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What can bailiffs legally do?
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# 1
car67
Old 21-09-2006, 7:00 PM
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Default What can bailiffs legally do?

Hi,
I hope this is in the correct forum. Please advice if not. I'm confused today.

Here's my story.
I have over £8000 debt through 4 credit cards. One that is causing me a problem more than the others at the moment is a HSBC current account debt (£3,350). I'm unemployed and don't receive social benefit. I'm currently attempting to get disability allowance.

I had a letter from the local court today saying that bailiffs would be coming around to remove and sell my goods and I would be liable for them hiring a van and selling my goods.

Can someone please give me advice / info on what my rights are to the following.

1 - Do I have to allow the bailiffs into my house (I'm a home owner)?

2 - How will I know if the bailiffs have a genuine right to gain forced access to my house.

3 - What documentation do the bailiffs need to show me before entry/removal?

4 - What goods can they legally remove (only mine, my partners, our jointly owned goods).

5 - Do I need to prove ownership of goods that are jointly owned or my partners so they (hopefully can't remove them)?

Thanks.
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# 2
sweetpeas
Old 21-09-2006, 7:50 PM
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hi car67,
dont be too under the weather. i hope these tips help you out a bit:

1,2 +3: the bailiffs do have a legal right to have entry into your home if they have a warrant. they should bring this with them at the time they come to your home.
4+5: the bailffs will find goods (anybodys goods, if they are in your property, can be removed) to the value of the debt (ie if you owe £500 that is how much the will try to recover in goods).

The best idea is to let the bailiffs come and STAY CALM. alot of first visits they DO NOT remove goods, but if you go in there all guns blazing you may end up getting arrested and this will only make matters much much worse.

what is your financial situation? are you able to make an offer to the credit cards of a payment you can make to stop the bailiffs coming? maybe your first point of call should be to ring the credit card companies up and ask them if they will accept a payment of £XX to stop he proceedings. would you be able to borrow these payment amounts off a trusted friend/family member? maybe your partner could borrow you this money? for heavens sake dont go after another card/loan to sort it out-it will only make matters worse. some companies accept an "offer amount" to stop proceedings where bailiffs are concerned.

remember if it does come down to it you should let the bailiffs remove the goods-dont try to stop them 'cos like i said it will only make it worse. i know its difficult myself, but theyre only doing their job at the end of the day-no matter what we think of them!

hope you do okay car67, and that my advice has been of some help to you.

noggin
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# 3
car67
Old 21-09-2006, 9:07 PM
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Thanks for the info noggin. Not what I wanted to hear really but as you say its just their (bailiff's) job.

Why would bailiffs not remove goods on a first visit?

You say they can remove anyone's goods in my house. Surely my partner isn't liable for my debts so how can they take their items just because we're living in the same house! That is crazy. Does this apply to rented items, i.e. TV / video recorder? (if so what do I then tell the rental company ?)

Would I be breaking the law if I didn't allow bailiffs in (even with a warrent), and what would my consequencies be?

As I'm unemployed and not in receipt of a penny benefit I cannot make any offer of payment to the credit card company's. I have no one to borrow money from either. My partner is paying mortgage and all household bills as it is, and I understand they are not responsible for any debts I have for which I solely signed for (credit cards / loans etc).

I have no intention of getting a loan to get myself out of this mess so don't worry about that.

Back to what the bailifs will take. I read somewhere that they won't take every day items such as kitchen goods (fridge, oven etc), as they are considered needed for day to day living, but where do they draw the line? Is there a list of stuff they will / won''t take somewhere online? For instance my PC is over 10 years old, falling to pieces and worthless as second-hand hardware, but invaluable to me. Would they take my PC and if so whats the legal situation on the fact it will have my personal files on. Will I have the option to delete / back up everything before they remove it?

Thanks again.
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# 4
Wonder_Girl
Old 21-09-2006, 9:25 PM
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1 - Do I have to allow the bailiffs into my house (I'm a home owner)?
NO, but they can gain peaceful entry (walk in through an unlocked door, climb in through an open window) they CAN NOT break in unless they have already entered your house once in a peaceful manner (this is called walking possession) bear in mind however that if you open the door and they get a foot in this counts too, this means they can come back and break in at a later date. So keep doors and windows locked and don’t open the door to people you don’t know, just talk through the window.

