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  • FIRST POST
    • Andy B67
    • By Andy B67 26th Nov 17, 11:15 AM
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    Andy B67
    Help with my mother's financial problems
    • #1
    • 26th Nov 17, 11:15 AM
    Help with my mother's financial problems 26th Nov 17 at 11:15 AM
    Hi. Some quick background.

    My mother is in her seventies and lives in sheltered housing. She is not in good health. She only receives her state pension and some benefit due to her health conditions. Last week my sister was visiting my mum when there was a phone call for my mum about a financial matter. My sister queried the nature of the call. This led to my mum reluctantly showing my sister the bank statements that she still had for the last few years. To my sister's shock there were all kinds of payments and direct debits to various companies. My mother unfortunately gets very confused and could not explain them even though she is making regular payments to these companies.

    For example she has a direct debit with a company called JD Williams. A catalogue company I believe. She pays them about £40.00 a month. She had some letters which showed that they had also referred her for payments for £128.28 and £147.94 to a debt recovery company called Lowell Financial Ltd. She pays them just over £5.00 per month. When I questioned my mother about this she was confused and said when she buys items from JD Williams she always pays at the time with her card so don't understand what these payments are for.

    She also has a direct debit with an organisation called The Claim People. Again my mother doesn't know what this is for! I can't seem to be able to locate such an organisation online.

    She was also until recently paying by direct debit a company called Baines And Ernst £27.00 per week!! And she's a pensioner!! My research suggests that they are a debt management company. Again my mother does not know who they are or why they were taking money off her. Because her bank statements only go back to early last year we don't know how long this arrangement had been in place and how much she had paid them.

    I also discovered that early last year my mother had paid over £750.00 to a company called We Fight Any Claim. At first my mother was nonplussed but then remembered that this was with regard to a PPI claim. She told me that she got back a little over £1000.00 from PPI but We Fight Any Claim charged her just over £750.00 for claiming on her behalf. This seems an incredibly high fee. My mother's details with regard the amount she got could be wrong as she is very confused.

    Unfortunately my mother has thrown out most of her paperwork so we can't be sure of what's been happening. So where do I begin?
    Contact JD Williams for more info about any debt? As for the Claim People should we stop the direct debit as we don't have anyone we contact? Is it worth contacting We Fight Any Claim for more information?

    Any advice would be gratefully received.
Page 1
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 26th Nov 17, 12:40 PM
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    sourcrates
    • #2
    • 26th Nov 17, 12:40 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Nov 17, 12:40 PM
    Hi, we move threads if we think they’ll get more help elsewhere so this post/thread has been moved to Debt-Free Wannabe. If you have any questions about this policy please email forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    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/
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 26th Nov 17, 12:46 PM
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    sourcrates
    • #3
    • 26th Nov 17, 12:46 PM
    • #3
    • 26th Nov 17, 12:46 PM
    Hi Andy,

    Strange situation to have to deal with, my thoughts would be to draw a line in the sand, so to speak, stop any further payments coming out of your mothers account, cancel the direct debts, then see who pops out of the woodwork.

    If payments are stopped, the companies concerned will all write to your mother asking why, they wont speak to you because of the data protection act, but that is your opportunity to write back, say you have no knowledge of this debt, and ask them to provide details, and to prove liability, make it look as though your mother has written the letter, at this stage keep your cards close to your chest until you find out whats going on here.

    If you can get access to her credit report, most debts will be listed on there, seems strange to me that she has any debt, when she says she pays in full ??

    First step though, cancel the payments, also check if she has any recurring debt card payments, if so, cancel those as well.

