I used to work as a debt lawyer, or to give it it’s correct term, Consumer Credit Act Litigator. I was one of only about ten such lawyers working in the UK representing only consumers.
My work involved acting only on cases where the consumer was already being sued or bankrupted so it was wholly defensive work. It was also almost entirely funded via no-win-no-fee, as legal costs were recovered from the debt companies themselves, such was the woeful quality of their paperwork.
During 1997 – 2009, responsible lending was virtually non-existent, but so was decent record keeping. Less than a quarter of credit agreements made between that time were properly enforceable, primarily because the lenders did not bother to keep accurate and secure records of such agreements. It was a ‘sell, sell, sell’ world. The credit crunch brought an end to the lunacy, but it also destroyed many lives along the way.
People lost jobs, marriages crumbled, debts got called in. The pattern was depressingly similar. The customer defaults, the bank adds loads of charges, calls in limits, harasses the customer demanding 100% repayment, then sells the debt on to a debt purchaser for less than 10% of face value…