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    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 18th Sep 17, 9:40 PM
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    LostMeWay
    Statute barred and going to court...
    • #1
    • 18th Sep 17, 9:40 PM
    Statute barred and going to court... 18th Sep 17 at 9:40 PM
    Evening all, hope this is in the correct place.

    I'll try and keep it simple.

    Got myself into about £20K of debt about 10 years ago. Have worked my !!! off and have more or less paid the most of it off.

    However, I had a loan from Welcome Finance from about Feb 2008 (according to recent court papers I received) which has recently surfaced. Think the loan was originally for £6K but according to the recent court papers the outstanding amount is/was now £2047.65

    Once I defaulted on the loan from Welcome it was passed to a few collection agencies. I remember making regular payments to one of them but then for one reason or another I ceased payments. Not big or clever I know.

    My first question is, is the statute barred 6 year time frame from when I made the last payment to Welcome Finance, when I defaulted with Welcome Finance or when I made the last payment to whatever debt collection company Welcome sold it to? Think I know the answer hence my second question.

    Received court papers from Shoosmith solicitors working on behalf of PRA Group who I assume have bought the Welcome debt from somewhere or someone.

    I have 28 days to respond to either dispute, counter claim or accept liability.

    The court papers are saying the amount they INTEND to apply to the small claims court is £2675.

    £2047 plus £517 interest and £110 court fees. So a total of £2675

    If the debt is not statute barred which I don't think it will be, is my best plan of action to get in contact via writing to Shoosmiths or the PRA Group and try and negotiate a reduced full and final settlement figure BEFORE sending back 'acceptance of liability' to the court. Or should I accept the debt to the court then try and negotiate a reduced full and final settlement.

    Any help or advice much appreciated. Thanks for reading.
Page 1
    • poppasmurf_bewdley
    • By poppasmurf_bewdley 18th Sep 17, 10:10 PM
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    poppasmurf_bewdley
    • #2
    • 18th Sep 17, 10:10 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Sep 17, 10:10 PM
    It's statute barred if the time since you last paid or acknowledged the account was six years ago or more. The date of the default does not matter.

    However, some DCA's have been known to invent phantom payments of £1 or some such small amount. Hopefully, if you have bank statements you will be able to show you have made no payments if they do take it to court.

    However, if you confront the DCA with the fact it's statute barred, it's unlikely to go to court.
    "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery." Mr Wilkins Micawber in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 18th Sep 17, 11:41 PM
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    sourcrates
    • #3
    • 18th Sep 17, 11:41 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Sep 17, 11:41 PM
    If it's not statute barred, you can contact the creditor and make a settlement offer.

    They will probably stop the action if you do so.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there, and delete spam.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 19th Sep 17, 6:45 AM
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    LostMeWay
    • #4
    • 19th Sep 17, 6:45 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Sep 17, 6:45 AM
    So is a payment to the external debt collection agency who have purchased the Welcome Finance debt, an inadvertent acknowledgement of the debt?

    I know I have definitely made payment to an external debt collection agency (however not the PRA Group who currently have the debt) within the last 6 years. However I don't know how easy or hard this would be for the current solicitors/PRA Group to prove?
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 19th Sep 17, 6:48 AM
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    LostMeWay
    • #5
    • 19th Sep 17, 6:48 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Sep 17, 6:48 AM
    Just to clarify I do hope to pay the debt off in some way or another. However if it's statute barred it just gives me a little breathing space. Whereas if it's still a legally enforceable debt then time is not on my side....
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 19th Sep 17, 7:38 AM
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    fatbelly
    • #6
    • 19th Sep 17, 7:38 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Sep 17, 7:38 AM
    Why don't you just assert it's statute barred and see what happens?

    As you say, the payment history often gets murky and the debt buyers may only know the default date which, although not entirely relevant, is more than 6 years ago.

    You refer to these as court papers. If they are an actual court claim you have 14 days from service (14 + 5 days) from issue to do something.

    If it's just a threatening letter, all the more reason to say 'it's statute barred' and see what argument they bring forward.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 19th Sep 17, 8:12 AM
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    StopIt
    • #7
    • 19th Sep 17, 8:12 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Sep 17, 8:12 AM
    So is a payment to the external debt collection agency who have purchased the Welcome Finance debt, an inadvertent acknowledgement of the debt?

    I know I have definitely made payment to an external debt collection agency (however not the PRA Group who currently have the debt) within the last 6 years. However I don't know how easy or hard this would be for the current solicitors/PRA Group to prove?
    Originally posted by LostMeWay

    Yes.


    Any payments to a debt, whether to the original creditor, or to a DCA after a debt is sold is acknowledgement of the debt and resets the 6 year statute bar.


