'Mental Capacity and Debt, new OFT consultation' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.

Please click 'post reply' to discuss below.
«13

Replies

  • I'm not directly concerned with mental capacity and the ability to handle debt, but have experience of a close family member (who has mental health problems, but is not disabled by them) who has run up online gambling debts. What worries me is the way that gambling intrudes into the lives of those not strong enough to resist it, or who may be predisposed to become addicted to it. I wish this government would or could do something to tighten up online gaming as it leads to horrendous levels of debt and then to even worse personal and financial problems.
  • I suffer from Dyspraxia and epilepsy. The combination of which including all the medication makes my brain work very slowly and I don't always understand the suttleties of what people say. I therefore get caught out very easily by people phoning me up trying to sell me things, I have had to cancel my bank cards soo many times and I'm just waiting for creditors to knock on the door for contracts I've verbaly agreed to that I can't even remember ( memory loss being another side effect).
  • It has probably been covered, but people with problems such as bi-polar or it's variants have manic phases in which they will commit themselves to allsorts and make purchases they can ill afford. The problem is that it really depends on how long that phase lasts as to whether goods can be returned or if they have been used etc before the phase ends. The other side is that once themanic phase is over, if a depressive state is entered immediately, the person really will not be in a position to deal with what they have done. Many sufferers don't have understanding family, friends or carers to deal with these issues either.
  • I have a friend whos brother has aspergers and he is obsessed with mobile phones - he is forever walking into phone shops and taking out contracts for phones. He also will accept any telesales calls and is very vulnerable to door step sellers.
    Real support has to be given to those who havent the mental capacity to control their finances.
  • edited 7 December 2010 at 10:48PM
    ArthurianArthurian Forumite
    739 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    ✭✭
    edited 7 December 2010 at 10:48PM
    Good news. Just because someone can sign their name doesn't mean they understand what they are signing. And just because someone has not been diagnosed with a mental health condition (e.g., an elderly lady who is getting gradually more and more forgetful and frail, and who grew up in simpler and more trusting times) doesn't mean they are fully aware of all modern scams and the possible pitfalls hidden in the small print.

    If the OFT go ahead with this for debt/credit agreements, should they extend it to all sorts of purchases? I'm thinking of junk mail offers such as expensive massage chairs for the elderly, or 'free' offers which contract the vulnerable into monthly payments for a year.

    Perhaps the OFT could agree that a doctor's letter should be adequate proof that a contract should never have been taken out in the first place because this person has mental capacity issues. It would be much cheaper and quicker than a Lasting Power of Attorney.
  • Arthurian wrote: »
    Perhaps the OFT could agree that a doctor's letter should be adequate proof that a contract should never have been taken out in the first place because this person has mental capacity issues. It would be much cheaper and quicker than a Lasting Power of Attorney.

    A doctor's letter is not sufficient to assess mental capacity for other areas, so it really should not be here. There is a fine line between protecting the most vulnerable and allowing anyone with the slightest mental health issue get out of paying their debts.
    Gone ... or have I?
  • eng_2eng_2 Forumite
    10 Posts
    This subject has worried me for so long. I have a son with mental health problems that has left him with the idea that he is going to start a business and be a millionaire. He has more than one idea and everyone is in a different area. He thinks he'll borrow the money. I have been trying to explain that loan sharks is a no go and that you need to have a good income for a bank loan. Being negative is also seen as not believing in him. I am so worried his vulnerability will be taken advantage of.
  • eng_2eng_2 Forumite
    10 Posts
    continuing from my last post my son joins things that require monthly payments and gets tied into contracts he doesn't need. He has 2 mobile phone contracts and rarely makes a call
  • It has probably been covered, but people with problems such as bi-polar or it's variants have manic phases in which they will commit themselves to allsorts and make purchases they can ill afford. The problem is that it really depends on how long that phase lasts as to whether goods can be returned or if they have been used etc before the phase ends. The other side is that once themanic phase is over, if a depressive state is entered immediately, the person really will not be in a position to deal with what they have done. Many sufferers don't have understanding family, friends or carers to deal with these issues either.

    This is exactly what happened to me, Now I find myself with crippling debt, i've managed to contact Christians Against Poverty who are acting on my behalf but it will be many years before i'm free of these debts, thankfully i'm now in a relationship and my partner now has control over my finances and stops me when I'm in the manic phase
  • edited 8 December 2010 at 1:17PM
    ReaperReaper Forumite
    7.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 8 December 2010 at 1:17PM
    Would a register work?

    I'm thinking a vulnerable person could agree to require the signature of a second person (eg a close relative) on all financial contracts. The contract would not be valid or enforcable unless both people had signed.

    Companies would be able to look up whether a second signature is required. A new register would be one way but even simpler would be to just flag it on existing credit reference checks.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides