Sep 3 2012

Phone blockade of the Lowell Group

Following our campaign to request that the Lowell Group reconsider their claim against James Coll, the company is still insisting that Mr Coll pay the debt and has passed his file on to its legal arm, Hampton’s Legal.

The Lowell Group are persisting in their threats against a member of our community who has always claimed he had no knowledge of the original contract. We think Mr Coll should be allowed to focus on his energies on the cancer treatment he has been undergoing for the past three years instead. We request that you take part in a phone blockade against the company in an effort to show the strength of our feelings.

Please call the Lowell Group on Monday 10th September between 10am and 2pm. You can contact them on 0113 308 6000, 0113 308 6035 or 0113 308 6345 and ask them to stop pursuing James Coll’s debt. The relevant account number is 94884193. We ask that callers are polite at all times. Remember, entering 141 before the number will conceal your number if you wish to remain anonymous.

The Lowell Group are no strangers to controversy having been the subject of a Watchdog investigation into their pursuit of fictional debts in the past. The Struggle Against Financial Exploitation website also has some interesting information about some of the unscrupulous methods employed by the company.

We will not be intimidated!

The following is information that you might find useful to talk about during your call to the Lowell Group:

A few months ago Nottingham Solidarity Network were contacted by James Coll. He informed us that he had been receiving demand letters from the  Lowell Group, a debt recovery company based in Leeds. They had bought a debt from Shop Direct and were now intent on collecting the money from  Mr Coll. The account had not been opened up or used by Mr Coll, he had not signed for anything, and was both unwilling and unable to pay the  debt. The Lowell Group are now threatening litigation in order to collect the debt.

Mr Coll’s account number is 94884193. This is a debt purchased from Marshall Ward and their company Shop Direct. Mr Coll is being threatened with litigation due to an outstanding balance of £1541.27. He has been in touch with Lowell via Aid Uk, who informed them that the original Shop Direct account was not opened up by Mr Coll, but a third party. Lowell know of this third party, and they have been in contact with them, but as they were unable to work out a payment plan they have continued to direct their focus on Mr Coll.

The account was not opened with his blessing nor knowledge. He did not sign for the account nor knew about it until the letters that Lowell have sent to him. Furthermore, Mr Coll does not have the means nor the inclination to pay for a debt built by a third party, and believes that Lowell are unfairly targeting him at a time in his life where he needs to be focusing all his energies on his recovery.

We believe that Lowell would be gravely mistaken in pursuing further action against a man who is seriously ill and who had nothing to do with the account to begin with. We are members of Mr.Coll’s community, and will be supporting him throughout this process.

Nottingham Solidarity Network
nsn AT riseup.net
07423631681


Jun 5 2012

A new fight- James vs the Lowell Group

A few weeks ago Nottingham Solidarity Network were contacted by James Coll. He informed us that he had been receiving demand letters from the Lowell Group, a debt recovery company based in Leeds. They had bought a debt from Shop Direct and were now intent on collecting the money from Mr.Coll. The account had not been opened up or used by Mr. Coll, he had not signed for anything, and was both unwilling and unable to pay the debt. The Lowell Group are now threatening litigation in order to collect the debt. Nottingham Solidarity Network and James Coll ask you to email the Lowell Group the letter drafted below their email is post@lowellgroup.co.uk or write a letter to them at PO Box 172, Leeds, LS11 9WS. The letter is addressed to Mr. Andrew Bartle the company director of the Lowell Group and the signatory of the demand letters.

To Andrew Bartle,

We are writing to you regarding account number 94884193. As you know this is a debt purchased from Marshall Ward and their company Shop Direct. At present you are sending Mr. Coll letters threatening litigation due to an outstanding balance of £1541.27. We ask you to desist with these threats immediately. Mr.Coll has been in touch with you via Aid Uk, who informed you that the original Shop Direct account was not opened up by Mr. Coll, but a third party. We believe that you know of this third party, and that you have been in contact with them, but as they were unable to work out a payment plan you have continued to direct your focus on Mr.Coll. Mr. Coll was in hospital at the time undergoing treatment for cancer, treatment which is still ongoing. The account was not opened with his blessing nor knowledge. He did not sign for the account nor knew about it until the letters that you have sent to him. Furthermore, Mr. Coll does not have the means nor the inclination to pay for a debt built by a third party, and believes that you are unfairly targeting him at a time in his life where he needs to be focusing all his energies on dealing with the cancer treatment his doctors are providing him with.

We believe that you would be gravely mistaken to pursue further action against a man who is seriously ill and who had nothing to do with the account to begin with. We are members of Mr.Coll’s community, and will be supporting him throughout this process. If this matter is not dropped we will take further action. We hope that this letter finds open ears and sensible minds.

Sincerely James Coll and Nottingham Solidarity Network


Apr 20 2012

Action update

Over the past 3 weeks Nottingham Solidarity Network has been taking actions against a dodgy landlord, Mr Shakil, also known as “Shak”. The landlord collected rent from tenants whilst at the same time not paying the mortgage. This caused them to be evicted upon repossession of the house. The landlord also neglected to pay the £700 deposit into a deposit protection scheme as required by law, nor maintain the property.

We see this level of mendacity as stemming from the control landlords and bosses have over our lives and thus we created Nottingham Solidarity Network in order to fight back. J contacted us and together we have come up with ways of collectivizing the dispute in order to apply pressure to get the money back he’s owed.

On Saturday March 31st twenty or so friends of NSN met in Carrington to await a sighting of Mr Shakil in his new workplace; Nad’s takeaway owned by his brother in law. Once we spotted him getting into his car on the other side of the road we briskly made our way towards him. Whilst the group surrounded the car, J knocked on the open window and handed over a letter demanding the return of the £700. Mr Shakil accepted the letter, mumbled several unconvincing excuses and drove off at speed.