    However, no harm in saying you think it is statute barred as it is down to the DCA to prove that it isn't. If they come back with evidence that it isn't, then you can offer a settlement.
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 19th Sep 17, 9:06 AM
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    LostMeWay
    • #8
    • 19th Sep 17, 9:06 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Sep 17, 9:06 AM
    Morning. Thanks the information.

    Definitely all above board papers from the court in which I have to respond that I'm either disputing the debt, counter claiming the debt or accepting liability of the debt.

    So do I say I'm disputing the debt to the court on the grounds I think it's statute barred? Is there a fee for this? Will I have to attend court?

    Or do I dispute that I think the debt is statute barred direct to the solicitors/debt collecting agency? But surely I still have to send something back to the court as it's mentioned numerous times that I have to dispute, counter claim or accept liability but that I shouldn't ignore the letter.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 19th Sep 17, 9:44 AM
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    StopIt
    • #9
    • 19th Sep 17, 9:44 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Sep 17, 9:44 AM
    Morning. Thanks the information.

    Definitely all above board papers from the court in which I have to respond that I'm either disputing the debt, counter claiming the debt or accepting liability of the debt.

    So do I say I'm disputing the debt to the court on the grounds I think it's statute barred? Is there a fee for this? Will I have to attend court?

    Or do I dispute that I think the debt is statute barred direct to the solicitors/debt collecting agency? But surely I still have to send something back to the court as it's mentioned numerous times that I have to dispute, counter claim or accept liability but that I shouldn't ignore the letter.
    Originally posted by LostMeWay

    The defence has to go to the court. The DCA/Solicitor will respond to that defence. If they have evidence that it isn't statute barred it'll be put to you and you'll be able to attend court if you wish, or withdraw the defence and make an offer to get them to stop proceedings. If they don't accept they'll push the CCJ through and you'll have to pay within 30 days of judgement to avoid the CCJ being put on your credit files.


    You'll have to pay court costs if you lose the case, but that's part of the claim.
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 19th Sep 17, 10:22 AM
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    LostMeWay
    Thank you so much! Really appreciate that being made so simple to understand.

    So basically 'dispute the debt' to the court that it is statute barred. They will tell Shoosmiths/PRA Group this is the case.

    Shoosmiths/PRA Group would then have to prove to me (or the court?) that the debt isn't statute barred before proceeding with any further court action?
    They obviously only check if it's statute barred if requested by the respondent?

    If they prove it isn't statute barred and is still legal to collect, I can then try and hopefully negotiate with the Shoosmiths/PRA direct on some arrangement before they would actually take the next step via the legal system? Would this also mean I wouldn't have to go to court and my credit rating would not be effected if I sorted something out direct at this point?

    Sorry for all the questions. Only just got my credit rating up so don't want to damage it.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 19th Sep 17, 10:33 AM
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    StopIt
    Thank you so much! Really appreciate that being made so simple to understand.

    So basically 'dispute the debt' to the court that it is statute barred. They will tell Shoosmiths/PRA Group this is the case. That is correct.

    Shoosmiths/PRA Group would then have to prove to me (or the court?) that the debt isn't statute barred before proceeding with any further court action?
    They obviously only check if it's statute barred if requested by the respondent? Again, correct. Normally these cases are not challenged for many reasons, the main one being people sticking their heads in the sand. A judgement by default means that the case is taken in good faith, but no checks are made to challenge this. It is up to the debtor to challenge the debt, otherwise you WILL get a CCJ for a statute barred debt. For others who may see this thread, it is good practice to let a creditor know when a debt is statue barred before a legal claim is issued. If they admit this, they cannot launch legal action.

    If they prove it isn't statute barred and is still legal to collect, I can then try and hopefully negotiate with the Shoosmiths/PRA direct on some arrangement before they would actually take the next step via the legal system? Would this also mean I wouldn't have to go to court and my credit rating would not be effected if I sorted something out direct at this point? Again, correct. If it isn't statute barred, you can settle out of court at any point, so long as they're willing to settle. They have the right to reject any offer below the value of the debt, but most will settle as it still costs them to claim.

    Sorry for all the questions. Only just got my credit rating up so don't want to damage it.
    Originally posted by LostMeWay

    Replies in red. No apologies needed, and good luck. Be sure to come back if you have any questions.
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 19th Sep 17, 11:04 AM
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    LostMeWay
    Last 3 questions I think.

    (1) Do I just simply write on the court form that I dispute the debt on the grounds that I 'think or believe' that it's statute barred?

    (2) Any response to my defence will just be via snail mail from the court?

    (3) If it they prove it is enforceable. What figure is enforced or do I negotiate on.

    £2047 which was the original amount owed?