2 - How will I know if the bailiffs have a genuine right to gain forced access to my house.
See above

3 - What documentation do the bailiffs need to show me before entry/removal?
You have the copy of the warrant from the court, they will have likewise and ID.

4 - What goods can they legally remove (only mine, my partners, our jointly owned goods). They will not remove things that you can prove belong to other people, they may take things that belong to other people if you can’t prove it, however if later on you can prove it belongs to somebody else it will be returned. The first time they come they will levy the goods, this means make a list of what you have so that if you sell it before they come back they know. They will not take items that you need ie if you have a cooker they might take a micro wave as you have 2 things that do the same thing but only need one to do the job.

5 - Do I need to prove ownership of goods that are jointly owned or my partners so they (hopefully can't remove them)? Yes

You need to get an N245 form from here http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/H...B8C6CE7553FEDD and fill it in, tick the box that says to suspend a warrant and also the box to vary the instalment order, then return it to court with the £35 fee, make a realistic offer of payment on the form I.e £5 a month and whilst this is being processed and until a decision is made the bailiffs can’t take any action, keep a copy of the filled in form before returning it and if the bailiffs come in the mean time hold the copy up to the window so they can see it’s been sent.

WG x
All comments and advice given is my own opinion and does not represent the views or advice of any debt advice organisation.

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# 5
file_wizzard
Old 21-09-2006, 9:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noggin
hi car67,
dont be too under the weather. i hope these tips help you out a bit:

1,2 +3: the bailiffs do have a legal right to have entry into your home if they have a warrant. they should bring this with them at the time they come to your home.
4+5: the bailffs will find goods (anybodys goods, if they are in your property, can be removed) to the value of the debt (ie if you owe £500 that is how much the will try to recover in goods).

The best idea is to let the bailiffs come and STAY CALM. alot of first visits they DO NOT remove goods, but if you go in there all guns blazing you may end up getting arre
DO NOT DO THIS, unfortunately the advice given above is completely incorrect, the bailiffs have no right of entry WHATSOEVER, they can only gain “peaceful entry” which either you letting them in, or them gaining their own access through an open door / window.

Once they have gained peaceful entry on the first occasion they can subsequently return and force entry at any time they desire.

You should do the following;

Confirm an court order has been issued, many DCA’s will blatantly lie about an order being obtained, ask the bailiff for the claim reference and contact the court to see if an Execution warrant has been issued, with out this they have no rights whatsoever.

If an amount is outstanding and you don’t dispute the debt contact the creditor / DCA in question, if the case has been to court and an order awarded in default then you should ask the court for an N245 which will allow you to apply to vary the order to an amount which you can afford to pay, the court WILL NOT order you to pay nay more than you can afford.

If you need further advise please ask on here or P.M me


DO NOT GRANT ACCESS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES
:rolleyes: It’s hard enough remembering my opinions - without remembering my reasons for them :rolleyes:

Last edited by file_wizzard; 21-09-2006 at 9:36 PM.
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# 6
Let_Robinson_Sing
Old 21-09-2006, 9:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car67
Thanks for the info noggin. Not what I wanted to hear really but as you say its just their (bailiff's) job.

Why would bailiffs not remove goods on a first visit?

You say they can remove anyone's goods in my house. Surely my partner isn't liable for my debts so how can they take their items just because we're living in the same house! That is crazy. Does this apply to rented items, i.e. TV / video recorder? (if so what do I then tell the rental company ?)

Would I be breaking the law if I didn't allow bailiffs in (even with a warrent), and what would my consequencies be?

As I'm unemployed and not in receipt of a penny benefit I cannot make any offer of payment to the credit card company's. I have no one to borrow money from either. My partner is paying mortgage and all household bills as it is, and I understand they are not responsible for any debts I have for which I solely signed for (credit cards / loans etc).

I have no intention of getting a loan to get myself out of this mess so don't worry about that.

