Debt advice

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DannyK | 15:25 Sat 11th Mar 2006 | Business & Finance
7 Answers

Back in 1996 we took out a finance deal with British Gas over either 3 years . I paid every payment by direct debit, and when I believed the payments were finished and the account clear I cancelled the direct debit.

Last week I got a letter from a debt collection agency chasing me for �1200! They have taken over the debt from British Gas. I told them I don't beleive that I owe them anything, and asked for them to provide me with a statement of my account showing all payments that I have made. They said this would take up to 28days, so I have left it at that for now.

Trouble is, they told me over the phone that in 2002 I was issued with a CCJ for non-payment. We moved in 1998, and I have never heard a thing about this - this was the first I knew of anything of it. How can I have been issed with a CCJ and not know anything about it? I'm now worried sick about it, and how it will affect me.

Also, Since the loan was finished so long ago, I have no paperwotk to prove that I made all my payments by direct bedit - I do keep bank statement but not for this length of time.

My concern now, is what do I do next - they want their �1200 and I don't think I should pay it, but I don't know how to defend myself.

I've tried the CAB - but they are never open, I've tried the national debt helpline and they never answe the phone.

Does anyone out there know where I stand with regards to this? I've heard a debt is not collectable after 7 years, but don't know if that is from the date the loan was taken out, or from the date it should have finished. Also, I don't particularly want to pay the bank additional charges to get a copy of every bank statement covering that time as it will cost me a fortune.

Any advise on what I should do would be gratefully received.



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You poor soul!

Try posting your question on one of these boards:

Good luck x

Write or phone the debt agency who contacted you and ask them the name of the court the CCJ was issued at, ring or write to the court asking for details ie full name and address and reason etc, it may well be that the agency has found your name etc whilst checking records for another debtor and wrote to you in error, ie Mr D Kay instead of Mr D Kaye or same name different birthdates, if this has happened make them grovel.
Where I used to work had a brief spell sending outstanding debts to agencies, I answered the phone to a very irate Chief Exec of the local council who had received a letter saying he had a social security debt of many thousands when he had never claimed benefit, after spending ages on the phone to the agency and checking social records the debt was for a completely different person, and the agency admitted that they regularly sent out letters on the hope of getting the right purpose and didn't care or understand the distress they caused.

1. It is possible to get a CCJ without knowing about it - probably in your case because you have moved and the creditor only had your old address. To check whether there is one you can go to or ask the debt collectors to send you a copy.

2. If there is a CCJ then the debt can be pursued indefinitely - the 6 year limitation does not apply.

3. If you are convinced you paid off the loan I think you are going to have to pay out for bank statement copies (if the bank can provide them) as the easiest way of proving your case.

4. If you did pay off the loan you can apply to Court to have the CCJ set aside on the grounds that you did not know about it & the outcome would have been different had you been able to defend the claim.

5. If you do owe the money & there is a CCJ you will have to agree a payment plan with the debt collector - give them a realistic income & expenditure statement & monthly offer unless you can afford the whole lot at once.

Try this for details of the limitation act.

Question Author
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the replies. It would appear that due to the fact they issued a CCJ in 2002 that I didn't know about (because I moved) that I have no option other than to pay.

This is assuming they can provide me with my original signed contract and statements of payments etc - am I right there? If they can;t provide any of this am I within my rights not to pay?

Thanks again,
I assume you've now confirmed that there is a CCJ. If so, they can take enforcement action - eg bailiffs or (if you own a house) a charging order securing the debt on it, which could eventually lead to repossession. So yes - you have to pay. You can ask them for proof that you owe the money, but the assumption has to be that they satisfied the Court about this when they got the CCJ, so they may refuse to oblige. Hence my suggestion that you might have to pay out for bank statements yourself.
If there is a CCJ (check it is for you), apply to have it set aside as you were unaware of it and have paid in full. Don't pay anything to a debt collection agency, if a proper bailiff calls tell him you've paid, and if you have paid, why pay again?

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