URGENT: AIBU to panic?

(61 Posts)
PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:13:38


I never knew that a mobile phone contract could make me so anxious.

I had a sim only contract with o2. Last year I went on holiday for about 4 months and I didn't cancel the contract because direct debit payments had been set and I was happy to pay even if I wasn't using the phone just to keep my contract going.

It seems that there was an issue with my account and I was they were unable to take the payment.

When I returned and tried to re-activate my account, they refused and said that my details were with a "third party" and since they had already disconnected my number, they didn't want the payment.

Fair enough! I was busy with other things and I simply switched to a new provider and never thought about it again.

Today I checked back into my o2 online account (because I wanted to see what my old number used to be) and I saw that I still have a payment outstanding. confused

I am not comfortable with this because it just looks really bad.

My DH has now terrified me by telling me the third party was likely a debt collection agency and this stuff is now on my credit report.

My question is, if it was a debt collection agency, why haven't they contacted me in all these months?? Why haven't o2 contacted me??

And is this really serious or am I worrying over nothing?

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:14:15

Sorry about the slightly incoherent language but I really am quite stressed!

Ajaney Thu 29-Aug-13 23:16:19

Do an online credit check with creditexpert.co.uk or similar.

Can O2 not tell you who the third party is?

Blissx Thu 29-Aug-13 23:18:04

Why don't you contact them? You can also check your credit rating with the three main companies if you are worried about debt collection but, seriously, you shouldn't be panicking on third hand information from your DH. Calm down, talk to the phone company and take it from there. Remember, everything can be fixed.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:18:14

I have moved since this happened and my number has also changed.

I am concerned that some debt collection agency has been trying to contact me for a year and I have been unaware.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:19:01

I am switching employers soon and I worry that a negative credit report with debt having gone into collection will ruin my chances.

AlyssB Thu 29-Aug-13 23:19:33

YANBU, but if I were you I would ring O2 again and try and get to the bottom of it. The person you spoke to before didn't sound very helpful, just ask the to explain what happened, what the consequences are etc. maybe if they are adamant they've passed it to a 3rd party ask for their details and speak to them. If the 3rd party have bought the debt rather than been employed to retrieve it it could be that if it is a small amount it's not worth chasing, could cost more than its worth.

Tuon Thu 29-Aug-13 23:19:37

It's cheaper for O2 to just write if off and sell it to a debt collection agency than chase you for it.

Debt collection agencies buy accounts buy the thousand. They do statistical analysis to see who is most likely to pay and what they will respond to. You may not be contacted for some time.

O2 should be able to tell you who it was passed to. Failing that as O2 are crap at customer service, try searching your credit file. If there is a default it will give a company name. You can then contact them and pay it off.

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Aug-13 23:21:42

Well it sounds like O2 have sold your debt on. I don't know why they haven't been in contact, maybe you slipped through the system or missed some post or something when you were away.

But it's honestly not worth panicking over. Get a credit check and find out if it's on your record. If yes you should also be able to find out who now owes the debt. If no, write - yes, a letter - to O2 and sort it out.

But honestly it's not something to worry about. Equally you should sort it out and not forget about it again.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:22:30

I tried searching my credit file but something went wrong with the registration and I have to wait for tomorrow morning and speak to their customer services before I can see anything. This in itself is ringing alarm bells. Grr.

Write a letter to O2 asking them for all details regarding your old account and any outstanding balances on that account, make sure you send it recorded delivery, so you have a record and also state in the letter that you would like a reply to this within a set time period. Keep a copy of the letter.

Also get records of your payments to that account.

If a third party, debt collectors, contact you whilst waiting for a reply from 02, tell them that you are in dispute with the owed amount, you have contacted O2 and are waiting for a reply from them, note this contact. The debt agency should put a hold on the claim long enough for you to get a reply.

Keep a record of all correspondence, note down everything, including what was agree over the phone, who you spoke to and the date and time of the calls. All letters print out and send by a secured method of posting.


PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:23:56

Will something like this cost me a job?