Back to what the bailifs will take. I read somewhere that they won't take every day items such as kitchen goods (fridge, oven etc), as they are considered needed for day to day living, but where do they draw the line? Is there a list of stuff they will / won''t take somewhere online? For instance my PC is over 10 years old, falling to pieces and worthless as second-hand hardware, but invaluable to me. Would they take my PC and if so whats the legal situation on the fact it will have my personal files on. Will I have the option to delete / back up everything before they remove it?

Thanks again.
They wont remove the goods straight away as they need to asses your situation and possibly value some of the items in the property.

Even with a warrant they cannot legally enter on the first visit. If you let them in and they asses your goods and the next time they come they do have the right to enter your premisies even if you try and stop them. I am not sure of the consequences but they can enter.

If you have goods in your house you need to prove that they are not yours otherwise then they'll probably take them.

Bailiffs wont take cutlery, oven, fridge, clothes, bed linnen and items associated with work.

Within regards to your PC, contact the bailiff office as you could argue its breaking personal DPA.

http://www.thesite.org/homelawandmon...ddebt/bailiffs

have a look here it might help.
You may hand us over to the executioner but in three months, the disgusted and harried people will bring you to book and drag you alive through the dirt in the streets!
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# 7
jeanette251978
Old 21-09-2006, 9:44 PM
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i was told via the cccs that as its unsecured debt non priority then u wont get a visit from baliffs.... the only time you would is if you have a ccj and dont pay that... then they can come and take goods ???? is this wrong then ?????????/
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# 8
file_wizzard
Old 21-09-2006, 9:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanette251978
i was told via the cccs that as its unsecured debt non priority then u wont get a visit from baliffs.... the only time you would is if you have a ccj and dont pay that... then they can come and take goods ???? is this wrong then ?????????/
If an order is made by the court and you fail to pay the claimant can apply for an execution warrant, this will give the court bailiffs the ability to recover by the means of possession.

However they may not force entry to a property to execute this warrant, and may only gain access by “peaceful entry” i.e, being invited in, or gaining access through an open / unsecured window or door.

If this is the case . and they are unable to gain access they may chose to levy against motor vehicle which they have reasonable cause to believe belongs to the debtor.


The only bailiff that may force an entry are those instructed to recover crown / Inland revenue debts, and in some circumstances a magistrates order by the use of reasonable force, although this change to orders passed by magistrates is relatively recent, and the use of “reasonable force” to gain access is yet to be tested
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# 9
CLAPTON
Old 21-09-2006, 11:37 PM
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sadly some of the info here is wrong and some right..noggins is totally wrong..

but how do you know which is which so do the following

a. are you sure it really it's a real bailiff. you should know because you will have received a summons which you either ignored or went to court and subsequently didn't keep to the courts orders....you will know that.
come back and tell us the details

b. do a google or otherwise search on 'bailiffs' and you will see that noggins is talking absolute rubbish.


you will see that

a. bailiffs can't force entry into your house but
they can

1. try to trick you into letting them in...i.e. can i use your phone; please just sign this paper to say i called, my office requires it etc.

Do not open the door ...under no circumstances, do not open the door

2. they can come in through an open window or door .. so do what is obvious.

However once they have gained access (if you are stupid enough to let them it ) then they can come back at any time and then they can use force


you will also find that
a. they cannot take your partners gear
b. they can take jointly owned gear but they must credit your OH will half the sale value.

do a google and find out for yourself
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# 10
valiant
Old 22-09-2006, 2:42 AM
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car67........

I can't believe I've spent over an hour writing this but I was incensed by the stupid advice that some people gave you. Please reward my effort by taking the time to read what I've written!

You've had some really good advice in this thread so far and some really ROTTEN advice! That's the problem with forums like this. 'file_wizard' has given you the best advice. Anyone who said that the bailiffs have a right of access to your house/flat are talking through an orifice where the sun don't shine! I've been through a similar situation and have had more bailiffs at my door than hot dinners! I'm going to give you the benefit of my experience.

The most important advice I want to give you is that there's a HUGE difference for YOU now between taking an active role in dealing with your creditors and putting your head in the sand like most people do.