This action had the benefit of showed Mr Shakil that this was no longer merely an issue between ex-tenants and ex-landlord, but had become a collective action. The relationship between landlord and tenant is one which has an intrinsically uneven power balance, with the landlord the owner of the property collecting money from the tenant who has no other option but to pay or be made homeless. When the tenant pays rent, but is still evicted from their home this is an abuse of this power.

In order to redistribute this power we can respond collectively, ensuring that landlords and bosses in Nottingham are aware that their actions will elicit a response.

Having received no response from Mr Shakil we decided to again target his workplace in order to remind him that action will continue to escalate until the deposit is returned. To this end Nottingham Solidarity Network called out for as many people as possible to contact the takeaway from 6pm to 10pm on Saturday the 14th April via phone, and politely ask for the circumstances to be redressed.

Following a call out via numerous organisations, social media platforms and websites the subsequent phone blockade was hugely effective. We’d like to thank everyone who showed solidarity by taking the time to get involved.Scores of people reported ringing in, with calls frequently unable to connect and going to voicemail. Staff reactions included denying he worked there, resignation, intimidation and threats of violence.

Obviously perturbed, reports suggest that a member of staff called the police at around 7pm and some callers who weren’t shielding their number were then contacted from a local police station and told to desist or face repercussions. Despite these questionable attempts at intimidation the call out had already gone out and people continued to ring throughout the evening. There have been no further attempts to contact callers by the police that we know of, but if anyone has had contact please let us know.

Reports from takeaway staff indicated that takings were down 50% on a normal Saturday, one of the two busiest days of the week for them. This is a reminder of our power when we act collectively.

These actions have obviously caused Shak discomfort as he took this occasion to make his first proactive engagement with the NSN. Unfortunately this was to contact a fellow ex tenant unconnected to NSN and make a series of threats against his person, whilst simultaneously admitting fault and expressing a desire to pay if he had the means. He also contacted the NSN phone. We refuse to be intimidated and hope this marks the beginning of Mr Shakil’s engagement with us.

NSN will continue to take actions until Mr Shakil begins act in good faith and takes steps to begin to repay the outstanding deposit.


Apr 9 2012

Phone blockade of Nad’s takeaway

Nottingham Solidarity Network call for a phone blockade of Nad’s takeaway
on Saturday the 14th April between 6pm and 10pm.

Following the delivery of the demand letter to unscrupulous landlord Mr. Shakil on the 31st of March (see previous posts for more info on the case), the £700 deposit still hasn’t been returned to J and his housemates. Having
assured Mr. Shakil that we would continue in our efforts to collect the
deposit, we are calling for a phone blockade of his current workplace –
Nad’s takeaway owned by his brother in law – on 0115 9100555.  When you
call we ask:

– That you suggest politely that Mr. Shakil be encouraged to return J and
his housemates deposit,

– That no animosity is felt towards Nads. We are merely trying to
collectively respond to Mr. Shakil’s treatment of his former tenants.

– That Mr. Shakil continued to collect rent from J and his housemates, but
did not use the rent to pay the mortgage on the house, leading to it’s
repossession and the tenants eviction.

– Mr. Shakil should have placed the £700 in a tenancy deposit scheme. He
illegally neglected to do so.

– Various attempts have been made to contact Mr. Shakil and he has been
politely asked to pay back the deposit. These requests have been ignored.

– J and his housemates are not alone in this, Nottingham Solidarity
Network will continue to contact Mr. Shakil until the deposit is returned.


Mar 9 2012

Demand delivery to Mr Shakil

On Thursday March 8th NSN took part in its first action. 18 people assembled in town at lunchtime hoping to collectively present a demand from an ex tenant to his landlord for the full repayment of a wrongfully withheld deposit. This was to take place at his place of work, e.on customer services. The tenant entered the building and asked at reception for the landlord to come down to the lobby, with the plan being the rest of the group would enter to support the hand over the letter. Unfortunately during this exchange security became aware of the supporters positioned down the street and proceeded to close the entrance to the building.

During we were informed that the landlord no longer worked there as of 3 weeks ago. Due to him being an agency worker they did not have contact details for him and were unsure of the legality of informing us which agency supplied him. They have promised to forward on the demand letter to the landlord via this agency.

NSN will be meeting again on Thursday to decide what further courses of action to proceed with.


Mar 5 2012

NSN’s first action

This is NSN’s first action! We are accompanying J to take a demand to his landlord and would like to get a good group together to show solidarity. Meet at the corner of Mount Street and Maid Marion Way this Thursday (8th March) at 12.15pm.

 

Help us take action against an unscrupulous landlord

J and 3 friends were renting a Forest Fields house owned by landlord, Mr Shakil. When they moved in they paid Mr Shakil a £700 deposit which was never entered in any of the deposit protection schemes, as required by law. He also failed to take an inventory of neither the household’s contents, nor any damage to the property.

At the end of December 2011 the tenants received letters from the mortgage holder, Northern Rock, saying that the house was to be repossessed due to mortgage payments not having been paid for 6 months. After having to go to court to delay their eviction and the time, stress and expense that entails they have now moved out of the dilapidated property and have asked for their deposit back from the landlord. Despite continuing promises to pay the deposit while still living there and knowing he has the funds, he is now refusing to pay for entirely spurious reasons.

J contacted the Nottingham Solidarity Network to see if we could help him get his deposit back. We will be meeting at the corner of Mount Street & Maid Marion Way at 12:15 on Thursday to accompany J whilst he delivers a letter to Mr Shakil demanding the return of the deposit and making clear that we will take further action if this is not done. We welcome all supporters to join us.