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Aug-13 23:25:25

Are you on the electoral roll at your new address? If so, you would know if you had any ccjs which is all most employers are interested in. Even then it's often a self-declaration rather than something which is actively checked, but then it has been a while since I worked in the financial sector so I could be out of date.

Either way, no point in panicking.

Tuon Thu 29-Aug-13 23:25:26

What's industry is the job in?

If you're in banking it could be an issue. I know Northern Rock, Barclays and Santander have issue with it.

LazyMonkeyButler Thu 29-Aug-13 23:25:36

That's urgent in your world? Wow.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:25:51

I will call o2 again and ask who the third party is. If they don't tell me, then I will find out when I check my credit file anyway.

It was an honest mistake sad I never knew something like this could turn into a big deal.

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Aug-13 23:26:21

What sector is the potential new job?

Don't phone them, write a letter, you need hard evidence that you are trying to sort this out. Phone call recordings frequently 'get lost' so you can't use them as proof.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:28:10

If I had a CCJ against me, wouldn't I know confused

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:28:43

That is the disaster- it's a job in finance.

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Aug-13 23:30:10

Again, are you on the electoral roll at new address? Because then its much more likely you would know if you had a ccj.

MollyBerry Thu 29-Aug-13 23:33:16

What company did you use to check your credit report as there is more than 1 credit agency. https://www.noddle.co.uk/ is free if that's not the one you tried already.

You wouldn't know if you had a CCJ against you if they couldn't find your address because you'd moved.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:33:31

No, I don't think I am.

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:34:38

Is it harmful in any way for me to check my own credit history?

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:40:40

I meant does it count against the credit rating to check your own credit score?

MollyBerry Thu 29-Aug-13 23:41:53


AlyssB Thu 29-Aug-13 23:43:57

I used to work in HR for a financial body and for one default on a small amount you'd be fine. If this is the only issue you'll be fine. If there is anything else however it could change the decision & also dependant on what role you are doing.

from a quick google, checking your own credit score has no effect on the score.


teacherandguideleader Thu 29-Aug-13 23:46:03

I had a debt a few years ago that I didn't know I had (long story short - ex-bf said he'd paid £10 into my account - I trusted him but he hadn't so a payment bounced. It was an account I didn't use so I didn't check - the company had my address details wrong and only bothered to track me down when the debt had grown to over 1.5K in interest fees).

When I found out about it they offered me a variety of repayment schemes - the quickest one had the least consequence on my credit rating. I had to go with the middle one, but even then I didn't end up with a CCJ.

craftycottontail Thu 29-Aug-13 23:47:24

No not harmful - go to experian and you can get it for free if you cancel your account within a month (put a reminder in your diary)

kali110 Thu 29-Aug-13 23:51:14

If its gone to a debt collection it will affect your file. I worked within banking sector and anything like that would have been a straight no no from any employer in that area. As you've changed address and didn't contact them within those few months then when they sold your debt on the collection agency may not have your new contact details so possible they have been trying to contact you

PeaceAndHope Thu 29-Aug-13 23:57:21


WilsonFrickett Fri 30-Aug-13 00:01:11

Tbh the biggest issue will be you not being on the electoral roll. I'd get that sorted tomorrow.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 30-Aug-13 00:05:10

Yanbu. I've just received a CCJ for the woman who owned our house before we bought it. This is despite me returning the claim form to court marked 'not known at this address'. They made fuck all attempt to locate her and proceeded anyway. The judgment is for less than £150. I will be serious fucked off if bailiffs come round looking for her.
Contact your mobile provider again and insist on sorting it out. These things do not go away.

Feckbloodypets Fri 30-Aug-13 00:10:19

Credit check companies must have changed. Used to work in the banking industry then went to work in the public sector dealing with financials up until last year and at that time every time your credit rating is checked it is recorded and can effect your rating. This is because there is no such thing as a credit rating, different companies check your credit history and apply their own logic to the information that is available and the more checks some of these companies see the more they think you have applied for things like credit cards and may have been turned down.

kali110 Fri 30-Aug-13 00:20:21

If it has gone to debt agency then it will have allready affected your credit. If your phone company writ off the debt and passed it to the agency then it can stay on credit file for up to 7 years. Find out who has taken your debt on as some if cant find you will sell your debt onto another agency.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 00:34:28


I think it depends on who checks the rating. If a lender checks it repeatedly, it goes down. But everywhere I've read, it says that anyone can check their own report as many times as they want.