You have credit-card debt and bank debt. That means that in all probability you may have been taken to the County Court and you possibly have County Court Judgement(s) registered against you. The first thing you need to do is to stop putting your head in the sand (like most people do.....but the situation is NEVER hopeless....as most people think!) and take control of the situation. What you do (and what you don't do) now are important. If you take control NOW you can make things better for yourself.....believe me!

My advice is as follows:

1) Firstly, IGNORE THE DAMMED BAILIFFS !!!!!!! They have little or no power. Their only real function in the legal 'system' is to intimidate people. They will send you very official looking intimidating letters......ignore them all! Don't lose any sleep! As long as you adhere to some simple rules, bailiffs are of no concern. There are only three things you have to remember with regard to bailiffs from the County Court:

a) NEVER NEVER allow them into your house or flat. NEVER NEVER open the door to them. They will try all kinds of tricks to get in but they can NEVER force entry unless you've allowed them in at one time in the past. The law is stupid and says that if you let them in, EVEN ONCE, then everything changes from then on and they now have the right to break the door down when they come back in the future. Don't let it get to that stage. Make sure that you make everyone in your household aware of the one simple fact that the bailiffs should NEVER be allowed to cross the threshold. Basically, they have no right to 'force entry' UNLESS you've allowed them entry at some time in the past. I know it sounds stupid........but it's true........do a Google on 'bailiffs' and 'rights' if you don't believe me!

b) If you have any assets outside your house (such as a car or garden furniture etc.) then be aware that the bailiffs DO have a right to take that (with 7 days notice). Move any of that stuff away to a friend's house.

c) The bailiffs have a right to make a charge for the cost of visiting you each time, but it's limited. I can't remember exactly what the amount is but they're entitled to charge something like £20 to £30 for each visit. The number of visits they can charge you for is limited to three. The total amount will be added to your debt. If you can't pay the amount you owe then you're stuck with that charge.......but do a Google search and find out and make sure that they don't overcharge.

So....bottom line.........relax about the bailiffs! The bailiffs are NOT your main problem! They're an impotent distraction.....all bark.....NO bite. Onto number 2:

2) Start talking to the credit card companies and the bank. Believe me, the 'system' is on your side. If you show that you are prepared to take some responsibility and keep communicating with them, most credit card companies and banks won't want to take you to court. Most of them are INCREDIBLY reasonable; but ONLY if you start talking to them. Even if you can't afford to make ANY payments to them, talking to them will make your situation much better.

3) If you tell a credit card company or bank that you're in financial trouble they have no way of knowing if you're telling the truth or if you're lying and are just saving your money for a round-the-world cruise next summer! For that reason they will usually suggest that you contact a 'debt counselling' organisation who will make an independent assessment of your means. This is in YOUR interest. They will usually suggest their own 'preferred' organisation; but you don't want to be dealing with multiple organisations, one for each credit card company....that's far too much hassle. Deal with one. Ring the credit card company to whom you owe the largest amount and ask them which debt counselor they recommend. Then deal with that one. Mind you, make sure that they make no charge. There are lots of free services available that are no worse than those who charge. It really doesn't matter which one you choose as long as their services are free. Once you find one then DEMAND that all the other credit card companies deal with the same one. They'll usually accept.

The debt counsellor is YOUR friend. Make an appointment. Interestingly, if you make an appointment and have proof of it then you can often buy a lot of time from the credit card company because they know that there's usually a long waiting list. So even if you hate the idea of keeping your appointment (and, really, you shouldn't) then you can report back to the credit card company that your appointment is for X weeks time. They'll usually do nothing more until that date has past.

When you attend your appointment with the debt counselor (and believe me, you really should.....if they're worth their salt you'll feel SO much better after the interview) they will make an assessment of your means. You must give them all the paperwork necessary to give them confidence to make an 'independent' statement to the credit card company that you can only afford X pounds/month (even if X = zero!) The credit card company will usually accept this and you can then avoid a 'default' or a 'county court judgement' (see below).

