This is a bit of a long post, but is the result of quite some hours of research. Hopefully the information found will help others.
A friend of mine who has a very modest income, despite having two jobs to keep his family afloat had Philips bailiff at the door intimidating his wife. Upshot was that he made payment over the phone of almost £720 - which was his rent money due to be paid that day, and food for the week.
If it were not for me and other friends, he and his family would have had nothing for a week.
When I learnt of the details, did a bit of research and the receipt he has is signed by someone who does not appear on the Bailiffs Register. Also it seems to me that they had overcharged significantly, so as he only has a basic account I wrote out a cheque out for £10 and we sent off a Subject Access Request to get the full details.
The 40 days are now well and truly over, with the cheque cashed and no response. Thus the next step is a Letter before Action telling them that we will start a court action asking that they be compelled to reply and disclose.
The address we used was:
Philips Bailiff and Debt RecoveryI am advised that you cannot normally start a court action against a PO Box Number, and this is certainly the case with Money Claim Online, But who is the company and where are they located?
PO Box 997
If you go onto the main website, it shows no company number, no VAT number, and no geographical address. A clear breach of current regulations (to which I have complained about to Trading Standards). The site is:
Note that they are also using an Org address, which while not unlawful is really meant for non-profit organisations - and I cannot think that Philips has a cat-in-hell's chance of claiming this. Looking up the Nominet entry, it has Nicholas Bradley as the registrant (along with .co.uk) who is an individual who has "opted to have their address omitted from the WHOIS service". Also registered is .com, .org and .co with the last perhaps not connected. The first two are PO Box 152, Darlington DL3 9WT. Darllington is the registered office for what appears to be the company:
PHILIPS COLLECTION SERVICES LIMITEDThough there is also another (with probably others as the above is a 'group'):
18 GARDEN STREET
Company No. 03517395
PHILIPS BAILIFFS LTDThere is a bit more information on the website builders site (not sure if this is their error and not meant to be visible), but the site is:
18 GARDEN STREET
Company No. 04499413
This has a bit more information and is sufficient to tie together the companies:
Registered Office: 64 Duke Street, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 7AN
Registered in England N° 3517395
VAT Registration N° 708072448
On Streetview the above looks like a normal terrace house, that has been converted to offices. I suspect that this registered office above is an old one as the company number is above and has Telford House as the registered address.
Back to Philips Bailiff and Debt Recovery of PO Box 997, Doncaster. Having made enquiries with Royal Mail, they initially said that the the box was closed and thus they could not reveal an address. However, after pressing them further I got the following response:
I have no idea what the word Documetric has to do with Philips, and a websearch has not suggested any link with the companies trading as Documentric(s) with either Philips or Phillips (as quoted above).
Having had a look further into this ... I have been advised that the Box is in fact still active and that the reason that it was showing as closed was because they have moved all there [sic] boxes onto the one account. As this account is still open and this PO Box is listed under it please see address below for PO Box 997
Documetric Phillips Collection Services
I've looked at Streetview, and there is no building giving any indication that it is Philips (they probably would not wish this to be visible!).
So, despite them trying to hide with smoke and mirrors, the company has an apparent physical address in Doncaster with the registered address in Darlington.
Streetview for Telford House, Darlington does show a physical building with Philips on the side of it. It's not big enough for their operation, and I have read that they have a telecall centre in an industrial estate in Darlington that is not advertised anywhere.
Thus the letter before action will go to the physical address, with a copy to the registered address.
Watch this space!