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Struggling with debt? Ask a debt adviser a question

edited 24 July 2018 at 1:41PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
1.3K replies 268.7K views
Former_MSE_AndreaFormer_MSE_Andrea Former MSE
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edited 24 July 2018 at 1:41PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
If you need help with your debts, this is the thread for you.

Trained advisers from StepChange Debt Charity (formerly CCCS) are here and waiting to answer your debt questions. They're a friendly bunch so please don't be shy!

There are three ways to get in touch:

1 - Simply post your question below and the team will reply. If your question is about bankruptcy, then pop over to the Bankruptcy board.

2 - If you would prefer to ask a question in private, feel free to send a message to StepChange Private Messages.

3 - StepChange Debt Remedy is a free and confidential online debt advice tool. You can put a budget together at your pace, and you can also talk it over with an adviser through online chat.

If you're a StepChange Debt Charity client already, please contact its Aftercare team rather than posting in this thread (their contact details are in your Welcome Pack).

If you're self employed and need debt help please get in touch with Business Debtline.

This is discussion thread part four, see parts one, two and three.

If you haven't already, join the forum to reply!
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Replies

  • izbooizboo Forumite
    21 posts
    Hi,


    Due to a combination of gambling addition and losing my job I am in a financial mess and have a couple of questions about setting up a DMP. In brief, my income (JSA) is less than my priority outgoings (mortgage, council tax etc), I have considerable credit card debt but do have some equity in my house. Up until now I was looking to get a new job and then re-mortgage to consolidate all debts. With this target in mind my family had been giving (gifting) me money to keep the mortgage up to date and up until last month I had also been up to date with credit card payments but have subsequently failed to make the minimum on two of them. Unfortunately my circumstances have now changed and with little likelihood of me getting and keeping a (well paid) job in the near future I have to reconsider my position. As of now I will not be able to afford the minimum payments to all the cc debt and my family will not be able to help me out with the mortgage indefinitely.


    My new plan is to prepare and market my house for sale which would (in theory) release enough money to pay all current debt (mortgage and credit cards) but it will probably be a couple of months before I am in a position to market the house and therefore a minimum of four months before any sale completes.


    Having used the online Stepway assessment tool it seems to me that all I can currently offer the unsecured creditors is a token payment.


    My question is what should I tell my creditors? I intend to set up a self regulated DMP and obviously will send them a copy of my income/expenditure statement to prove I cannot currently pay anything other than a token but:


    1) Should I let them that I am intending to sell the house in order to honour the full outstanding balances or should I simply say that I intend to resume normal payments when my circumstances improve?


    2) If I do tell them I am planning to sell the house will it make them less likely to suspend interest and other charges?


    Any thoughts on these two points would be most welcome.


    Izboo
  • Hi

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for your post.

    I’m sorry to hear about what’s happened and that you’ve been having difficulties with your council tax.

    Unfortunately, anyone liable to pay council tax loses the right to pay by instalments if they miss a payment and are then unable bring their payments up to date within 14 days of receiving a reminder notice.

    I’m assuming you missed this deadline, as you weren’t aware of the reminder notice which means your council can demand that the council tax be paid in full even if it’s not the end of the tax year.

    If you feel this wasn’t explained to you when you called your council in August you could make a complaint. Your council’s complaints procedure should be available on their website.

    At the hearing in August the council will have applied for a liability order. This allows them to take further action to recover the debt and application costs are usually applied to the outstanding council tax.

    Equita are also allowed to add fees once they’re instructed to recover a debt. This will likely account for the £127 still outstanding. Equita may not be aware that you’ve paid your council tax, so it would be a good idea to let them know so they can update their records. This may be why they're still asking you to repay £426.

    If you’re unable to repay the remaining balance owed to Equita in one go, we can help you to work out what is affordable, here are our contact details.

    In the meantime you can find information about what enforcement agents can and can’t do on our website, here’s the link.

    I hope this helps.

    Linsi






    lulublulub wrote: »
    Thank you and I hope you can help.

    I will try to keep this short.
    I paid a lump sum on my council tax which took me to July '16, halfway through the month.
    I didn't get the first notice that the remaining balance of July was due. (it had been hidden by my housemate who is dyslexic and has a tendency to hide letters).
    I then received a hearing letter in August, upon which I rang the council.
    Speaking with a live advisor, I requested the amount which would bring me up to date and paid that over the phone.
    I then was under the impression that my next month's payment would be due by the end of the month as usual.
    I then received a letter from Equita and, not wanting to deal with them (I won't pay my council tax to a private company, sorry), I rang the council again.
    Long story short, the hearing in August had gone ahead (?) and apparently I was liable to pay the council tax IN FULL.
    After a long conversation where the council rep insisted that the money had to be paid to Equita, I said to the advisor 'so, if I pay the council tax directly to the council, in full, you would not accept the money?'. She confirmed that they would not refuse any payment. I paid in full.
    I am now receiving threatening letters from Equita. my council account shows that all council tax was paid, but there is now a charge on it for £127 for the bailiff.
    Equita is demanding £426.

    my questions are:
    what is the legal standing of the bailiff and of the council?
    how should I deal with these bailiffs?
    as it is not even the end of the year and my council tax is paid in full, how is any of this acceptable?