4) Keep in mind three VERY important things that you need to avoid and/or keep to the minimum:

a) Having your account deemed to be 'in default' by the credit card company. This has a devastating effect on your credit rating for the future (six years). Basically it's a decision that the credit card company makes THEMSELVES at THEIR discretion. No court is involved. They basically inform the credit reference agencies that THEY consider the account to be 'in default' and there's not a lot you can do about it. It just goes on your file for six years that XXXX Company considers you to be 'in default' and you'll find it hard to get credit during that time. But if you talk to them and you can make even the most stupidly small monthly contribution (even £5) then you might avoid a 'default'. Remember that most people in your situation bury their heads in the sand. That's what the credit card companies hate. If you communicate with them then you will be in the minority and you can probably avoid a default. But you MUST haggle! Remember that if you don't bury your head in the sand than you're actually in a position of power! You owe THEM the money! I've never really understood the logic myself but when most credit card companies declare an account to be 'in default' they also stop charging interest on the amount outstanding. If you offer them even £5/month ON CONDITION that they will NOT register your account as 'defaulted', then they will be very tempted to accept. Everyone (including you!) can probably find £5/month but don't even give that to them unless they agree to keep your account out of 'default'. The rule is Haggle! Haggle! Haggle! If you agree to pay something then you need to get something in return and your future credit rating is usually the most important issue.

Having said all of the above; obviously if your financial situation is COMPLETELY hopeless (i.e. you can't even afford £5/month and/or what the debt counselor recommends) then having the account 'in default' might be to your advantage because usually you'll stop paying interest on the amount outstanding. You basically have to decide which is more important to you; having the interest frozen now or (not) having your credit rating screwed for six years.

b) You also need to avoid being taken to the County Court if you can manage it. A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is even worse than a 'default' for your future credit rating and it also stays on your credit rating files for six years. A CCJ is actually quite easy to avoid if you keep up communication with your creditors. But if you ARE summoned to the County Court then make sure you attend. I don't fully understand this; but in my case I had a County Court Judgement (CCJ) granted against me by the Inland Revenue for £20k and it never got registered on my credit rating file. I've never quite understood why it wasn't. I phoned the court about it (and asked on various Internet forums) and was told that if you actually attend the court you reduce the chances that the creditor will go through the necessary process to ensure that the CCJ is registered with the credit reference agencies. It seems to be an esoteric point of legal process that I don't understand but it again re-enforces the principle point I've been making all along..............if you take control of the situation and confront your creditors, confront your problem, confront the debt counselors and confront any court appointments then you'll always tend to be better off.

c) You say you own your property. This is actually a bit of a problem; unfortunately. Firstly, NEVER volunteer the fact that you own your property unless you're asked directly by your creditors. It actually doesn't matter very much because the law has changed and these days it's very easy for them to find out that you do.....so if you're asked directly, there's nothing to be gained by lying and a lot to lose. If you're in a REALLY BAD financial situation then it may be worth transferring your property into the name of a TRUSTED family member but you will probably have to pay stamp duty. This area is beyond my knowledge and you should probably take 'professional' advice.......i.e......Google! LOL! The bottom line is that if your creditors get wind of the fact that you own a property then they'll be very tempted to take you to the County Court, get a judgement against you and then enforce that judgement by reapplying to the court to get a 'charge' on the property. A 'charge' means that a note is put on the property's record at the Land Registry that compels the Land Registry not to allow you to sell the property (i.e. transfer the property into another person's name) unless the proceeds are firstly used to pay off your debt. It's legally possible (but very unlikely if the property is your main residence) that they could get a subsequent court order to force a sale of the property.

The bottom line of all of the above is that you need to make a decision in principle NOW........either you bury your head in the sand (very tempting....I know how it feels), ignore all the crap coming through the letter-box, stop answering the phone (I know what that's like too!).........or..........grab the dammed bull by the horns and make the best out a of bad job. There's a LOT to be saved! I've been there!





Valiant

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# 11
Addicted2Chocolate
Old 22-09-2006, 4:54 AM
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what a helpful post!
Quote:
Originally Posted by valiant
car67........

I can't believe I've spent over an hour writing this but I was incensed by the stupid advice that some people gave you. Please reward my effort by taking the time to read what I've written!

