I came home from work one day a couple of weeks ago to find a letter in my pigeon hole from "Wescot Credit Services", see: http://www.wescot.co.uk/. (Note their slogan: "focused on an ethical approach to debt collection"; sick-bag please!) I assumed this was related to the letter I sent to my bank a few months ago, see: http://hpanwo tv.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/my-letter-to-bank.html, but no! Wescot were writing to me on behalf of my old mobile phone provider because of an unpaid bill still due from when I stopped using a mobile phone last year. The outstanding balance is the monstrous grand total of £27.60... plus their "additional charges" of £3.10, naturally. The letter from Wescot was in the form of a demand, giving the impression that I'd already been notified of the debt many times long ago and had had continuously failed to pay up. It contained phrases like: "Important- notice of debt collection", "Do not ignore this letter!" and "To avoid Wescot taking further action...". I was dumbfounded; I had no idea this debt even existed. I don't mean in the sense that a bank loan doesn't exist, see the above link, I meant that anybody even thought, rightly or wrongly, that I owe them any money. I asked a few friends for advice and they told me just to ignore it. I could do that, but I decided to take a different course that is more entertaining. Also I feel angry with them for way I've been treated; I feel violated almost, and want to make that point. So I wrote this in reply:
Dear Interloper,(I start with warnings about taking legal action for harassment).
I am a former customer of Telefonica O2 UK Ltd, but have received no correspondence at all from them regarding any outstanding payments due from me. Therefore I do not understand your involvement in my business with them. I also reject your attempt to charge me administration fees. Please ask your client to contact me personally and directly so that I may settle any financial obligation I might lawfully owe.
It's sad that the normal way to do business nowadays seems to be through bullying and intimidation. A few years ago it would be unthinkable for any creditor to employ a debt collection agency unless they'd already tried asking their customer nicely and the customer had refused to pay, or had neglected to pay over a long period of time. My experience is definitely a general symptom of the times, that there is a drift in the moral Zeitgeist towards greater authoritarianism and thoughtless bureaucracy. A departure from all humanity and individual justice; and a brutal inflexibility and worshipful adherence to the rules in the small print. I was even tempted to sign the letter "Archibald Tuttle" in reference to the film
A couple of days ago I received a reply from Wescot that made little sense, but
it was definitely still commanding me to pay them in very robotic, but
nevertheless no uncertain, terms. This is the reply I've drafted. I'll be
sending it tomorrow: Brazil
I am a former customer of Telefonica O2 UK Ltd and before breaking contact with them in August of last year my record of accurate and timely bill payments with them was always good; I am a reasonable customer and perfectly willing to discuss any balance discrepancies with them in an amicable way. They have made no contact with me at all since I ceased using their services all those months ago; had they done so I would have been perfectly willing to deal with them again in a proper way. Therefore I do not understand your involvement in their business with me. I do not recognize your authority over this case. In my business with them I certainly do not intend to permit the unnecessary interference any third party interlopers whose first contact with me is to send me a letter full of CAPITALS, red print, emboldened text and other forms of intimidating correspondence. I decline to discuss this matter with you any further. Please instruct your client to contact me directly. This is the SECOND time of asking.