When reading this blog or the Consumer Action Group forums, you may see advice suggesting sending a “CCA request”. This is a letter to a creditor or debt collection agency asking them for a copy of an executed credit agreement, without which a debt may be unenforceable. In simple terms, you are asking the Creditor/Collector to prove that they have the legal right to demand payment from you.
Sending a CCA request effectively puts the account into dispute, during which time the creditor may not take any further collection action. Without a valid agreement, the debt is unenforcable without a court order.
However, it is important to reaslise that lack of response to a CCA request may render a debt unenforcable, it does not cease to exist. This process can not, and should not, be used to evade debts.
When to send a CCA request
You should send a CCA request when you require more information about your account, or when you genuinely dispute a creditor’s right to collect an alleged debt. The process should not be used for the purpose of debt avoidance.
Please be aware that there are certain types of debt which will not be covered by the advice here, such as utility bills, bank overdrafts, CCJs and court fines.
This template is adapted from “Letter N” on the Consumer Action Group forum. You can amend it as necessary.
Re:- Account/Reference Number 1234567890
I do not acknowledge any debt to your company or its clients. (delete this line if you are not disputing the debt)
With reference to the above agreement, I require you to supply the following documentation before I will correspond with you further on this matter.
1. You must supply me with a true copy of the alleged agreement you refer to. This is my right under your obligation to supply a copy of the agreement, under the legislation contained within s.78 (1) Consumer Credit Act 1974.
2. A full statement of account.
3. A signed true copy of the deed of assignment of the above referenced agreement that you allege exists.
4. A copy of any other documents referred to in the agreement.
I understand that under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Sections 77-79), I are entitled to receive a copy of our credit agreement on request. I enclose a payment of £1.00 which represents the fee payable under the Consumer Credit Act. Please note that under no circumstances should this payment be set aside any alleged debt. If you are unable to supply the documentation requested, this fee should be returned.
I understand a copy of our credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days.
I understand that under the Consumer Credit Act creditors are unable to enforce an agreement if they fail to comply with a request for a copy of the agreement under these sections of the Act.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr A N Other
It is recommended that you do not sign the letter with your usual signature, as there have been rumours of creditors “cutting and pasting” it onto their own paperwork. You could use a handwriting font in your word processor, or sign over a thick line which would make it obvious if your signature was tampered with.It is strongly recommended that you send the request by Recorded Delivery, which for a standard size and weight letter costs £1.04. The delivery receipt should be kept with the copy of the letter. Delivery confirmation is available using the ‘Track and Trace’ feature on the Royal Mail website home page. It is best to print this off when it becomes available and also keep it with the copy of the letter.
The £1 fee is best paid with a crossed postal order. The postal order receipt should also be kept with the copy of the letter.
The Consumer Credit Act states that a creditor must send the agreement within 12 working days of receiving your request, otherwise they are in default. You should count the day of receipt as day zero, and not include weekends or bank holidays in your calculations.
If the default continues for a further month, the Act states that the Creditor commits an offence.
Should the creditor attempt to take further action after this time, it is recommended that you contact Trading Standards or Citizens Advice. You have six months from the date of the offence in which to report the breach.
Is the agreement enforcable?
When you receive your reply, you should check carefully that it is an enforceable agreement before making an offer of repayment. You may find the threads listed in the external links section useful.
If you have access to a scanner you can scan the reply and – taking care to obliterate ALL personal details – upload it to one of the many free photo sharing websites such as http://www.photobucket.co.uk . Post a link to the image on the Consumer Action Group debt forum, and members will give their advice.
Please be aware that any advice given on the forum is not legally binding, and if you are in any doubt you should seek the advice of an organisation such as Trading Standards or the Citizens Advice Bureau.