You've had some really good advice in this thread so far and some really ROTTEN advice! That's the problem with forums like this. 'file_wizard' has given you the best advice. Anyone who said that the bailiffs have a right of access to your house/flat are talking through an orifice where the sun don't shine! I've been through a similar situation and have had more bailiffs at my door than hot dinners! I'm going to give you the benefit of my experience.

The most important advice I want to give you is that there's a HUGE difference for YOU now between taking an active role in dealing with your creditors and putting your head in the sand like most people do.

You have credit-card debt and bank debt. That means that in all probability you may have been taken to the County Court and you possibly have County Court Judgement(s) registered against you. The first thing you need to do is to stop putting your head in the sand (like most people do.....but the situation is NEVER hopeless....as most people think!) and take control of the situation. What you do (and what you don't do) now are important. If you take control NOW you can make things better for yourself.....believe me!

My advice is as follows:

1) Firstly, IGNORE THE DAMMED BAILIFFS !!!!!!! They have little or no power. Their only real function in the legal 'system' is to intimidate people. They will send you very official looking intimidating letters......ignore them all! Don't lose any sleep! As long as you adhere to some simple rules, bailiffs are of no concern. There are only three things you have to remember with regard to bailiffs from the County Court:

a) NEVER NEVER allow them into your house or flat. NEVER NEVER open the door to them. They will try all kinds of tricks to get in but they can NEVER force entry unless you've allowed them in at one time in the past. The law is stupid and says that if you let them in, EVEN ONCE, then everything changes from then on and they now have the right to break the door down when they come back in the future. Don't let it get to that stage. Make sure that you make everyone in your household aware of the one simple fact that the bailiffs should NEVER be allowed to cross the threshold. Basically, they have no right to 'force entry' UNLESS you've allowed them entry at some time in the past. I know it sounds stupid........but it's true........do a Google on 'bailiffs' and 'rights' if you don't believe me!

b) If you have any assets outside your house (such as a car or garden furniture etc.) then be aware that the bailiffs DO have a right to take that (with 7 days notice). Move any of that stuff away to a friend's house.

c) The bailiffs have a right to make a charge for the cost of visiting you each time, but it's limited. I can't remember exactly what the amount is but they're entitled to charge something like £20 to £30 for each visit. The number of visits they can charge you for is limited to three. The total amount will be added to your debt. If you can't pay the amount you owe then you're stuck with that charge.......but do a Google search and find out and make sure that they don't overcharge.

So....bottom line.........relax about the bailiffs! The bailiffs are NOT your main problem! They're an impotent distraction.....all bark.....NO bite. Onto number 2:

2) Start talking to the credit card companies and the bank. Believe me, the 'system' is on your side. If you show that you are prepared to take some responsibility and keep communicating with them, most credit card companies and banks won't want to take you to court. Most of them are INCREDIBLY reasonable; but ONLY if you start talking to them. Even if you can't afford to make ANY payments to them, talking to them will make your situation much better.

3) If you tell a credit card company or bank that you're in financial trouble they have no way of knowing if you're telling the truth or if you're lying and are just saving your money for a round-the-world cruise next summer! For that reason they will usually suggest that you contact a 'debt counselling' organisation who will make an independent assessment of your means. This is in YOUR interest. They will usually suggest their own 'preferred' organisation; but you don't want to be dealing with multiple organisations, one for each credit card company....that's far too much hassle. Deal with one. Ring the credit card company to whom you owe the largest amount and ask them which debt counselor they recommend. Then deal with that one. Mind you, make sure that they make no charge. There are lots of free services available that are no worse than those who charge. It really doesn't matter which one you choose as long as their services are free. Once you find one then DEMAND that all the other credit card companies deal with the same one. They'll usually accept.

The debt counsellor is YOUR friend. Make an appointment. Interestingly, if you make an appointment and have proof of it then you can often buy a lot of time from the credit card company because they know that there's usually a long waiting list. So even if you hate the idea of keeping your appointment (and, really, you shouldn't) then you can report back to the credit card company that your appointment is for X weeks time. They'll usually do nothing more until that date has past.

