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 Post subject: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:32 pm 
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Returning to the UK after approx. 6 years and 7 months abroad. Debts owed approx. GBP12K (at the time), approx. 5 different lenders (overdraft, loan and credit cards (mbna, egg) etc. (max. is GBP 3K)). Some long-standing arrangements and others entered into shortly before hastily leaving the UK. :cry:

A few months after defaulting I received a couple of letters from debt collectors via my mail forwarding service but did not reply. Also, my parents and one of their neighbours got a couple of calls but that was it. [I am not really sure why they were contacted because I didn't list their address or phone number.] When I first left, I did let my bank know the situation via a letter but I never sent the letters to the other lenders informing that I had lost my job and was not in a position to pay the money back just now. During my time abroad, I was not contacted and also made no contact.

Life has changed since moving from the UK :D and I certainly have regrets about simply burying my head in the sand and walking away. I wouldn't recommend the same course of action...its just not worth it in the end…peace of mind is worth a lot and hindsight is a great teacher. Its amazing how many other posters on this site say the same thing. I have decided that the best course of action is to face the music and I have some monies to settle legally enforceable debts, as promptly as possible. :?

I am sure that "they" either know where I am or that shortly after returning to UK, I will be contacted, not least because I will need to be on the electoral roll, and provide traceable things such as my old National Insurance number (which I have lost but will hopefully find again on an old pay slip) etc…..all of which, will re-open the old can of worms….

In light of the above I have the following questions and I would be grateful for some answers. I have read through the forums and past great advice. I would just now appreciate some prompt answers tailored to my situation:

QUESTIONS

1) What are the steps you would recommend in order of priority that I, as someone returning to the UK with a highly likely bad credit history, now take? I don’t know my credit history but need to know this ASAP. I don’t have a UK bank account but need one ASAP. I don’t have an apartment but need one ASAP. I am not on the electoral roll but need to be ASAP.

2) What are the chances of having CCJs on my file. I cannot make a search of my credit file because I am not yet back in the UK. What is the best way to deal with this? The job offer I have will certainly frown upon CCJs being on my register and therefore it may be unwise to even accept the job offer, if there is a high probability of having CCJs on there.

3) If there are CCJs, then what is the date they were most likely filed? Is it possible that they were only been registered in 2004 or even only in 2007 or is more likely that they would have been registered in the first six months of my defaulting i.e. if I left the UK for example in approx. Nov. 2001, then it would mean approx April 2002 as the likely registration month, which would then mean that the CCJ would have dropped-off my register in April 2008, unless the court reinstated it at the creditors request. For me, its better that they drop-off as I intend to settle with a creditor on my return to UK and I do not want them to re-register the CCJ for another 6 years i.e. from approx. April 2008 at the latest. If there are no Cocks then I understand that the debts are statute barred. In this respect, I intend to arrange an amicable settlement with the creditor, so as to avoid being harassed upon my return.

4) I also need a bank account. If I cannot open an account then basically there is no point me returning to the UK because I will not be able to pay my salary into it. Given that I may have Cocks and a bad credit history am I correct in thinking that the Co-op Cashminder account is probably the only best option. Is it likely that I would get an account with them? I will only be able to know for sure once I have an address in the UK which I do not have just now. My problem is that I do not know how bad my credit history is. No bank account means no job basically.

5) I need to rent an apartment. As I have been away for 6 years I understand that rental companies will insist on making credit search as part of their due diligence even though I have not had an address in the UK for the last 6 years. I suspect that I should just rent privately. Has anyone any experience on this? No apartment means no job basically.

6) What about gas and elctricty? Although I do not owe utilities companies any money, will they not also see if I have a bad credit history and simply refuse to do business with me. I do not want to go through the hassle of arranging a pay-as-you-go type meter but perhaphs this is the only option, no?


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:01 pm 
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ANSWERS

1) You first need to find somewhere to live, and get yourself put on the electoral register for that address. Until you've done that, you're effectively not going to be able to open a bank account.

