touch with a few people there although I was never involved in the collection or tracing side.
  • slimjim666
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 08, 4:00 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 08, 4:00 PM
    Ive had the letter and the three calls and all the bully tactics.

    I am a full time mature student although trying to get it into their thick heads that students cant afford to pay back the amounts they were asking is like trying to draw blood from a stone. Two of the agents said ' you cant live off fresh air' so i replied 'my wife is supporting me (the debt is from before we got together) and untill someone can call back and speak to me with some respect no offer will be made' i then hung up.

    After thinking about the debt i am sure it is an old debt (over 5 or 6 yrs old), i called national debt line and they confirmed what i thought about old debts not being collectable. The rep at national debtline seem to know what BCW are like because she said 'OH THEM' when i said the company name lol. She is now sending me a template letter to send to BCW saying that they have got to prove the debt is within the cut-off point to be lawfully claimed back.
  • kel123
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 08, 4:18 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 08, 4:18 PM
    it will be interesting to see if DB writes again following freddykrueger's post!

    Here I go againt distrusting good intensions

    Kel
    (writen while smaking myself and saying you can and will trust)
  • darkblue
    • #8
    • 24th Mar 08, 5:09 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Mar 08, 5:09 PM
    [quote=kel123;9326633]it will be interesting to see if DB writes again following freddykrueger's post!

    Here I go againt distrusting good intensions

    Kel
    (writen while smaking myself and saying you can and will trust)[/]

    Hi Kel,

    BCW have several offices and a VERY HIGH turnover of staff. And many, many departments. Therefore it would not worry me in the slightest.

    SlimJim - They don't seem to care if debt is statute barred or not.

    I was told by a supervisor when working with some statute barred debt should be collected and never to advise the caller about statute bar.

    I should also mention that BCW can offer a discretionary reduction in payment.

    If you are able to pay in full, up to 25% can be taken off some gas and power account debts - fees placed on the account can be waived, card handling fees can be waived.

    On other debts (such as Aktiv Capital) up to 50% can be taken off the debt - at the discretion of the person on the phone.

    Remember that BCW CAN write off the debt. All british gas accounts under 50 - we are told NOT to attempt to trace the customer. If the telephone numbers do not work and there is no reply to letters - the debt is written off as 'uneconomical to pursue'.

    Some other accounts also specify that BCW should not trace the customer, as they incur costs from BCW doing so.
  • rog2
    • #9
    • 24th Mar 08, 5:16 PM
    • #9
    • 24th Mar 08, 5:16 PM
    Thank you for confirming what many of us have been saying, on this forum, for years.
    I am NOT, nor do I profess to be, a Qualified Debt Adviser. I have made MANY mistakes and have OFTEN been the unwitting victim of the the shamefull tactics of the Financial Industry.
    If any of my experiences, or the knowledge that I have gained from those experiences, can help anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances, then my experiences have not been in vain.

    HMRC Bankruptcy Statistic - 26th October 2006 - 23rd April 2007 BCSC Member No. 7

    DFW Nerd # 166 PROUD TO BE DEALING WITH MY DEBTS
  • Bunnyinthelights
    Thnks for info-
    I learned most of this through all my dealings with other companies like DCB but it nice to have it confirmed.
    Empty pockets never held anyone back, only empty heads and empty hearts can do that -Peale
  • kel123
    My Daugghter in law is a debt collector for a major car dealership. And she says that allthough what Darkblue says is based around fact it is all too nicy nicy. In reality it's nothing like that! They have 2 and only 2 objectives

    1. get some money
    2. get more money by what ever means

    A supervisor is some one sitting next to you. she admits to regularly being one?
    She thinks that this is a PR stunt because the first line says trust me and the last few paragraphs are 'we are a good company we do it by the book'

    My experience YES MINE is that because I put obsticals in their path they moved the debt on after 1 (one) phone call !!!!!!

    Trust is a state of mind - Fact costs
  • darkblue
    My Daugghter in law is a debt collector for a major car dealership. And she says that allthough what Darkblue says is based around fact it is all too nicy nicy. In reality it's nothing like that! They have 2 and only 2 objectives

    1. get some money
    2. get more money by what ever means

    A supervisor is some one sitting next to you. she admits to regularly being one?
    She thinks that this is a PR stunt because the first line says trust me and the last few paragraphs are 'we are a good company we do it by the book'

    My experience YES MINE is that because I put obsticals in their path they moved the debt on after 1 (one) phone call !!!!!!

    Trust is a state of mind - Fact costs
    Originally posted by kel123
    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here... If you are hinting that I am pulling a PR stunt on behalf of BCW, then I think you misread my posting.

    The reason I posted this thread was to let people know how BCW operate and hopefully to help those in a situation where they are trapped.