When you attend your appointment with the debt counselor (and believe me, you really should.....if they're worth their salt you'll feel SO much better after the interview) they will make an assessment of your means. You must give them all the paperwork necessary to give them confidence to make an 'independent' statement to the credit card company that you can only afford X pounds/month (even if X = zero!) The credit card company will usually accept this and you can then avoid a 'default' or a 'county court judgement' (see below).

4) Keep in mind three VERY important things that you need to avoid and/or keep to the minimum:

a) Having your account deemed to be 'in default' by the credit card company. This has a devastating effect on your credit rating for the future (six years). Basically it's a decision that the credit card company makes THEMSELVES at THEIR discretion. No court is involved. They basically inform the credit reference agencies that THEY consider the account to be 'in default' and there's not a lot you can do about it. It just goes on your file for six years that XXXX Company considers you to be 'in default' and you'll find it hard to get credit during that time. But if you talk to them and you can make even the most stupidly small monthly contribution (even £5) then you might avoid a 'default'. Remember that most people in your situation bury their heads in the sand. That's what the credit card companies hate. If you communicate with them then you will be in the minority and you can probably avoid a default. But you MUST haggle! Remember that if you don't bury your head in the sand than you're actually in a position of power! You owe THEM the money! I've never really understood the logic myself but when most credit card companies declare an account to be 'in default' they also stop charging interest on the amount outstanding. If you offer them even £5/month ON CONDITION that they will NOT register your account as 'defaulted', then they will be very tempted to accept. Everyone (including you!) can probably find £5/month but don't even give that to them unless they agree to keep your account out of 'default'. The rule is Haggle! Haggle! Haggle! If you agree to pay something then you need to get something in return and your future credit rating is usually the most important issue.

Having said all of the above; obviously if your financial situation is COMPLETELY hopeless (i.e. you can't even afford £5/month and/or what the debt counselor recommends) then having the account 'in default' might be to your advantage because usually you'll stop paying interest on the amount outstanding. You basically have to decide which is more important to you; having the interest frozen now or (not) having your credit rating screwed for six years.

b) You also need to avoid being taken to the County Court if you can manage it. A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is even worse than a 'default' for your future credit rating and it also stays on your credit rating files for six years. A CCJ is actually quite easy to avoid if you keep up communication with your creditors. But if you ARE summoned to the County Court then make sure you attend. I don't fully understand this; but in my case I had a County Court Judgement (CCJ) granted against me by the Inland Revenue for £20k and it never got registered on my credit rating file. I've never quite understood why it wasn't. I phoned the court about it (and asked on various Internet forums) and was told that if you actually attend the court you reduce the chances that the creditor will go through the necessary process to ensure that the CCJ is registered with the credit reference agencies. It seems to be an esoteric point of legal process that I don't understand but it again re-enforces the principle point I've been making all along..............if you take control of the situation and confront your creditors, confront your problem, confront the debt counselors and confront any court appointments then you'll always tend to be better off.

c) You say you own your property. This is actually a bit of a problem; unfortunately. Firstly, NEVER volunteer the fact that you own your property unless you're asked directly by your creditors. It actually doesn't matter very much because the law has changed and these days it's very easy for them to find out that you do.....so if you're asked directly, there's nothing to be gained by lying and a lot to lose. If you're in a REALLY BAD financial situation then it may be worth transferring your property into the name of a TRUSTED family member but you will probably have to pay stamp duty. This area is beyond my knowledge and you should probably take 'professional' advice.......i.e......Google! LOL! The bottom line is that if your creditors get wind of the fact that you own a property then they'll be very tempted to take you to the County Court, get a judgement against you and then enforce that judgement by reapplying to the court to get a 'charge' on the property. A 'charge' means that a note is put on the property's record at the Land Registry that compels the Land Registry not to allow you to sell the property (i.e. transfer the property into another person's name) unless the proceeds are firstly used to pay off your debt. It's legally possible (but very unlikely if the property is your main residence) that they could get a subsequent court order to force a sale of the property.

The bottom line of all of the above is that you need to make a decision in principle NOW........either you bury your head in the sand (very tempting....I know how it feels), ignore all the crap coming through the letter-box, stop answering the phone (I know what that's like too!).........or..........grab the dammed bull by the horns and make the best out a of bad job. There's a LOT to be saved! I've been there!