    I am a reasonably confident individual who pays all my bills on time and I find this difficult. how the hell do people deal with this who are less secure, both financially and socially? horrible.

    thank you for any advice you can give.
  • Hi,


    I currently have 2 credit cards, one with Lloyds and one with Barclaycard. I never miss a payment however the interest on the Barclaycard is tedious and it is as though I am not making any payments and cant see any light at the end of the tunnel!! I owe £2,700 on each card. I pay £60 on the Lloyds and £80 on the Barclaycard.


    I approached my bank for a consolidation loan but they couldn't offer me one at the moment as I had a student account but I want to get this sorted sooner rather than later as I'm 22 and need to start saving for a mortgage.


    Can anyone offer me advice on what to do? I can afford to make the minimum payments but the interest is killing me!
  • Hi sorry too gate crash your post but linsi does not have a direct/pm message thing set up.

    I just have a quick step change question, i did had a step change debt management plan but i decided too take everything on my self.

    If i still have my client reference number for stepchange would they be able too provide me with all the sort codes and account numbers of my creditors if i rang them? Or post something out.

    I have something like 10-15 creditors but 2-3 i am having issues with ie Vodafone and Pounds too pocket.
    debts 16550
    Mortgage 69500
  • Hi, I require some desperate help please.....this is what has happened:

    1) Received county claim form for Stature barred debt over 10 years now. The date on the claim form was 3 weeks later to when I received.

    2) By the time I could respond, I received judgement against me.

    3) I have applied for set aside, quoting that debt is statue barred and I did not have time to respond to claim form. I also selected on the set aside application that I want "No hearing"

    4) Now my set aside application has been moved from Northampton to Croydon where I live and I have received correspondence from Northampton that I will be invited for hearing at county court.

    The value of debt claimed is 12 k and with all addl interests charged. the loan is statue barred and I have not responded to anyone in the last 8-9 years, made no payment or acknowledged in any shape or form. What do I do in the hearing please? and what do I do from now?

    Please help, my credit rating is good and this judgement has destroyed everything.

    Thanks
    Vin
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • Hi, I require some desperate help please.....this is what has happened:

    1) Received county claim form for Stature barred debt over 10 years now. The date on the claim form was 3 weeks later to when I received.

    2) By the time I could respond, I received judgement against me.

    3) I have applied for set aside, quoting that debt is statue barred and I did not have time to respond to claim form. I also selected on the set aside application that I want "No hearing"

    4) Now my set aside application has been moved from Northampton to Croydon where I live and I have received correspondence from Northampton that I will be invited for hearing at county court.

    The value of debt claimed is 12 k and with all addl interests charged. the loan is statue barred and I have not responded to anyone in the last 8-9 years, made no payment or acknowledged in any shape or form. What do I do in the hearing please? and what do I do from now?

    Please help, my credit rating is good and this judgement has destroyed everything.

    Thanks
    Vin
  • CISCIS Forumite
    11.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for your post.

    I’m sorry to hear about what’s happened and that you’ve been having difficulties with your council tax.

    Unfortunately, anyone liable to pay council tax loses the right to pay by instalments if they miss a payment and are then unable bring their payments up to date within 14 days of receiving a reminder notice.

    I’m assuming you missed this deadline, as you weren’t aware of the reminder notice which means your council can demand that the council tax be paid in full even if it’s not the end of the tax year.

    If you feel this wasn’t explained to you when you called your council in August you could make a complaint. Your council’s complaints procedure should be available on their website.

    At the hearing in August the council will have applied for a liability order. This allows them to take further action to recover the debt and application costs are usually applied to the outstanding council tax.

    Equita are also allowed to add fees once they’re instructed to recover a debt. This will likely account for the £127 still outstanding. Equita may not be aware that you’ve paid your council tax, so it would be a good idea to let them know so they can update their records. This may be why they're still asking you to repay £426.

    If you’re unable to repay the remaining balance owed to Equita in one go, we can help you to work out what is affordable, here are our contact details.

    In the meantime you can find information about what enforcement agents can and can’t do on our website, here’s the link.

    I hope this helps.

    Linsi

    Slight correction to this regarding reminder notices:

    You lose the right to instalments if you fail to pay within the initial 7 day period from the date the reminder is issued. If you fail to pay within the initial 7 days then it is at this point that you lose the right to pay by instalments and the full outstanding balance becomes due within a further 7 days.

    If you fail to clear the full balance within that second 7 day period than a court summons can be issued at the end of that period (i.e. 14 days after the reminder is issued).

    Regulation 23(3) of the Council Tax (administration & enforcement) regs 1992

    If it was a final notice, for a third payment default, then you would lose the right to pay by instalments as soon as the notice was issued. You then have 14 days to pay the full balance or a court summons could be issued at the end of the 14 day period.

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • StepChange_RachaelStepChange_Rachael Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    375 posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts
    ✭✭
    Hi

    Thanks for your post and welcome to the forum.