    To be safe you should cancel all her cards.
    Last edited by sourcrates; 26-11-2017 at 1:29 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    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/
    • pennystretcher
    • By pennystretcher 26th Nov 17, 1:02 PM
    • 312 Posts
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    pennystretcher
    • #4
    • 26th Nov 17, 1:02 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Nov 17, 1:02 PM
    First thing to do today is to check your mothers credit report - MSE offers access to this via https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/creditclub

    This will give you an indication what is going on and the key dates and figures you can start with.
    MFW Dec 2017 £290 (almost there!!!)
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 26th Nov 17, 3:50 PM
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    DawnW
    • #5
    • 26th Nov 17, 3:50 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Nov 17, 3:50 PM
    Would it be a good idea if you and your mother set up a power of attorney so that you could better help her?
    NSDs for December 4/15
    Decluttering 13/31

    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 26th Nov 17, 5:47 PM
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    Tarambor
    • #6
    • 26th Nov 17, 5:47 PM
    • #6
    • 26th Nov 17, 5:47 PM
    Would it be a good idea if you and your mother set up a power of attorney so that you could better help her?
    Originally posted by DawnW
    This. Ended up having to do this with my gran who ended up in a similar position.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 26th Nov 17, 10:30 PM
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    enthusiasticsaver
    • #7
    • 26th Nov 17, 10:30 PM
    • #7
    • 26th Nov 17, 10:30 PM
    I agree that a power of attorney may be worth looking at this stage.

    Cancel direct debits to all these companies. If you have contact addresses or account numbers you could write asking for details.

    Check your mums credit report on noddle
    2 weeks to go until early retirement in December . Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 27th Nov 17, 7:29 AM
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    foxgloves
    • #8
    • 27th Nov 17, 7:29 AM
    • #8
    • 27th Nov 17, 7:29 AM
    Yes, I agree that setting up power of attorney is needed here so that you can deal with these companies on your Mum's behalf.
    JD Williams is a mail order/online clothes catalogue type company. They advertise a lot in the sort of magazines an elderly woman might read. Usually the ads are for a specific item i.e a pack of bras & it's often a good deal. I once responded to one of these ads to buy an item for my Mum. Unless you read every scrap of teeny tiny small print, it looks very much as though you are simply responding to a one-off offer. So even though I paid for the item in full using my visa debit card, I soon received paperwork from them about my 'new account' with them, my credit limit & when I would receive my bills. I contacted them & said I had just responded to a magazine offer for that particular item. I had not set up a ctedit account & would not be using it so told them to close it, which they did. It could be that this is similar to how your Mum ended up with an account with them. I don't think this practice is unusual for these catalogue-type of firms, as they know they will sell more if they can get people to have a credit account. Interest can also be quite high on catalogue accounts so probably best avoided if your Mum is easily confused by financial matters.
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings grow!
    Loan pay-down fund instalment 2 = £120
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  • National Debtline
    • #9
    • 27th Nov 17, 10:09 AM
    • #9
    • 27th Nov 17, 10:09 AM
    Hi Andy


    Welcome to the forum. If you feel you don't need to apply for power of attorney, written permission from your mother for you to act on her behalf should be sufficient for you to deal with these companies. The first thing you certainly need to do is get more information. Contact each company and ask for full written details of any debts and payments being made.


    If you have any issues getting the information you can help your mother make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act. Companies must then provide any information they hold on her within 40 days, although be aware some may choose to charge a £10 fee for providing the information. You can use this sample letter to make the request https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/sampleletters/Pages/Personal-information-under-the-Data-Protection-Act-%28sole-name%29.aspx.


    Baines & Ernst were a fee charging debt management company who appear to have recently gone out of business. Looking online suggests MoneyPlus have taken over their cases. It's very important for you to try and check this as it's not a good idea for your mother to be in a debt management plan that charges her a fee. You can get in touch with one of the free debt advice agencies who can offer advice on your mother's best option to deal with the situation. I hope it all goes well.


    Susie
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • Andy B67
    • By Andy B67 27th Nov 17, 7:59 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Andy B67
    Hi everyone.

    Thanks so much for your responses.