MollyBerry Fri 30-Aug-13 03:11:17


If you apply for something, yes, it does affect your rating but if you are just personally checking it then that doesn't count as a credit search.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 05:19:32

I don't know. Some posters are saying that they know of people who were given a ccj without realising it because they moved.

Others are telling me that debt collectors will find any way to track someone down and that they can't really file ccj unless they can prove that they're being deliberately ignored.

Besides, they still have my email and social media sites? I wonder why they have't gotten in touch over so many months?

It's an honest mistake. As the others said, contact O2, check your credit files, contact the debt company and pay it off. Are you waiting for a job offer right now? Maybe you can get this sorted with a note on your file to say you moved and so weren't aware of the debt before you apply?

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 09:10:47

^That's what I am trying to do right now.

I am just crossing my fingers that there isn't a county court judgement.

kali110 Fri 30-Aug-13 11:26:45

Do you need a completely clean file or just no defaults or ccjs? If a completely clean then you may need to speak to your employer and explain as even if they offer and then do a credit check they may let you go if your file isnt clean.

kali110 Fri 30-Aug-13 11:34:26

Plus courts have to send forms to state that a creditor is applying for a ccj against you however if they dont reach you then sometimes they can be issued in your absence.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 11:59:55


Contacted debt collection agency and paid off debt. They said it would show on my credit report as "debt satisfied" in a few days.

I asked and they said they hadn't been to court, or tried to obtain a ccj against me. Can I take their word for it?

I reckon that if the matter had been reported to a court, I couldn't have just paid them over the phone and they would have asked me to go via the court to make the payment.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 12:01:47


Since it isn't a very fancy post, they haven't given me any details about it.

I asked around and it appears that a ccj or bankruptcy would be a deal breaker, but anything other than that is usually OK.

Since it was a very small amount which has now been paid off, I reckon that it should be OK as long as they haven't been to court without my knowledge.

kali110 Fri 30-Aug-13 12:26:04

I hope so for you op its a terrible thing x

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 12:29:08

Do you reckon I can take their word for the fact that they haven't been to court? How would I double check if they are being truthful?

MollyBerry Fri 30-Aug-13 12:35:15

Check your credit report

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 12:37:35

I can't access it right now, that's why I can't be sure.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 13:23:21

I've been told there's a website where you can pay a small fee to check court records.

Is it advisable for me to check my own records? I don't know if a self check counts against someone...

MollyBerry Fri 30-Aug-13 13:31:01

Can you not use any of these?
Equifax's Credit Report
Experian's Credit Expert
Callcredit's Noddle

Have a read of this too as it's useful explaining about the credit rating

Also, as a quote from that page
What banks (or in this case it'll be your employer when they check your file) don't know about you...

"Whether you've checked your file. While this info is held, and appears when you check your file, it isn't passed on to lenders and doesn't play any role in any assessment of you."

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 13:42:24

Actually, for complicated reasons, I can't access my credit reports yet.

I am currently wondering whether or not to access the online court records.

SarahBumBarer Fri 30-Aug-13 13:54:34

It is extremely UNLIKELY that this will have affected your credit reference/rating certainly the extent of a CCJ being recorded against you. DCAs spout a lot of NONSENSE about CCJ's and credit ratings because they know that people are terrified of them and many DCAs breach OFT guidlines as to what they are allowed to say about CCJs. A lot of DCA phone staff also do not understand the difference in rules and laws regarding credit and non-credit agreements.

