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Smith Lawson and Company - Dodgy Debt Collectors

Smith Lawson and Company sends threatening letters out to people the Student Loans Company thinks owes the Government money. The SLC takes no part in determining if debts are actually due but just acts as the bag man collecting payments.

You might think from the form of the letters and the appearance of them that Smith Lawson and Company is a proper debt collection agency or firm of solicitors, but it isn't.

From the Student Loans Company Report - ,Smith Lawson and Company is our in-house collections brand or as others might put it a make believe collections agency designed to threaten debtors by pretending to be something it isn't. If the SLC actually goes down the legal debt collection agency it employs an outside agency. You might expect this dodgy subterfuge from a Rachmanesque agency but not from a Government department.

Having checked on the CV of the head man of the SLC I shouldn't have been surprised:

LOOK up Keith Bedell-Pearce in Who's Who and you will read that he is a distinguished solicitor with an impressive record in the boardrooms of some of Britain's top firms. His rewards from these years of service include a £3 million mansion.

But you will not read that he presided over the worst of the pensions and endowment misselling that has blighted the finance industry for the past two decades. ..He was the man in charge of Prudential's salesforce just when mis-selling of pensions and mortgage endowments reached its shameful peak in the late Eighties. ....


I used to work in debt recovery for a major high street bank. When I was there they had at least 4 collection agencies as wholly owned subsidiaries. It's a legitimate method of collecting debts and it has the added bonus for the debtor that they don't usually charge a fee for using their internal collection agents whereas the likes of Allied or Intrum Justicia will.

Just to add to the confusion, HMRC only got around to sending me a statement for 2005/2006 a few weeks ago and the Student Loans Company phonelines have been jammed every time I've tried to call to ask exactly how much I owe now, rather than over 2 years ago. Perhaps the threatening debt collection letters are based on 2-year-old info from HMRC?

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