2) You can actually search the Register of CCJs directly. It's a more expensive method than getting hold of your credit file and doing it that way, but in your case it's probably going to be quicker:
http://www.registry-trust.org.uk/Search ... fault.aspx

3) CCJs are only retained on the register for six years from the date of the judgement. After that they're automatically removed, and the only way of tracing it is if you, or the creditor, has a copy of it.

4) All banks and financial institutions are legally obliged to carry out identity verification checks to prevent money laundering (see Answer 1). A bank must tell you if they intend doing a full credit check (which they probably will for a current account, but not necessarily for a basic or savings account). However, most data is only retained on a credit file for a maximum of six years.

5) No personal experience of this, but from what other people report, letting agents will normally check but private landlords don't (or can't). So particularly if you have enough money to pay several months' rent upfront, it shouldn't necessarily pose a problem.

6) Again, the reported position is that British Gas carry out credit checks, but other utility companies don't.

On a more general note, if you have 'references' of any sort from your present employer/landlord/bank etc., these may help to oil the wheels a bit initially as you've been out of the UK for so long and won't have any current credit rating.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:08 pm 
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If I were you, I would proceed with extreme discretion and caution. Before the creditors are ready to deal with you "amicably" (by which I suppose you mean agreeing a full and final settlement ?), you will probably experience a lot of aggravation, as the debts will probably be already in the hands of debt recovery agencies and they will probably turn on you the full strength of their greed. By which I mean that your 12 K£ will probably have multiplied quite a few times over the years. I saw today another post on this site saying that their £6000 debt had become a £30000 debt after six years. If the same applies to you, you may have to deal with a debt five times higher than your original debt !
So there will a very long bargaining, lots of threats and unpleasantness before they are ready to deal "amicably" ...
If I were you, I would not bring back straight away the money you have abroad, as it may be jeopardized if you put it in the wrong place (like a bank affiliated with your creditors).
In fact, your creditors are more likely to be "flexible" if they do NOT know that you intend to come back to the UK.
If they think you are out of their reach, they may prove more reasonable than if they think you will be soon under their thumb.
Deal first with them, get a full and final settlement and THEN come back to England. You will save a lot of money like this ...
Best of luck !
Skalla


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:12 am 
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Thanks for the quick feedback from you both, as time is really ticking and I need to very very soon make a decision on whether to return or not. I intend to keep this forum up-to-date as I proceed through this labyrinth.

I will organise a search via someone in the UK of the Registry Trust website you provided Yogi Bear. I have been holding-off looking at my register via the credit agencies for fear at this stage of putting creditors on notice. Also, because I do not have a UK address/ or any credit card to have been able to do it from/with but I guess the time has come and I shall have to impose myself on someone in the UK...

What I wondered was whether it is more likely, in may case (ie. taking into account the relatively "small" amount of money owed to each lender), for original creditors (or DCAs) to file for a CCJ shortly after default or for example during the first 3 years after default or even just a few months before the end of the 6 year limitation period. I mean it must be in their interest to file for a CCJ before the expiry of the 6 year period otherwise they have cannot legally enforce the debt but only pursue me for it.

I think Skalla you made some interesting points. I was also wondering how much the debt has risen too in the intervening time. I guess the main point is whether CCJs have been registered on all counts. I owe about 5 different lenders so they would need to have all registered otherwise I guess they are now time barred and they cannot legally enforce the debt, thus the issue of whether the debt has risen with interest/charges maybe somewhat irrelevant in this case.

Also, I like the idea of settling with the creditor on the basis that I am overseas but as above does it not depend on whether they have a CCJ because otherwise they will be time barred and cannot legally enforce the debt, albeit they can hassle me for it but it seems that there are means to deal with this. If there is a CCJ then I guess there is no negotiating position for me and it would not really matter that I am overseas.....is that correct or maybe I am mistaken? Would be great for your clarification on this.