    £2047 for the original debt plus the £517 interest and £110 court fees they are clsiming. So a total of £2675?

    Or would the figure be £2675 above plus any further court fees I add on?
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 19th Sep 17, 11:21 AM
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    sourcrates
    1. The Defendant has not acknowledged the debt in writing in the last six (6) years.

    2. The Defendant has not paid any part of this debt in the last six (6) years.

    3. The Defendant has reminded the Claimant that the debt has become statute barred in accordance with THE LIMITATION ACT 1980 (SECTION 5) (poss add in here how you reminded them, by letter dated XX/XX/XXXX or similar)

    4. The Defendant has requested copies of documents (agreement, default notice, assignment) mentioned in the particulars of claim in accordance with CPR 31.14 but the claimant has failed to comply with this request.

    5. ACCORDINGLY THE Defendant seeks the Claimants claim to be dismissed by the court as the debt is statute-barred under the Limitations Act 1980, Section 5.

    (Delete what does not apply)
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there, and delete spam.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 19th Sep 17, 11:44 AM
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    StopIt
    Last 3 questions I think.

    (1) Do I just simply write on the court form that I dispute the debt on the grounds that I 'think or believe' that it's statute barred?

    (2) Any response to my defence will just be via snail mail from the court?

    (3) If it they prove it is enforceable. What figure is enforced or do I negotiate on.

    £2047 which was the original amount owed?

    £2047 for the original debt plus the £517 interest and £110 court fees they are clsiming. So a total of £2675?

    Or would the figure be £2675 above plus any further court fees I add on?
    Originally posted by LostMeWay

    1: See Sourcrates post


    2: Yep. It'll likely be a hearing would be moved to your local court with a new date, and any responses to your defence will be sent to you I believe.


    3: They can't ask for the court fees unless if judgement is made against you, but maybe the interest to that point. Remember they would have bought the debt for far less than the face value, so even if you have to negotiate down from £2,500, you could get that figure lower.


    See how the defence goes first, then act accordingly. No point in settling until then when there is the possibility of it being statute barred.
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 20th Sep 17, 9:24 PM
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    LostMeWay
    Just me yet again.

    I should point out that I'm in Northern Ireland.

    If I dispute the debt for whatever reason, does the solicitors/DCA have to respond to my dispute or could they just take it further and the next minute I've a date to attend court?! If I claim it's statute barred do they have to prove to me it is or isn't before it can move any further in the court process?

    It's just I copied and pasted this from the website of the court-

    'If you do not agree with this claim you should complete and submit a Notice of Dispute, giving the reason why you feel this case should be disputed. Once the document is verified in the Civil Processing Centre it is then transferred to the court office entered on the original application (usually a local court office) for listing and hearing. You should lodge any documents which support your case with the Court Office in which the hearing is to be held, at least 10 days before the court hearing.'

    Listing and hearing?
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 21st Sep 17, 8:06 AM
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    StopIt
    Listing: Filing with the relevant court.


    Hearing: The actual court hearing, which if your defence is valid, would be uncontested.
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 6th Oct 17, 5:56 PM
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    LostMeWay
    Hello all.

    I've disputed the debt on the grounds that it's statute barred.

    It now says it's being transferred to a 'civil case'.

    What time limits are involved now?

    And if the debt company can prove the debt is legal to collect, do they have to let me know as soon as possible or could they just let the court process continue and let me know at a later time?

    Regards.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 6th Oct 17, 7:23 PM
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    fatbelly
    If the courts want you to do anything they will let you know what and when.
    • LostMeWay
    • By LostMeWay 15th Oct 17, 9:14 PM
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    LostMeWay
    Whilst I appreciate your reply fatbelly, surely there has to be some sort of time limit on the debt collection company to get their side in order? Or do they have the luxury of weeks or even months to prove to me and the court the debt isn't statute barred?

    Also if the debt isn't statute barred and they have proof, are they oblidged to inform myself and/or the court?
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 16th Oct 17, 9:56 AM
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    StopIt
    Whilst I appreciate your reply fatbelly, surely there has to be some sort of time limit on the debt collection company to get their side in order? Or do they have the luxury of weeks or even months to prove to me and the court the debt isn't statute barred?

    Also if the debt isn't statute barred and they have proof, are they oblidged to inform myself and/or the court?
    Originally posted by LostMeWay

    While they officially do have a time limit to get any reply in, the case will only be stayed until they actually do reply.


    Again, you will be informed about this, and any options you have going forward.


    And yes, if they produce evidence that the debt isn't statute barred, you'll be given the right to reply. By that point it's likely that they'll push a CCJ through and you'll have 30 days to pay to avoid it going on your credit files for 6 years.
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