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Being chased for debt in from 2015. How do I get information about it?

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  • Being chased for debt in from 2015. How do I get information about it?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm being chased by a law firm for a debt from 2015. I remember taking this loan and not repaying anything toward it. To my knowledge,

    1. I didn't make a single repayment, and
    2. There was a CCJ added to my credit report (now expired), which I thought was for this debt.

    How can I get information about how enforceable this debt is, without acknowledging it? I want to know whether the CCJ was indeed for this debt, and whether my ex partner made any payments towards it which would mean it's still enforceable.

    I've spent the last few years repaying all of my enforceable debts. It's been hell and I thought I was finally on the other side of that. This is a huge set back. Please advise.

    Thanks
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Firstly, don't assume that a debt collector, even if also a law firm, cares whether it is enforceable or not. They will try any trick in the book to try and extract money from people.

    Next, have you checked Trust Online to see if any CCJ is listed in the official courts Register? It will cost you a few pounds but do that if you can. Home (trustonline.org.uk) If there was a CCJ but it is more than 6 years old the CCJ record will not appear. AFAIK there is no way to find a record of a CCJ that is more than 6 years old.

    Have you checked all the Credit Reference Agencies? Any CCJ recorded or other default that could relate to this alleged debt?

    Searching for information on a debt isn't an acknowledgent of it. If a CCJ was issued by a court then rules on statute barring and debt acknowledgement are not relevant.

    If the CCJ was issued but the creditor took no steps to enforce they would now, after 5 - 6 years, have to go back to the court and get permission to enforce. But if this was their intention you would expect the letter from the law firm to spell that out.

    If you want to post the letter on here (redacted of all identifying information and reference numbers) we can give a view on whether you should ignore or respond. They may just be on a fishing expedition to see if you bite.

    Have you moved house since 2015? Did the law firm address the letter to you by your correct name at your current address?

    If all the above produces nothing the only way to find out more information will be to ask the law firm. Asking "I have no idea what this is about and I do not acknowledge the alleged debt. Please provide details of the alleged debt" should ensure you don't accidentally restart any statute barred clock. Alternatively just ignore them. If there was no CCJ and they actually have grounds to start any debt recovery proceedings they will have to issue a formal PAPLOC and only then do you need to take action.
    Last edited by PallasAthena; 9th February 2024, 18:32:PM.
    All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for the detailed response! To answer your questions:

      Originally posted by PallasAthena View Post
      Have you checked all the Credit Reference Agencies? Any CCJ recorded or other default that could relate to this alleged debt?
      I used CheckMyFile which appears to pull data from the three main agencies.

      Originally posted by PallasAthena View Post
      Have you moved house since 2015? Did the law firm address the letter to you by your correct name at your current address??
      I've moved a few times since 2015, but I've lived here for 5 years. This letter uses the correct name at the correct address.

      Originally posted by PallasAthena View Post
      AFAIK there is no way to find a record of a CCJ that is more than 6 years old.
      It would definitely be more than six years old, if it's the one I assume it to be.

      Originally posted by PallasAthena View Post
      If you want to post the letter on here (redacted of all identifying information and reference numbers) we can give a view on whether you should ignore or respond. They may just be on a fishing expedition to see if you bite.
      Here's the letter:

      Dear <name>,

      FORMAL NOTICE OF OUR APPOINTMENT

      We have been instructed by [...] to write to you to relating to the debt that you owe to our client of [...]. This debt is related to the loan agreement that you entered into with [...] on xx/xx/2015 which was then assigned by [...] to [...]. Written notice of the assignment was sent to you on [date before 2020].

      Our client has instructed us to evaluate your current financial position and to engage with you to resolve the matter amicably by agreeing a reasonable repayment plan or settlement with you and in that regards, we would ask you to respond to this letter within the course of the next 14 days.

      To be quite clear, our instructions are that if the matter is not resolved as outlined above, we are to advise our client on whether the matter should be escalated so to give you further notice pursuant to the Pre-Action Protocol For Debt Claims and thereafter to consider the issue of County Court Proceedings.

      Comment


      • #4
        Fishing expedition by a buyer of old debts. Ignore unless and until you receive a PAPLOC or court papers. Or you could write asking for more information. Depends how much time you want to spend playing letter tennis with them!

        They clearly think no CCJ was ever obtained and that no previous court proceedings have taken place, otherwise the last paragraph would be nonsense.
        Last edited by PallasAthena; 12th February 2024, 13:48:PM.
        All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.

        Comment


        • #5
          PallasAthena has covered pretty much all the points but thought I would add some of my own.

          1. You won't be acknowledging the debt by making inquiries unless you say or do something unequivocally indicating you admit liability and then it will restart the clock. In addition to referring to the "alleged debt" as suggested, you could clarify your position at the end of the letter wiht something along the lines of, For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this letter should be taken as an admission of liability for the alleged debt but rather a request for further information since the letter provides very little detail. I do not admit the debt and I reserve all rights and defences with respect to any potential legal proceedings that may be issued by your client.