Finally, I called the Co-operative Bank and the lady said they could still open a cash minder account and that I could do this on the phone without the need for electoral roll registration. I just need proof of address (probably a rental agreement) and identify, such as a passport. Notwistanding the aforementioned, I will still pursue getting on the electoral roll.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:52 am 
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At this stage and as each situation is different, I could only make the two following points :
1) Having a CCJ does not mean that you have no bargaining position. If you are overseas, the CCJ cannot be automatically enforced (except, if I believe comments on this site, in Germany and Canada, but I have no independent confirmation of this) without going first through the process of a European Enforcement Order (if in the EU) or going against you in a local court (but the UK credit agreement always stipulate that only UK courts are recognized) so it does not make a big deal of a difference at this stage in your bargaining position if they believe that you will stay abroad.
If a CCJ has been issued against you, after six years, they would have to go to court again to reactivate it, and they would have to justify the amount they are claiming and a court would certainly not accept an amount so out of proportion as we have mentioned here. So it depends also (or mainly ?) of the date at which any potential CCJ would have been issued ...
2) You do not need to involve anyone in the UK to get the information you need or negotiate safely with your creditors. Just use a mailbox in the UK. There is a company which does this reliably (http://www.mbe.co.uk/index.aspx). Of course, as it is a business address, the creditors will start by complaining and refusing it as a legitimate address. But if you insist and say that it is this address or nothing because you cannot afford a real home address, they will use it to keep in touch with you.
I have done it and it worked very well, except that creditors being creditors, and in the business of making money by any means, they will stage psychological warfare against you in the strange belief that you may be scared into doing what they want (even if it is against the law : MBNA in the UK once told me that they did not care about the law of "this country", and that only the US law mattered to them !...).
Just stick to your guns and walk carefully as if in a minefield. In the end, you are in a much stronger position than you think, specially if staying abroad is an option and if paying back some or all of your debt is a possibility. This should be bait enough to get them to behave !...
Please note that I am no lawyer, just another poor soul who got in trouble just like you, so any information or advice is the result of my personal experience, NOT the qualified opinion of a professional ...
Skalla


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:18 am 
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Thank you once again Skalla for your input. Your advice is welcomed, as is that of other. Receiving advice and input from other who have experience of these matters is the reason why I joined the forum.

I will look into the mailbox route. I guess the most important thing to do is find out what is on my register. For me this is the most dangerous part because it all depends on when those ccjs were filed, if at all but most likely they have in some cases if not all. I am worried that I start the bells remaining but it just has to be done one day. As I said, I think that it is more likely than not for a ccj to be filed before the 6 year limit. On this basis, it may have been better for me to check before the end of the 6 year period (give or take a few months), because this would allow me to have settled any ccj within the 30 day period. I just really don’t know when ccjs are filed within the 6 year window. I suppose its something that depends case by case and there is no real consistent practice of creditors/DCAs. If someone knows otherwise I would be extremely grateful for some guidance on this.

I could also be faced with the possibility of having a "clean" register (ie no ccjs, as they dropped off after the 6 years) but only for them to be at some later stage reactivated once I have made myself "visible" again in the UK. For me, its important not to have them reactivated for another 6 years. As I understand the advice received, this is where the potential bargaining may come in. If the ccjs are to-drop off, it would appear then better for me to establish contact and negotiate on the basis of being overseas and to seek a final settlement. One can only hope, that the DCAs would be more inclined to accept this as a final settlement rather than pursuing the reactivation of a CCJ, especially if I were to remain outside the UK.

Once again thanks for the advice and I ceratinly welcome input from other forum members.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:11 pm 
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The creditors may or may not have gone for CCJs in your absence. If they were aware you'd moved abroad, they may not have done: it would have cost them Court fees and solicitors' fees which they wouldn't have any chance of recouping in the absence of a way to enforce the judgement.

If you find from a search of the register there is a CCJ against you at a previous address, you can either negotiate with the original creditor to settle at a reduced amount, or apply to the Court for a Variation Order to pay by instalments. There isn't any way of finding out if there is a CCJ which is older than six years unless the creditor has a copy of it. They could then go go back to the Court and apply to enforce it after the six years, on the grounds that you were abroad and they couldn't do so any earlier. This doesn't "reactivate" the CCJ in terms of putting it back on the Register, though, it's still six years from the date of the original judgement.