    I contacted JD Williams today whilst at my mother's. They confirmed that the direct debit relating to them partly covered some very old debt of my mum's but some also covered two 'competitions' that my mum had agreed to enter over the telephone two years ago. One for Win 24 and the other Brilliant Savings. They were charging her combined £33.00 per month!! I rang them today and stopped them. My mother didn't seem to know anything about these. A google search suggests they are well dodgy and prey on the old and vulnerable. I asked JD Williams to send out a statement with my mother's debt. They told me they send one every month although my mother said she hasn't had one off them for years! RThey do have her correct address so maybe my mother is throwing them away in error. They are sending out new statements for me to look at anyway.

    I rang MoneyPlus with regard the payments to Baines And Ernst. They confirmed that a debt management plan had indeed been set up. The last payment my mother had made to this was in October of last year. When Moneyplus took over from Baines And Ernst they had tried to contact my mother to see if she wished to continue with the plan. As they couldn't contact her Moneyplus cancelled the agreement. I did manage to glean some information with regard some debts. Most were going back some years. Some my mother vaguely remembered but some not at all. With my mother's memory being so poor it's hard to know what debts she racked up in the past.

    With regard The Claim people, my mother is paying them £20.00 a month although she doesn't know why!! Unfortunately there is no website for this organisation. I found a phone number but that is dead. The gentleman at Moneyplus told me they process PPI claims and the like. When the Debt Management Plan was set up for my mother she had two separate accounts with The Claim People. On one she owes £589.21 and on the other £355.90!! This seems crazy. As I can't locate the Claim People should my mother really cancel the payment?

    Thanks again for any help. I will certainly consider power of attorney.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 27th Nov 17, 8:36 PM
    • 12,668 Posts
    • 11,995 Thanks
    sourcrates
    Yes, cancelling the payment will trigger a creditor response so opening an avenue of communication for you.

    You can then get more details then make a decision as to weather it’s a legitimate debt or not.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    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/
  • National Debtline
    Hi again Andy


    It's good to hear you've managed to find out a bit more. I would suggest you ask Moneyplus to send out all the information they have on your mother's case. This should have been passed over to them from Baines & Ernst, and hopefully will give you a fuller picture of the situation. Ideally you will need to know who she owes money to, and how much, in order to get advice on her best options.


    Stopping the payments to the Claim People is one option, it could well prompt them to get in touch. Bear in mind though that if your mother signed an agreement for them to recover PPI on her behalf she might be liable for the debt. This generally only applies if they did manage to get a PPI refund. Another option is to find the company details on the Companies House website https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/. That will give you a head office address that you could write to.


    Given your mother's circumstances it might be an option to ask these creditors to write off the debt if they have little prospect of recovering the money owed, plus the fact she is a pensioner with heath issues. One of the free debt advice agencies can give you more advice on this and other possible options. Good luck with it all.


    Susie
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • Andy B67
    • By Andy B67 29th Nov 17, 5:30 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Andy B67
    Thanks all for your replies. I'm going to ask my mother to stop the payments to The Claim People and await a response.

    With regard to my mother's claim for PPI with We Fight Any Claim. Is it likely that my mother has got her figures wrong or could the company really claim expenses of £750 plus when PPI of just over a £1000.00 was found? This seems like downright robbery to me! She certainly paid this amount to them.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 29th Nov 17, 8:12 PM
    • 12,668 Posts
    • 11,995 Thanks
    sourcrates
    Thanks all for your replies. I'm going to ask my mother to stop the payments to The Claim People and await a response.

    With regard to my mother's claim for PPI with We Fight Any Claim. Is it likely that my mother has got her figures wrong or could the company really claim expenses of £750 plus when PPI of just over a £1000.00 was found? This seems like downright robbery to me! She certainly paid this amount to them.
    Originally posted by Andy B67
    These private claims companies can charge what they like unfortunately, there is very little regulation.

    Its typically 30% they charge for this kind of thing.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    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/
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