Why have you contacted me?

We are a debt collection agency, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and our clients employ us to collect money on their behalf. They will have contacted you before about this account and they have passed it to us as, according to their records, it has not yet been paid.

CARS is now managing my account. What should I do now?

We need you to contact us in order for us to start helping you to manage your account.

Our aim is to provide a contact method that works for you. Therefore if you prefer to speak to one of our customer advisors, please call us on 0333 136 3349. Alternatively you can make a payment online using your CARS customer reference number. You can also contact us by email on admin@carsuk.org

What will happen if I ignore your attempts to contact me?

If you continue to ignore our attempts to contact you, we will continue these attempts until we return the account to our client. The process may then start again with another debt collection agency, the client could sell the account to another company, or they may decide to take court action against you, depending on the status and balance of the account.

What if I can’t afford to repay you?

Please contact us on 0333 136 3349 to discuss your situation. We will assess your personal situation and will attempt to come to an arrangement to help you manage this account.

If you have multiple accounts and are having difficulty repaying them, we would advise you to contact a source of free debt advice such as StepChange (www.stepchange.org, 0800 138 1111) who will be able to help. But please also tell us that you’re doing this, as we will stop attempting to contact you until we hear from them.

The balance on my letter isn’t correct. What should I do?

If you think that the balance on your account is incorrect, please call us on 0333 136 3349. If an error has been made, we will help you to resolve it.

How do I set up a repayment plan?

We want to work with you to enable you to clear your account in a manner which suits your own individual circumstances.

If you are unable to settle your account in full at this time and wish to pay over a longer period, you can do this by calling us on 0333 136 3349 to discuss your account and arrange this. We may have to ask you about your income and expenditure to ensure that you can afford to make and maintain these monthly repayments.

What happens if I do not keep up my repayments?

If you do not stick to your repayment arrangement, we will attempt to contact you again to find out why and come to an alternative arrangement.

How do I find out what personal information CARS is holding on me? Make a Subject Access Request (SAR)

Under the Data Protection Act you have the right to obtain a copy of the personal information that CARS holds on file specifically for you and your account(s). This is known as The Right of Access.

 

You can request this information verbally or in writing and usually this will be free of charge. Where we receive subsequent requests for the same personal data we will charge a reasonable fee based on the administrative cost.  

I am still receiving mail despite advising the agencies that the person that they are looking for does not live at my address! Why?

The Credit Services Association gives this advice:

“The chances are that the individual in question is being searched for by a number of different companies. These companies will be using the same tracing tools as the agency that you have notified, but if there is a delay in updating records, further correspondence could be sent. Whilst it is appreciated that making contact with the various agencies is frustrating, it is essential in ensuring that all records are updated. This will lead to your address being removed and will prevent any future correspondence.

There may also be a ‘link’ attached to your address with the Credit Reference Agencies. These ‘links’ could have resulted from fraudulent activity, or a link between a previous address you may have resided in and that of the trace subject.

The Government recommends that you view your credit file regularly in order to ensure that all of the information on there is accurate and up to date. By checking your credit file you will be able to see if there have been any wrong links attached to you and have them removed. This will also prevent any future contact by account collection agencies.”

Credit Services Association – Consumer Advice

Who can I complain to about being the victim of a mis-trace?

If you feel that you have been subject to a mis-trace, then please contact one of our customer advisors on 0333 136 3349; we will carry out further investigations to establish whether the information that we hold on you is correct.

In addition you can also raise your concerns with one of the following organisations:

Credit Services Association (CSA)

Visit the CSA website at www.csaconsumers-uk.com and download a Complaint Form. Alternatively you can call 0191 2865656 or write to

Credit Services Association

Wingrove House, Ponteland Road

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE5 3AJ

Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

The ICO oversee the Data Protection Act 1998 and will be able to investigate a complaint relating to your personal data. You can contact the ICO on 08456 306060 or write to:

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House, Water Lane

Wilmslow, Cheshire

SK9 5AF

I have been mis-traced several times. What can I do?