Mobile phone contracts are not usually credit agreements. A default on paying a credit agreement (eg a credit card or store card) has an immediate effect on your file in that it shows as a default. This is not the case with a non credit contract such as (most kinds of ) a mobile phone contracts or gym membership etc. The only way in which a default on a mobile phone would affect your credit rating usually is if a CCJ has been issued against you AND you have failed to pay the judgment within a certain period. A judgment of itself does not affect your credit rating (otherwise no-one would ever dare go to court) it is the action of failing to pay it which affects you (since this is effecticely contempt of court).

DCA's are highly unlikely to have gone to court so quickly with a mobile phone debt. They generally will not look to go to court until they are up against the 6 year limitation period. They are very likely to spend a reasonable degree of time attempting to contact you/trace you first and sending letters to randomes with the same surname as you. Unless you have made specific effort to be untracable (not transferred debts/bank accounts to your new address/not registered on the electroal roll/not left forwarding addresses) they are unlikely to have found it too difficult to do this and so you would almost certainly have heard from them in the event that they were trying to get in touch with you. The Courts would not react terribly well to DCA's who rushed to court without being able to demonstrate that they had made a reasonable level of effort to contact the debtor. Certainly if there is sufficient information to add a CCJ to your credit file after such a short period there should be sufficient information to contact you and make you aware of proceedings against you.

A credit check on your OWN account does not count against you. Nor does checks by people like insurance companies etc etc who are checking for identity purposes and non-credit related reasons. Checks which are for credit purposes are recorded differently on your account and the effect on your credit search differs depending upon whether credit is then offered or not (in which case the assumption is that it has been declined).

I personally would not have paid the DCA a penny in the way in which you did. If at all possible I would write to them now (DO NOT sign the letter - DO NOT give these guys a copy of your signature) asking for them to acknowledge receipt and that it is in full and final settlement all claims against you. Do you know wether the amount you paid included interest/penalties/tracing fees? If not ask for them to itemise the receipt.

SarahBumBarer Fri 30-Aug-13 14:04:12

There is no reason not to check the register of judgements. You can check anyone on this register not just yourself. If it affected your credit rating there would be nothing to stop people maliciously doing check after check on someone they did not like.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 14:10:06


Thanks so much! Your posts are so very reassuring!

I have sent you a message with some details that i do not want to post here.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 15:38:22

OK. Now I want to be really sure of whatever I do.

I had signed up for a gadget insurance plan a month back and I have just received the contract.

There is threatening stuff in the contract about possible ccjs if I don't pay on time.

I don't want to risk monthly payments again, at least not on something like insurance. So I have opted to pay the full amount up-front.

The question is- can signing up for a new credit agreement so soon after paying off one debt somehow land me in trouble?

Praceandhope, you sound way too wound up in relation to this. It is a minor thing, it really is. Every credit agreement you sign will threaten ccjsif not paid. Every time. The phone contract your just signed up to will be the same. Mortgage, car finance, credit cards, store cards, car insurance if you pay monthly.

Paying it off in one lump sum will not go against you, but neither will paying it every month.

As for your job, most companies do credit checks now. Not everyone they employ will have a clean report.

Please please calm down about this, it really isn't helpful.

I had an old credit card debt on my record that had gone to a DCA, I'd moved thinking I'd cleared the CC and had chopped it up as it had a crap interest rate so didn't bother updating my address. There was one more payment that had been slow going through so there was a further bill that I didn't get.
I sorted it out eventually with a DCA and it didn't stop me getting a very large mortgage agreed about 4 months later.

Please stop worrying a reletively small satisfied debt does not destroy your credit history.

If you have an outstanding unpaid debt then in theory it could eventually end up at the county court but that is expensive and time consuming so its a last resort,

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 16:04:49

I think I am suffering from a bad case of too much googling. Some of the stories out there are just horrifying! It doesn't help that I am so uneducated on this subject.

Sallyingforth Fri 30-Aug-13 17:47:13

No harm to check yourself. You can do it as often as you wish.
The phone company must tell you who they gave your details to. Mention the Data Protection Act.

PeaceAndHope Fri 30-Aug-13 19:13:52

Thanks very much everyone!

I feel better now that I have paid it off, and hopefully it can be updated on my credit report soon.

If anyone thinks of any new advice or suggestions, then please let me know,

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