Paying debt collection fees?

edited 8 November 2022 at 9:52AM in Debt-free wannabe
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declan16declan16 Forumite
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edited 8 November 2022 at 9:52AM in Debt-free wannabe
Hi all,

I got into some debt with SSE which meant I didn’t pay for two months.

I then called up and paid off the entirety of the debt but discovered that a few days prior SSE had passed my debt onto Advantis, a debt collection agency.

Advantis, therefore, now had ownership of the SSE balance plus a third party fee worth £70. As a result of this, SSE told me I should never have been able to make payment to them as by the time I paid off my SSE balance, the debt has already been passed on.

I thought it unfair that I should pay this additional charge and take a hit on my credit rating when I had already paid them - unaware that just prior to me doing this, they’d sold the debt.

SSE then emailed and wrote to me with a new bill with charges for third party fees. I think I’m doing this, they had taken ownership of the third party fees.

Can I challenge SSE on this? Should I pay them the third party fees, especially when they’ve accepted that the system shouldn’t have taken payment from me but a colleague on the phone did? 

The whole thing just feels really unfair - struggle to pay your bills, finally find a way of doing it and then discover that they’ve transferred the debt and now want you to pay even more.

Replies

  • Jonboy_1984Jonboy_1984 Forumite
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    Taking any emotion out of it:

    Did you communicate with SSE in the two months payment was due or did you just ignore/avoid them?

    If you had advised them of financial position and when they were to be paid, or made partial payments in the interim then it would potentially be unfair. 

    If you ignored or avoided them the process will likely be considered fair, as they would have had no idea if or when payment would be made.
  • declan16declan16 Forumite
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    Taking any emotion out of it:

    Did you communicate with SSE in the two months payment was due or did you just ignore/avoid them?

    If you had advised them of financial position and when they were to be paid, or made partial payments in the interim then it would potentially be unfair. 

    If you ignored or avoided them the process will likely be considered fair, as they would have had no idea if or when payment would be made.

    Hi,

    For a while, there was no contact but the window between the debt accumulating and the debt being passed was very quick. 

    For context, I closed the account as I moved out on the 29th of July. My final direct debit was paid to them on 1st August, following that and unbeknownst to me they passed the debt to the third party near the end of September and I made payment of the remaining balance on 29th September.

    There wasn’t any communication bar a chat which occurred around a week before I made payment, and before the debt passed to the debt collector, where I explained how I wanted to make payment but was struggling. After that discussion and on their advice, I called up a few days later to settle the debt.

    Then I became aware of the third party, told them I’d already settled the debt. SSE told me I shouldn’t have been able to make a payment, but accepted their colleague had advised to and then another willing took the payment over the phone. As a result, as best I understand it, they’ve now taken ownership of the third party fees and want me to pay for them.

    I should’ve contacted them, I get that, but I didn’t anticipate things moving so quickly to a third party - and as you can see, I had settled quite soon in the grand scheme of things.
  • ariarniaariarnia Forumite
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    two months does seem very quick. i dont know enough about debt collection to help but i recon the people on the debt free board will be able to help. i suggest you post your thread there (there very friendly people :))

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/debt-free-wannabe
    Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

    It's amazing how those with a can-do attitude and willingness to 'pitch in and work' get all the luck, isn't it?

    Please consider buying some pet food and giving it to your local food bank collection or animal charity. Animals aren't to blame for the cost of living crisis.
  • declan16declan16 Forumite
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    ariarnia said:
    two months does seem very quick. i dont know enough about debt collection to help but i recon the people on the debt free board will be able to help. i suggest you post your thread there (there very friendly people :))

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/debt-free-wannabe
    Thanks for this.

    I’ll try and work out how to shift my post my thread to that board. 
  • ariarniaariarnia Forumite
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    you could just make a new thread there (cut and paste) or i think if you use the little red flag to 'report' your post one of the options is suggest they move it. 
    Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

    It's amazing how those with a can-do attitude and willingness to 'pitch in and work' get all the luck, isn't it?

    Please consider buying some pet food and giving it to your local food bank collection or animal charity. Animals aren't to blame for the cost of living crisis.
  • declan16declan16 Forumite
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    REPOST FROM ENERGY BOARD:

    Hi all,

    I got into some debt with SSE which meant I didn’t pay for two months.

    I then called up and paid off the entirety of the debt but discovered that a few days prior SSE had passed my debt onto Advantis, a debt collection agency.

    Advantis, therefore, now had ownership of the SSE balance plus a third party fee worth £70. As a result of this, SSE told me I should never have been able to make payment to them as by the time I paid off my SSE balance, the debt has already been passed on.

    I thought it unfair that I should pay this additional charge and take a hit on my credit rating when I had already paid them - unaware that just prior to me doing this, they’d sold the debt.

    SSE then emailed and wrote to me with a new bill with charges for third party fees. I think I’m doing this, they had taken ownership of the third party fees.

    Can I challenge SSE on this? Should I pay them the third party fees, especially when they’ve accepted that the system shouldn’t have taken payment from me but a colleague on the phone did? 

    The whole thing just feels really unfair - struggle to pay your bills, finally find a way of doing it and then discover that they’ve transferred the debt and now want you to pay even more.
  • kimwpkimwp Forumite
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    What dates did you miss the payment on and when did SSE sell the debt?
    Statement of Affairs (SOA) link: https://www.lemonfool.co.uk/financecalculators/soa.php

    For free, non-judgemental debt advice, try: Stepchange or National Debtline. Beware fee charging companies with similar names.
  • declan16declan16 Forumite
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    kimwp said:
    What dates did you miss the payment on and when did SSE sell the debt?

    Cancelled services - 29 July
    Regular direct debit paid - 1 August
    Final bill date - 11 August
    Debt passed - 26 September
    Bill paid in full to SSE - 29 September
    11 October - SSE send new bill with third party fees
  • edited 8 November 2022 at 6:30PM
    sourcratessourcrates Forumite
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    edited 8 November 2022 at 6:30PM
    I don`t think Advantis actually buy debts, they just collect them on behalf of their clients.

    These collection companies are engaged to collect the debt that is owed, now obviously they don`t do this for free, but normally they are paid a percentage by the client company for recovery of the debt, but it appears Advantis do things slightly differently and charge the debtor for the privilege instead.

    So, it`s a similar situation to when you get a parking ticket in a private car park, what they have actually sent you is an invoice for £70, there fee for collection of the debt, which according to your post they didn`t do anyway.

    My response to them would be to write and tell them in no uncertain terms that you do not owe them anything, the fee they are attempting to charge you is nothing to do with you, as the debt was settled in a timely manner, so it is a matter between Advantis and SSE to sort out.

    A few DCA`s try to charge these collection fees which are usually totally dis-proportionate to the actual cost of collection, so SSE are now trying to recover the collection cost from you, basically debt collectors cannot charge you any fees unless the original agreement allows them to do so, so this would never stand up in court, and the fees are basically unenforceable.


    Ex MSE Board Guide.

    More than a third of IVA`s fail....fact.
    Could A Debt Relief Order help you ?
    Never pay a fee for a Debt Management Plan.
    For free non-judgemental debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or CitizensAdviceBureaux.
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