    The fact that I open up the post by saying that I am an ex employee was purely to let readers know that I am speaking from experience, and not just opinion.

    I have given general advice to people reading because I know that people with debt with BCW can feel trapped. I am confused as to why anyone can see my posting as anything else.

    I do hope that others reading this can see its use.
  • kel123
    Sorry just saying what I think. You might think i'm sad but two sayings come to mind

    Never look a gift horse in the mouth

    and

    Never acept gifts from strangers
    • thevinternet
    • By thevinternet 27th Mar 08, 3:28 AM
    • 1,035 Posts
    • 7,002 Thanks
    thevinternet
    Sorry just saying what I think. You might think i'm sad but two sayings come to mind

    Never look a gift horse in the mouth

    and

    Never acept gifts from strangers
    Originally posted by kel123
    Er, no offence, but your two phrases mean completely different things. "Never look a gift horse in the mouth" means that you should take the present you are given without questioning its legitimacy.

    Also darkblue is criticising BCW, so why would it be a PR stunt exactly?:confused:
  • Freakylady
    Hi DarkBlue,
    Thanks for that info. My OH has had two letters from BCW - the first saying there wasa debt to pay etc. We phoned them and found out that the debt was from 2005 - if indeed there is actually a debt - this is the first we've heard of it. we did agree to pay half then after thinking about it we don't believe the debt is actually 'real' we decided to ignore it.
    then we recieved another letter (a month later) saying we would now be visited by a someone ( letter stamped "recieved out of court" )

    considering that they have no contact numbers for us - can we just ignore the letter - how long will it be before they decide its not worth pursuing? ( the debt is 11) !!!

    any advice gratefully recieved
    thanks
  • skintandscared
    Thank you for your posting darkblue. I am just about to enter a DMP and have no idea yet whether creditors will accept my payments or sell the debts on, so it is very useful to know what the DCAs will be after if/when they call me! I admit I can't see anything in your posts that could be interpreted as anything other than wanting to give a bit of insight into how the DCAs work and what tactics they use. I plan to be polite with anyone who calls me and I understand that they are just trying to get their money back, but they can't have what I don't have and I will not be bullied. Your post has given me a little more confidence not to be intimidated by empty or false threats, so many thanks for that.
    DMP Mutual Support Thread member 244
    Quit smoking 13/05/2013
    Joined Slimming World 02/12/13. Loss so far = 60lb in 28 weeks 18lb to go
  • markss
    thanks darkblue your help has been very encouraging and it is nice to see what actualy happens on the inside. I had the call which offered me settlement for 408 off my o2 phone bill of 1,000 which i am disputing. she gave me 48 hours and will call me back monday. any advice appreciated from anyone thanks. Mark
  • rog2
    thanks darkblue your help has been very encouraging and it is nice to see what actualy happens on the inside. I had the call which offered me settlement for 408 off my o2 phone bill of 1,000 which i am disputing. she gave me 48 hours and will call me back monday. any advice appreciated from anyone thanks. Mark
    Originally posted by markss
    If your O2 bill is 'in genuine dispute' then a 'dca' should not be contacting you, or pursuing you for payment, until that 'dispute' is resolved:

    http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/consumer_credit/oft664.pdf

    Also, be extremely careful of any 'settlement offers' - even if the debt is genuine, you should only accept an offer of a reduced settlement figure once the creditor/dca has confirmed, in writing, that such payment will be accepted as "Full and Final Settlement" of the debt. Accept no other wording:

    http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/england_wales/factsheet.php?page=24_full_and_final_settlement_of fers
    I am NOT, nor do I profess to be, a Qualified Debt Adviser. I have made MANY mistakes and have OFTEN been the unwitting victim of the the shamefull tactics of the Financial Industry.
    If any of my experiences, or the knowledge that I have gained from those experiences, can help anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances, then my experiences have not been in vain.

    HMRC Bankruptcy Statistic - 26th October 2006 - 23rd April 2007 BCSC Member No. 7

    DFW Nerd # 166 PROUD TO BE DEALING WITH MY DEBTS
  • megalogs
    Sorry for bumping an old thread but I need some advice.

    I recieved a call from BCW today, I missed the call but the left a voicemail on my mobile, dont know how thay got it.
    What shall i do, Ring them back? or just ignore them?
  • FTW
    Thanks darkblue,BUT I was told by Payplan that BCW are actually solicitors that act for the Lloyds TSB group and this is the first place our debts from Lloyds ended up
    Originally posted by livinginhope
    Wrong. BCW are a bog-standard debt collection firm - no more, no less. They're certainly not solicitors.


    I never got a call from them,but I called them once and had my payment plan accepted straight away,guess I just got them on a good day then?
    Originally posted by livinginhope
    I wouldn't recommend calling any DCA. Best to keep it in writing. What they say and what they do are too often two different things.
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