letter addressed to son who does not live at my address


I hope someone can please give me some advice.

I have received a couple of letters, addressed to my son, at my address.

I suspected that they may be from a debt collection agency as, in the past, he did have some debts.

I asked my son why I was receiving letters addressed to him at my address, and he does not know why I am getting them.  He says he paid off his debts, but I am unsure if this is correct.

I googled the return address on the back of the envelope:- P.O. Box 278, Reigate, RH2 7WB and discovered that the letters are from a debt collection agency.

I sent the first letter, received two weeks ago, unopened, back to the sender by writing on the envelope:- wrong address, please return to sender.  Today I have received another letter addressed to my son, which I shall return to sender, unopened, as wrong address.

Am I within the law to do this? I have not made any contact with the sender, other than returning the letters.

Am I obliged to divulge my sons correct address?

I am really getting worried about this, I am a widow, an O.A.P. living on my own, and don't know what to do.

I would appreciate your advice.

Thank you

Your Replies

You do not have any obligation to the debt collector, you do not have any obligation in regard to your sons debts. Accordingly, you do not have to reveal your son's address and there is not any reason why you should not return letters addressed to him.

The debt collector may continue to pester you because no doubt yours is the only address they have. Clearly that address was given to them by your son perhaps to conceal his true address.

Is your son not prepared to sort the problem out if only to save you further worry? I do not know how good your relationship is with your son, but if he is being difficult you could threaten to release his address .

The debt collectors have to adhere to strict guidelines and they are in breach of that if they harass you. In that event you should contact the Office of Fair Trading (trading Standards) whose number is 08454 04 05 06

Hi , you are not liable for his debts, write a letter to them simply stating he no longer lives there and if they continue to write you will complain to the Financial Ombudsaman Service.

Thank you for reassuring advice.

My relationship with my son is fine, but he tends to keep getting into debt.

He is 38 yrs old, disabled, has a young child and finds it difficult to make ends meet.

In the past I have paid off his debts for him, and twice paid off his mortgage debts, when he was threatened with repossession, but I just cannot afford to do this any more.

He has now told me that he could well have an outstanding debt, but is not sure and is also unsure how much it would be for. He says he has not given my address, but a long while ago he used my telephone to contact another debt collection agency, my telephone is not in the phone book.

He is aware that I will not pay off any more debts for him.

Church Mouse

I am a Property Landlord and recently moved into one of my properties that had previously been rented. I received letters for the previous and past tenants from this agency & others.
I have had a caller at the door and a telephone call but have no ideas how they got my number but I guess anything is possible today.

My stance is that the tenants always paid me in good faith and left me personally with no debts. I therefore have no reason to pass on mail of this type although I have informed them that I have received them.

The debt collectors know that I am the Landlord & Owner of the Property and have pestered me for further details of which I have refused and still do. Their obligations to me were fullfilled when they left my property.

Many of the letters now I simply put back in a plain envelope and return to them so that they have to pay for the return postage. It seems to cool them a bit especially when there are more of them.

I have also inserted a letter with the return post informing them that I understand the person to whom the letter is addressed may have moved overseas. This seems to work better.

Please do not be afraid or worried about these people they are doing a job for someone else. They have many tools in their trade on how to trace a person without the need to harass another member of the family. In fact if they do call simply say the last time you heard you believe he was somewhere in Australia.


Just thought I would let you know that I am a postman so I'll explain how it works from our side. The best thing for you to do in any case is to return the letters as you have done by writing that the recipient doesn't live at that address anymore.

It will go full circle and end up back at your postmans delivery frame. When it gets back to him it is then "killed off" which basically means we stick a red sticker on it and tick whichever box applies ie: addressee gone away, addressee unknown, no such address etc.

Thats the most we can do really. In theory, once the dead letter is sent back to the company who originally sent it, they are supposed to amend their records but more often with debt letters, people write that the addressee no longer lives there to try and get out of paying off the debt so you may receive a few more until they stop. As an added extra, you can always add "please amend your records" to the envelope.

You are not obliged to notify a debt collection agency or any other company of someones new address...unless you really want to!

Hope this helps you out a bit! :)

I get letters from a debt collection company in the married name of my daughter. She lived here for a few months 20 years ago. She got married 10 years ago and immediately lived at her new address.
So she has never lived here under her married name. I opened the first letter and explained she doesn't live here, and never has (Under her married name) I still received letters from the debt collection company I then told them no further coresspondence will be entered into.
The debt was a apparently a credit card, sent about 7 years ago, if that's the case it would have arrived here which it didn't but my daughter received it, so they must have sent it to the correct address, now they are harrassing me with the letters which I truthfully return, wrong address.
I am a disabled pensioner, and I have to keep struggling down to the letter box to return their letters.
Only to receive more. I read your letters with interest and feel I now have somewhere to go with my complaint. I was worried they might send a debt collector to visit, and he might insist I gave him information, I didn't realise I could ask him to leave my property. Thank you all for your comments.

what if someone is deliberately using my address to apply for credit or in this particualar case to obtain a cell phone. what are my rights?

My driving licence was sent to my mums address, she crossed out her address an put the address of where im staying and put it back in the post box. this was ten days ago, where is my post?? This arrangement has been used various times in the past with no problems, so where is my letter???

Royal Mail is not obliged to forward on incorrectly addressed letters/letters delivered to homes where the previous occupants have moved away. And why should they and why should the public expect a free service which incidently your mother has done by not enclosing your driving licence in a stamped correctly addressed envelope. Compare it to getting on the wrong bus; if you get on the wrong bus by not reading the bus destination correctly, you get on the right one and pay again. If the DVL has sent it to the wrong address, you should take it up with them.

my grandmother is recieving letters saying goods where delivered to her home and she must get in contct with the people but the problem is no such person lives at my grandmothers home.