BCW Group PLC - Buchanan Clark and Wells.
What you should know
I was an employee with BCW Group, and I would like to, anonymously, share my experiences of them, and hopefully help people who currently have their debt with this company.
BCW are a debt collection organisation. Some of their clients include: British Gas, Scottish Power, E.On, powergen, etc. Local councils for council tax collection. Most large mobile phone companies.
I am speaking out as an ex-employee because this company's 'tactics' are appalling.
The only thing they are concerned with is getting as much money as possible out of you - regardless of your circumstances.
First of all, BCW have a 'three call' strategy.
This is as follows.
You will receive a letter from BCW stating that it is a 'formal/final demand for payment'. You will be urged to contact a premium rate telephone line to make payment.
The person you are connected with is trained to ONLY EVER accept payment in full the first time you call. Therefore, when you call and say you cannot afford payment in full, they will tell you to go and try and find the money and will give you 48 hours to do so.
The second call you make, if you say you could not source the money, they will offer you:
50% payment now and 50% payment next month. Or 50% then 25% then 25%.
Only on the third phone call will you be offered a monthly payment plan option, up to 12 months.
BCW make an extra charge (min £2) when paying by credit/debit card over the phone.
Their call centre is very much a competition-based environment, whereby bonuses are given to 'top collectors'.
As you can imagine - 'top collectors' are ruthless.
During my training - I was told to 'take payment at all costs'. Never fob callers off to the client (i.e. british gas) - just make excuses for the charges and take payment.
We were told to "imply" court action, baliffs, credit blacklisting - as means to make the caller pay.
We were always told NEVER to tell the caller that they WILL end up in court, etc - however that 'May/Might/Possible' court action,etc was a good tactic.
If you fail to call BCW and they have your telephone number - they will call you. They can call you every single day if they don't feel that you are trying hard enough to pay or not paying.
Debt is written off if they cannot trace you/ you can prove you are bankrupt./ you can prove the original client is deceased/ you prove you are on a debt prepayment plan with a recognised authority and obtaining payment from you would be uneconomical to pursue.
There are non-premium rate telephone numbers to get through to them - please see their website for numbers.
Please note that at the time I was employed - BCW staff were told to obey all data protection act rules and regulations. Training involved a lot knowing about the regulations in place, and we were tested on them.
Anyone flaunting the rules was automatically fired - on the spot.
This is because complaints are costly to their fortune, and they don't tolerate it - at least, in theory.
If you ask to speak to a line manager - you must be put through or called back as soon as possible.
If you ask for your telephone number to be removed from their system - they MUST do it, so long as they have an address they can write to you at.