          2. If you are unable to prove that legal proceedings have already been started with respect to this debt, then you may have to defend this one in the usual way. If I recall, Experian holds previous copies of your credit file going back 3 years, possibly more. So if there is a CCJ that was recorded on your file, you may be able to obtain a copy of it. You should also seek out further information from Experian to see if they can confirm the creditor who issued the original claim. Any legal proceedings brought by this new creditor who purchased the debt would be void because you cannot litigate the same issue twice. However, depending on the outcome of your evidence gathering, you may well be at a better advantage to not mention that this has already been to court before, because a CCJ never ceases to exist so if you do prove or show there was a previous claim, the new creditor could simply request that judgment creditor to assign the CCJ to them and enforce it against you.

          3. In terms of your response, you should really be asking them a series of questions before you can be in a position to make any further comment about the debt itself. For example, some list of questions are below.

          - The letter states that the debt relates to a loan agreement, what kind of loan was it?
          - Presumably they are in possession of the loan agreement and if so, please provide a copy (but see point 5 below.)
          - Who was the original creditor of the loan agreement?
          - Do you have the account number or customer reference for the loan agreement?
          - What date was the default notice served?
          - Please provide a copy of the default notice
          - You state written notice of the assignment was sent to on XX/XX/XXXX, who sent the assignment notice?

          4. From the above responses, you could then make a subject access request to the original creditor for all information they hold about you using the account number and other details you can provide. Assuming they hold records for 6/7 years, they may have nothing on file about your loan agreement.

          5. If proceedings are issued, you could then make a request for a copy of the contract as well as all terms and conditions and amendments made to the contract. If, the original creditor has no information, they may not be able to reproduce a copy of your contract with the right information. The new creditor's claim is likely to be scuppered without it since they cannot take enforcement action.

          6. under FCA debt collection rules, once you claim something is statute barred, the creditor should stop any enforcement action or debt collection until they can prove the debt is not statute barred. This includes legal proceedings.
          If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
          LEGAL DISCLAIMER
          Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Update on this. I did not respond to the original letter.

            Now I have a pre-action protocol letter with their intention to file a CCJ.

            I rang them and verbally asked why this 9 year old debt is not statute barred, in their opinion.

            They have a payment made by my ex partner in 2019. It is his email address and phone number on the account and the payment was made from his bank account. They were unwilling (unable?) to point to any other acknowledgement of this debt.

            I further requested a copy of the original contract, amendments, and a pause on proceedings until I've had time to seek advice.

            Can the actions of someone else, acting without my knowledge or permission, reset the clock for statute barring?

            Comment


            • #7
              Was it a joint loan with your ex-partner? In which case I fear their payment in 2019 has killed your chance of a statute barred defence as the payment will have reset the 6 year limitation period.
              All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.

              Comment


              • #8
                No, this was definitely not a joint loan.

                The call handler was clear that the loan is in my name and that I need to repay it.

                I pointed out that I have never acknowledged this debt, and the person who made the payment was not me, nor did I know they were doing that.

                They responded that I would need to settle the debt and then make a civil claim against that person.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can the actions of someone else, acting without my knowledge or permission, reset the clock for statute barring?
                  The answer is yes, to an extent.

                  Section 30(2) of the Limitation Act 1980 says:

                  (2) For the purposes of section 29, any acknowledgment or payment -

                  (a) may be made by the agent of the person by whom it is required to be made under that section; and

                  (b) shall be made to the person, or to an agent of the person, whose title or claim is being acknowledged or, as the case may be, in respect of whose claim the payment is being made.
                  (emphasis added)

                  As above, a payment made by an agent of the debtor can effectively restart the clock. So the key question is, were you aware of the payment being made? Unless you authorised him to make the payment, your argument would be that you were completely unaware that a payment was made by him and you did not authorise any payment to be made. Therefore the debt continues to be time barred. Of course they would need to provide evidence that the person was acting on your behalf and there may be a presumption that the payment made by him meant he was acting on your behalf. However, if that was the only payment made, it would seem strange for your ex-partner to make one single payment on your behalf rather than more than one, so if you are genuinely unaware of the payment, it may be that he made if without your knowledge and you can continue to defend your position although it may come down to the judge deciding one way or another who they favour.

                  Edit: Not sure what speaking terms you are on with your ex-partner but if he may be able to help or clarify by way of a witness statement confirming the above is true that it was made without your knowledge then that would go far in supporting your defence of it being statute barred (assuming what he did was true).
                  Last edited by R0b; Yesterday, 23:47:PM.
                  If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  LEGAL DISCLAIMER
                  Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

                  Comment

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