Identity theft

What proof of debt can you ask a collection agency to provide? I received a collection letter for a debt to a company I have never heard of. I am afraid it is identity theft. Can I ask the collection agency to provide a copy of a signed receipt? What recourse do I have if they don’t believe it is not mine?

Split into topic of its own.

Do you owe anything to anybody?

You could bring the letter to your local Gardaí and ask them to investigate whether or not 'tis a pure scam. Also, for a greater range of responses, try asking this question on Askaboutmoney.

moved to Property Accident & Emergency as this could be useful information to others in the future

Property Accident & Emergency :laughing:

please make yourself aware of the rules of this forum: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=24158

Can’t remember where i read it, possibly bbc website, that many debt collection companies just send out blanket letters to everyone, and hope for a hit. Not much more than spamming. If you have no debt, and you’ve never heard of them, and there are no details in the letter, I’d consider ignoring it. Take from that what you will…

If you don’t mind me asking which company is it? what contact details do they give? Is there a company registration number or VAT number on any of the correspondence? What company are they claiming on behalf?

You can also report the matter to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation on (01) 6663777, however, for small amounts they are not likely to follow up, unless there is an investigation already ongoing into the company or individuals.

If you don’t owe the money, send them a letter (registered) telling them

  1. You deny the debt
  2. You request written evidence of the debt

A lot of debt collection companies get hired and are given a huge database by the hiring company to pursue people who may have owed small amounts for ages; the collection co will not usually verify these details. They just send out increasingly threatening letters until most people pay. Asking them to provide evidence of the debt is going to make them do “real work”, at which point they will either just forget about it (if the alleged debt is small) or pass on your request to the company that hired them, in which case you’ll get to see the paperwork.

If you don’t deny the debt, they can get an easy court judgement against you.

Bear in mind it could be a trading name of someone you dealt with years ago. My wife got all sorts of weird collection requests (including an SMS) from an English company that turned out to be because of a €50 unpaid ESB bill on a rented property. Took a while to figure that out though.

This all assumes the collection co is acting in good faith of course.

I don’t think they can get an easy court judgement against you - it involves a civil action and the court case will require them to provide proof of the claim

The likes of Dun and Bradstreet are debt collectors who fire out threatening letters every month but unless the amount is significant there is no point in companies going to court as the costs may exceed the debt (not to mention the hassle).

do as above and also say you are going to charge them €x per hour from now on for any further correspondence they send to you that you have to deal with and that sending you further correspondence signifies acceptance of these terms and conditions

If you have not responded to their letters you’re probably not going to defend a court action either. If you don’t show up, all they need is a signed affidavit from the creditor asserting that you owe them X.