What happens if you leave the country and don't pay your debts?

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paidinfull | 15:25 Wed 13th Apr 2005 | Business & Finance
6 Answers

I am gravely in debt (over �30k from personal loans and credit card) and it's holding me back from what I really want to do, namely teachng English in China. If I just leave and don't come back, what happens? Will INTERPOL come chasing after me or will I just get blacklisted. Is it a criminal offence to run away from debts?

Very grateful for answers.



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I am assuming that you will get into serious trouble if you just leave all your debts and went to China.  For one, you will be taken to court for not keeping up with the payments.  I would strongly advise you not to do this.  Who's to say that you will one day come back to the UK, you won't be able to get any credit, nothing.  Being in debt is the worst thing in the world....can't you not consolidate all your loans into one single loan so that the payments are easier?

You won't get Interpol chasing after you but if you return to the UK you will probably find you have several County Court Judgements against you (a creditor can get judgment by default if you cannot be traced at your last address) and will find that your �30k will have racked up substantial interest, especially if the creditors sell their debts to debt collection agencies. Consequently, you would find it pretty much impossible to get any form of credit/loans/mortgage if you returned to the UK. Speak to a debt counsellor (free and confidential) - your local CAB should be able to put you in touch with one - or call the National Debtline for help (google for their number).
So why not make yourself bankrupt. It does not cost very much, and only lasts one year. You can nip down to the county court, and get it all over and done with in a morning.
'Interpol' have no jurisdiction in China. You could, as has been said, make yourself bankrupt, but this isn't as simple as has been made out -- this has to be sanctioned by the court (not the magistrate either - county). Also a bit mythical about being discharged within the year insted of the previous three. It can be this quick, but what many people don't realise is that it can also be longer than this, and possibly longer than the three years. The important thing to realise here is that your debts are a civil matter, and should not be confused with criminal matters (the interpol thing again!) - You have to be careful as your actions could also make this criminal (all you have to do is add a deception). To get arounfd this, all you have to do is be straight with the creditors - tell them you can't pay - Many people don't realise that they can make offers of full and final settlement for much lower than the outstanding amount e.g. �1000 for a �10,000 debt - careful again here though - 1, amke sure you get written assurance that the amount will be for 'full and final settlement of the account' and two, make sure you make out that the oney that you are giving is not your own i.e. it is being paid by a family member, otherwise they will try and chase you for more. They can't get what you haven't got. If worst come to worst, to evoid any deceipt, tell them that you are unable to pay, and that you will make contact them on an annual basis to bring them up to date with your situation. Couple of other thing to remember - in the unlikely event that they take you to court, they will be able to make an application for default judgement if you fail to make a defence, and a judgement will be entered in your name. Defaults stay on your credit file for six years from date of delinquency, and judgements stay on for six years from date of judgement.
Good luck in China, and don't look back.
Question Author
Thanks for your answers. They have made a real difference. I feel a lot lighter now that I know there's a way out and I won't be treated like a criminal. Special thanks to erimus1 and Miss Zippy.
Hello "paidinfulll" I saw this thread while searching for a similar matter. I owe about 15K and finding it extremely difficult to pay it off and do things I dream to do. First I would like to know how things went for you after 7 years? and are you still in China or you came back to UK atleast for visits? Also can anyone tell me if I get this loan from a bank like HSBC which is worldwide and go to another country and dont come back to UK again, what are the chanses of me not getting caught? Specailly I like to see an answer from "paidinfull" with your won experience on this matter. Thanks

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