If there isn't and never was CCJ for one or more of the debts, then they're now statute-barred. If you want to negotiate with the creditor(s) for a partial settlement that's up to you - but they CANNOT enforce a statute-barred debt through the Courts. Creditors cannot legally put statute-barred debts back on your credit file, and will get hauled over the coals by the Information Commissioner if they try it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:31 pm 
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Thanks Yogi Bear for the prompt reply; the information certainly helps.

I somewhat feel like i am in the calm before the storm. I am just tired of having this nagging feeling for many years that I owe someone money and in a way I am glad that I have option to go back to the UK to at least try and tidy-up the mess, well at least the part of it that I am legally obliged to sort out. As the years dragged on, the 6 year time barred limit came nearer and nearer but as is clear from postings on this forum this in itself is not always going to be the answer to debt avoidance.

I will arrange for a check to be made of the register but this still requires someone in the UK to do it on my behalf because i do not have a UK or other credit card. Also, the mailbox option that has been suggested in another post also requires the same mailing address as that of the credit card, so this unfortunately is not an option for me.

I will post the results of the credit check once i have them....


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:41 pm 
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A quick note on the utilities side of things - If you move into a property already supplied by an energy supplier then credit checks are not performed, even by British Gas. It is only if you are transfering from one supplier to another that a credit check is made. PAYG meters would only be fitted if there was a large debt which was not paid and a warrent would be needed to enter the property and exchange the meters. So long as you keep up with payments you shouldn't have a problem Direct Debit is the best option for this, if allowed by your new bank account, failing that ask for payment cards - you make a monthly payment at a paypoint or post office.


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:15 pm 
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Thx pubman for the info regarding utilities. other useful input from members would be greatly appreciated. going to apply for credit file soon......thx


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:00 am 
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Ok I have a quick question, the answer to which I have unsuccessfully searched the forums.

I understand that my old address is the one that any ccjs would be associated with in my name. The problem is that there are slight variations of this old address in the old correspondence I have from various creditors/DCAs. i.e. one creditor/DCA uses a different postal code to the one where i actually lived…..i mean its somewhat similar but its different….in fact when i searched for that post code it doesn't even exist. Also, what if they include double "tt" in the name of the road, when it should just be one "t"? Obviously these problems didn’t stop the correspondence being received at the time.

Aren't they required if they do a ccj to ensure that its to an address as stated in the electoral roll i.e. a correct address?

What i am trying to make sure is that any search of the register is done on the correct address. What happens if I search on a street name using double "oo" rather than just one "o". Will this make a big difference? Do i need to make a search using all the different possible addresses?

Greateful for replies as soon as possible. Thanks people


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:51 pm 
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hi, so my search came back with nothing listed.....

am not sure if that is good or bad...will just have to wait and see....

would the questions raised in my last post have any influence on the search results?

would be really grateful for you advice please


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:12 pm 
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Hello!

Further to my posts above, would I be correct in thinking that the results of a registry trust search will probably not be as detailed, as the results of credit reference agency search?

I ask because I need to rent a flat and just wonder whether something may be listed which didn’t come up via the registry trust search. I am assuming that if I give the exact same address as I did for the registry trust search then nothing should appear. That said, I am aware that a "GAIN" (gone away) warning may pop-up when the rental agency does the search but maybe this in itself is not a problem because the rental agency would probably not search further. Correct? Would this be a fair assumption?

In any case, as my debts “should” be statute barred now and since any CCJ (or other things) should presumably not be on the register (which seems to be true following my registry trust search but as I mentioned in my last post this may have been to an error in the address on my part???? I am not sure???) would the same logic also not be the same with respect to any GAIN warning on my record?

Would be great for any feedback on these matters.

many thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Help - Abroad - Over 6 years - CCJs? -
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:42 pm 
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onetroubled wrote:
Further to my posts above, would I be correct in thinking that the results of a registry trust search will probably not be as detailed, as the results of credit reference agency search?

As far as CCJs are concerned, all the information shown on your credit file is taken directly from Registry Trust, so it can't show data relating to CCJs in more detail there, no.

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