You must take certain steps within 14 days of receiving the form or the court may issue a ‘judgment by default’ which will appear on the register of judgments and on your credit file for six years. This will enable the claimant to bring enforcement action against you, such as sending a bailiff or obtaining a charge over your home.
So… is it a real claim ?
The claim form is sent to you by the court. Normally it arrives in a brown envelope and contains a response pack. It is normally blue but sometimes is printed on white paper. It will have a court stamp.
If you have any concerns over it’s validity then you can call the court ( listed under court address ) and give them the Claim Number to check. If the claim is from the County Court Business Centre in Northampton you can call them on 0300 123 1056 or 01604 619 400. Otherwise you can look up the court contact information here.
What do I do ?
1: ACKNOWLEDGE THE CLAIM
2: Send a CCA REQUEST to the CLAIMANT
3: Send a CPR REQUEST to the CLAIMANT’S SOLICITORS
If the claim has come from Northampton County Court Business Centre you can do this online usually at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
You’ll need your claim reference and password from the front of the claim form – this will extend the time you have to respond to the claim to 28 days from when you received it. The defence date is 28 days from service (ie when you received the claim) or 33 days (which allows 5 days for service) from the issue date printed on the front of the claim form. You can work out the date using this Calculator.
It doesn’t mean you will have to attend court in Northampton, this is simply the central processing department for moneyclaims, and the case will be moved to your local court later on in the process.
If the claim has come from another court you will be able to respond on paper. There will be a ‘Response Pack’ included with your claim form which includes the form to Acknowledge the Claim.
CONSUMER CREDIT COURT CLAIMS
Many claims will be for Consumer Credit Debt. These are generally issued through the ‘County Court Business Centre’ and are rather lacking in detail and information.
They are often claims for debts purchased from the original creditor by debt collection agencies. Quite often the debts are a number of years old and may well have been forgotten by the Defendant. However this does not mean they won’t be able to obtain a Judgment and you should prepare to negotiate settlement if the Claimant does provide evidence of the debt.
Therefore we recommend you send some letters requesting more information to the Claimant.
This applies to all credit cards / loans / hire purchase / store cards type debt. It doesn’t apply to Mobile Phones / Utilities or Overdrafts. For most Debt claims the Claimant must supply a copy of the agreement or they are unable to enforce the agreement through the court. This is a formal legal letter and the response may form a major part of your defence.
This applies to everything unless they happen to have supplied you with a bunch of paperwork to back up their claim. You can include a copy of your CCA request with this letter for information.If you are unsure of any of those steps then please make a new thread on the forum (you must be registered to do this)
NB: If you have sent off these letters do not just wait for replies, some times the claimant doesn’t respond – you must put in a Defence (or Admission) with 28 days of receiving the claim – please ask on the forum and people there will help guide you through the next steps.
It is likely that any debts incurred after 2007 will end up with all the documentation being provided and being enforceable. Therefore you should use the time while awaiting responses going through your Income & Expenditure and considering any possiblity of making a full and final settlement. It can take a number of months to reach the stage of a hearing date and exchange of witness statements and normally you would be able to settle or come to an arrangement to pay before the court hearing, once documents have been provided, although this isn’t guaranteed.
Once those letters have been sent off you should make a new thread on the forum (you must be registered to do this) and make a post titled ‘claimants name v your username’, and include the following information in your post; alternatively you may use THIS FORM.
Other users of the forum, many experienced in dealing with these kind of claims will then offer support and guidance through the rest of the process. Have a rant, ask questions, discuss tactics … whatever you like, we’re here for you.
If you have received a County Court Claim from a creditor or debt purchaser, don’t panic ! LegalBeagles have many years of experience assisting consumers in dealing with these claims, so you are in the right place to work out what steps you should take before making a decision whether to defend the claim or negotiate a settlement.
We now feature a number of specialist consumer credit debt solicitors on our sister site, JustBeagle.com – If your case is over £10,000 or particularly complex it may be worth a chat with a solicitor, often they will be able to help on a fixed fee or CFA (no win, no fee) basis.