    I can understand your frustration when you feel you’re not making progress paying off the debt because of the interest added.

    When you’re able to make the minimum payments and this isn’t causing you to struggle with your household bills and priority expenses it’s a positive thing as the creditors can’t take any further action.

    Consolidating debt doesn’t always solve the debt problem as interest or payments can be high as well.

    Where the minimum payments can be met and extra paid towards the debt this will bring down the debt quicker, but only if you have the funds available to do this. This might mean working out a realistic budget and sticking to it on a monthly basis and cutting back on unnecessary areas of spending where possible.

    You could also try to find ways of reducing the interest by seeing if there are any cheaper options. I don't generally advise on further borrowing but if the only issue is the interest then it might be worth seeing if the balance's could be transferred, reducing the debt total and time for it to be paid back.

    This would depend on your financial situation and credit file to see if you're eligible but it’s worth considering.

    Here is a link to find out more about this as an option from the moneysavingexpert.com.

    Best of luck,
    Rachael



    Hi,


    I currently have 2 credit cards, one with Lloyds and one with Barclaycard. I never miss a payment however the interest on the Barclaycard is tedious and it is as though I am not making any payments and cant see any light at the end of the tunnel!! I owe £2,700 on each card. I pay £60 on the Lloyds and £80 on the Barclaycard.


    I approached my bank for a consolidation loan but they couldn't offer me one at the moment as I had a student account but I want to get this sorted sooner rather than later as I'm 22 and need to start saving for a mortgage.


    Can anyone offer me advice on what to do? I can afford to make the minimum payments but the interest is killing me!
    I work as a debt advisor for StepChange Debt Charity and have specific permission from Martin to post on these boards to try and help those in debt. Read more information on StepChange Debt Charity in the Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help article. If you find you're struggling with debt and you need further help try our online advice facility Debt Remedy.

    Don't be afraid of getting debt advice. We'll help you take one more step towards getting help with your debt.
  • StepChange_RachaelStepChange_Rachael Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    375 posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts
    ✭✭
    Hi

    Thanks for posting.

    Not a problem, we’ll take a look into the private message facility, thanks for letting us know.

    You can certainly contact us with your client reference number and we’ll be able to discuss with you your old plan.

    If you’re struggling with a few of your creditors and have any concerns or questions we’ll be able to discuss this with you further when you call.

    Here are our contact details.

    Thanks,

    Rachael



    Hi sorry too gate crash your post but linsi does not have a direct/pm message thing set up.

    I just have a quick step change question, i did had a step change debt management plan but i decided too take everything on my self.

    If i still have my client reference number for stepchange would they be able too provide me with all the sort codes and account numbers of my creditors if i rang them? Or post something out.

    I have something like 10-15 creditors but 2-3 i am having issues with ie Vodafone and Pounds too pocket.
    I work as a debt advisor for StepChange Debt Charity and have specific permission from Martin to post on these boards to try and help those in debt. Read more information on StepChange Debt Charity in the Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help article. If you find you're struggling with debt and you need further help try our online advice facility Debt Remedy.

    Don't be afraid of getting debt advice. We'll help you take one more step towards getting help with your debt.
  • StepChange_RachaelStepChange_Rachael Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    375 posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts
    ✭✭
    Hi Vin

    Thanks for your post.

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had difficulties with this debt.

    What you’ll need to do is provide as much information and evidence that you believe the debt is statute barred when you attend the hearing. It’s very important that you do attend.

    If you’ve any evidence of the last time a payment was made or the last time you acknowledged the debt then I’d suggest taking this with you.

    It would then be up to the creditor to provide evidence that the debt isn’t statute barred.

    The court will then decide from this information how to proceed and whether they’ll agree the debt is statute barred and set the debt aside.

    If the court agrees this would stop any enforcement action for the debt and remove the note on your credit file.

    The creditor shouldn’t be in contact with you until the hearing where the dispute will be settled.

    Take care,
    Rachael


    vinghj wrote: »
    Hi, I require some desperate help please.....this is what has happened:

    1) Received county claim form for Stature barred debt over 10 years now. The date on the claim form was 3 weeks later to when I received.

    2) By the time I could respond, I received judgement against me.

    3) I have applied for set aside, quoting that debt is statue barred and I did not have time to respond to claim form. I also selected on the set aside application that I want "No hearing"

    4) Now my set aside application has been moved from Northampton to Croydon where I live and I have received correspondence from Northampton that I will be invited for hearing at county court.

    The value of debt claimed is 12 k and with all addl interests charged. the loan is statue barred and I have not responded to anyone in the last 8-9 years, made no payment or acknowledged in any shape or form. What do I do in the hearing please? and what do I do from now?

    Please help, my credit rating is good and this judgement has destroyed everything.

    Thanks
    Vin
    I work as a debt advisor for StepChange Debt Charity and have specific permission from Martin to post on these boards to try and help those in debt. Read more information on StepChange Debt Charity in the Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help article. If you find you're struggling with debt and you need further help try our online advice facility Debt Remedy.

    Don't be afraid of getting debt advice. We'll help you take one more step towards getting help with your debt.
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