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# 12
Iona_Penny
Old 22-09-2006, 9:03 AM
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There's not anything I can add to the information you have been given except to reiterate do communicate with your creditors: I ended up with a CCJ on my file and it did affect my creditworthiness for the whole six years (yes I thought in the last year it 'would count for less' but apparently not so)
Also they will be reluctant to take goods as it is not often the goods siezed will be worth the debt (jst coz you paid £600 for a TV doesn't mean it will fetch more than £60!) but charges for removal/storage will be charged to you !
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# 13
needaspirin
Old 22-09-2006, 9:41 AM
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Some of the advice here is inaccurate to say the least and some is very good! Look Here for further information and go immediately to your local CAB. Take all documents with you.

As already said in earlier posts,COUNTY COURT judgments: The order can be suspended at any time after the issue of the warrant of execution. Applications to have an order suspended are made on form N245. A fee must be paid.

BTW they cannot charge for the van if they have never gained entry and levied on goods.

Last edited by needaspirin; 22-09-2006 at 9:49 AM.
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# 14
car67
Old 23-09-2006, 4:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valiant
car67........

I can't believe I've spent over an hour writing this but I was incensed by the stupid advice that some people gave you. Please reward my effort by taking the time to read what I've written!

You've had some really good advice in this thread so far and some really ROTTEN advice! That's the problem with forums like this. 'file_wizard' has given you the best advice. Anyone who said that the bailiffs have a right of access to your house/flat are talking through an orifice where the sun don't shine! I've been through a similar situation and have had more bailiffs at my door than hot dinners! I'm going to give you the benefit of my experience.

The most important advice I want to give you is that there's a HUGE difference for YOU now between taking an active role in dealing with your creditors and putting your head in the sand like most people do.
<SNIP>
Valiant
Well thanks for the advice. I'll have to print it off and digest it. You certainly answered a few doubts I had. I feel much better now and can feel a plan coming on.

Thanks to other people who responded as well and to noggin who thought he was helping even if he got some facts wrong.
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# 15
LittleTinker
Old 23-09-2006, 6:08 AM
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Valiant is right with just about everything.

My partner just had a similar experience which didnt turn out too good.
The creditor decided to make a charge on our property and that was that.

Absolutely nothing that we could do about it.

They just werent prepared to take small payments and the courts didn't side with us.

The charge was made on our JOINT property too......and I tried to fight that it court!!
To no avail. We have to pay the charge by 30th Sept or they are calling it in.

Our Solicitor said that she has seen an increasing number of these charges being made.....and them being called in too!!

My advice.........pay off that debt asap.
And any others you have.....start paying a pound a month to each of them!
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# 16
Skint1
Old 23-09-2006, 8:22 AM
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Hi car67
Just follow the advice from valiant and you'll be OK. I once owed money and the bailiffs tried lies threats and to intimidate me. None of it worked. I paid back what I owed except bailiff fees told them to take me to court for them.
You can always get more with a kind word and a 2-by-4 than with just a kind word.
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# 17
CLAPTON
Old 23-09-2006, 11:02 AM
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valiant advice is very good except for the bit about gifting your property to a trusted family friend....this is deeply flawed advice for the majority of people. (valiant did say that this wasn't an area of his expertise and did advise seeking further advice).

firstly remember that the mortgage company normally has first charge on your property and if you want to dispose of it (even to give it away) you will normally need to pay them back the mortgage... presumably given the level of debt of the OP, its unlikely the OP can afford to pay off the mortgage.

secondly to 'give' a property worth 10s or 100s of thousands of pounds away requires a level of trust that may not be justified (except maybe to a spouse) and so is taking an enormous risk.

thirdly if its jointly owed, depending upon the type of ownership it is not possible to give your 'half' of the house away except to the other joint owner

forthly the courts may take a very dim view of disposing of valuable assetts to avoid paying debts and in some circumstances can reverse the situation.

Last edited by CLAPTON; 23-09-2006 at 11:05 AM.
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