If you have been contacted several times from different collection agencies regarding outstanding accounts, then this means that there may be an incorrect link in the system. All debt collection agencies use credit reference agencies if they need to trace customers. Therefore we would suggest that you contact one of these agencies to check the information that they are holding on you.

How do you use my personal details?

The manner in which we process your personal information is stated within our Privacy Policy.

This isn’t my account. What should I do?

Please contact one of our customer advisors on 0333 136 3349. We will be able to investigate and help you resolve this.

My accounts are being managed by a Debt Management Company, what should I do?

If your accounts are being handled by a Debt Management Company or Debt counsellor, including StepChange or the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, then please pass a copy of our letter on to them and we will be happy to work directly with them. We would appreciate it if you could also contact us with the details, so that we can alter your records accordingly and stop contacting you until we have heard from them.

I am receiving correspondence for someone who does not live at my address, what can I do?

The Credit Services Association gives this advice:

“If the correspondence is addressed to an individual that does not reside at your address you should mark the envelope “not known at this address” and return it back in the post. Royal Mail will then make sure that any mail marked “not known at this address” will be returned to the sender. The sender will then update their records accordingly and take the appropriate action.

If you are able to establish who the correspondence has been sent by, it would be very helpful to make contact with the agency. You will be asked a number of questions such as your name and date of birth. These questions are only used to confirm identity. Once it is clear that the identity cannot be confirmed, the agency will be able to suppress your details from their systems and update their client’s records, which will prevent any further contact from being made by other agencies looking for the same individual.

Unfortunately, in the case of tracing for debt collection purposes, some customers will ‘pretend’ that they are not resident and return mail. This leads to further trace activity and can create a future mis-trace scenario. It is therefore recommended that in a mis-trace situation you be as helpful as possible”.

Credit Services Association – Consumer Advice

Please note that this will have no effect on you – any credit records will be linked to the individual that the letter is addressed to and not to you. There is no such thing as an address being “blacklisted” or similar.

How has my address been linked with an individual that has never lived at my address?

The Credit Services Association gives this advice:

“There are a number of reasons for this. Credit Reference Agencies collate data from creditors (including banks, credit card companies, utility companies, insurance firms etc). The data that is input into these vast databases can sometimes be corrupted or inaccurate data entered. For example, a date of birth can be entered incorrectly, or initials mistyped.

There may also, however, be a more sinister explanation if a person has committed an act of fraud. A person may use the name and address of another individual to gain credit with no intention of repaying the money.

The information collated at the time the credit was taken out will be input into the Credit Reference Agencies in the usual way, however, it of course is not correct. When the creditor attempts to recover the amount, they will use the services of the Credit Reference Agencies and contact will be made via their address link service”.

Credit Services Association – Consumer Advice

Will my address be blacklisted because of this account?

The Credit Services Association gives this advice:

“No. A property is not blacklisted. The individual taking out the credit will have data attached to their personal credit file if they default on their credit agreement. However, if this is due to fraudulent activity, you will need to check your own credit file to make sure that any associated links are removed. To do this, please contact the Credit Reference Agencies”.

Credit Services Association – Consumer Advice

How do I make a complaint?

CARS aims to provide customers with an excellent experience, but we recognize that sometimes things can go wrong. In the event that we have made a mistake, or we could have done something better, we will do our best to put this right for you.

We have a page on this website which tells you what to do [Click here for Complaints].

Who else can I complain to?

If, after a final response from us, you do not feel that your complaint has been dealt with satisfactorily, then you may contact the following organizations:

Credit Services Association (CSA)

This is an industry trade body which operates a Code of Practice. CARS is a member of the CSA and is required to abide by the CSA’s Code of Practice. You can contact the CSA in relation to your complaint by writing to them at:

Credit Services Association

Wingrove House

2nd Floor

Ponteland Road

Newcastle Upon Tyne NE5 3AJ

Telephone: 0191 286 5656

Financial Ombudsman Service

This is an independent and impartial dispute resolution organisation. Please note that the Financial Ombudsman Service will only consider your complaint if you have tried to resolve it with us first. You can contact them by writing to:

Financial Ombudsman Service

South Quay Plaza

183 Marsh Wall

London E14 9SR

Telephone: 0300 1239 123

www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

 

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