BG debt collectors pursuing mother in law

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Sponge
Sponge Posts: 834 Forumite
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My mother in law has received a letter addressed to 'The Occupier' from a debt collection agency acting on behalf of British Gas. It is a demand for payment for a period over which she wasn't in the property.

She lives in a council bungalow and reported meter readings to British Gas as soon as she moved in.

The letter asks her to dial a 0870 number to discuss the matter.

What should she do? Should she call them? Should she call BG instead? What should she say? She's scared that she might slip up and somehow get lumped with the debt. She's scared she'll have debt collectors visiting her. She's disabled and on benefits and doesn't feel she should even have to call a 0870 number and pay for the privilege of clearing the matter up, as it's not down to her.

Advice appreciated.

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  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,038 Forumite
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    Ignore the letter, whatever she does don't phone them.

    Once you contact them they hassle you and attempt to get you to find out where the previous occupants have gone, their name etc etc i.e. do their work.

    It is not her problem.

    If she is really worried about a visit - unlikely - then write a letter for her to hand to any debt collector that calls. There is a thread here with some wording on exactly what to write.
  • Premier_2
    Premier_2 Posts: 15,141 Forumite
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    A person can't demand a debt from someone they don't know the name of.

    Normally this type of letter is simply enquiring the whereabouts of a named person. If it doesn't, ignore it - any half decent debt collection agency would know they can't collect a debt if they don't know who owes it. I'm surprised they even bought the debt or took over the collection process without the original creditor (BG) disclosing the name of the debter.

    If it does name the person sought, then best to simply respond in writing - up to you how much you decide to tell them, but make sure you state that the person named no longer lives at that address (presuming that's true).
    If you don't, the letters will continue to arrive and your MIL may even have a visit by the collection agency.
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • spiro
    spiro Posts: 6,403 Forumite
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    She could also send a copy of the letter to the Rental department at the council as they may have the details of the occupant for the period in question.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
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