Mental health/learning disabilities - out of control spending

in Debt-free wannabe
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I write on behalf of my mother, who is severely dyslexic and has suffered with poor mental health for the majority of her life. I am attempting to get her finances in order. The only income she receives is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) fortnightly and has outstanding debts <£5,000 to various credit cards, store accounts etc.

Can anyone advise me if there is a national database (or similar) where her name and address can be blocked from acquiring credit products, such as cards and store loans? She has been able to get new credit products in her name, despite having a CCJ against her. Are the credit lenders liable under any circumstances? Thanks in advance for your advice and guidance! 

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  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    The lenders can be liable if they haven't checked that you mother can afford the amounts she is borrowing. Your mother can ask for the information that they used to check that she could afford the products via a Subject Access Request. You can't request the information unless you have a Power of Attorney for her. You might want to look into a Power of Attourney for her. She needs to have the capacity to make a Power of Attorney before you can use it.

    If the information that the lender holds clearly shows that your mother could not afford to repay the credit that they gave her, she can complain to the lender, and then to the Financial Ombudsman. 

    Unfortanately, you it is unlikely that it will be clear cut. You mother has some income, and may have been able to afford to borrow something. If she has not been honest with them about other borrowing she has, you will find it harder to complain unless this borrowing appeared on her credit report, or her mental health was clearly not up to agreeing to the lending.    

    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • RickyZalmanRickyZalman Forumite
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    Thank you so much for this information @tacpot12 - it's really appreciated!
  • edited 9 April 2022 at 9:42AM
    Friday1989Friday1989 Forumite
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    edited 9 April 2022 at 9:42AM
    Without knowing your mother I can't comment on her capacity to manage her finances (either day to day spending and/or complex financial decisions) so this is definitely not advice, just general information.

    If someone lacks capacity to manage their finances an appointee can act on their behalf to manage their benefits. This can be done through DWP https://www.gov.uk/become-appointee-for-someone-claiming-benefits

    If they lack capacity to manage other finances then they can have a deputy appointed through the Court of Protection. This is not free to arrange so, in my experience, it tends to be the local authority who apply and take on this role https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy

    You haven't mentioned whether your mother is open to mental health services or receives any support through adult social care. If so, you might consider bringing this up with them. 

    In a professional capacity, I have liaised with banks and catalogues to prevent further credit being taken out and to have debts cancelled when people I worked with had debts and these were taken out when it was likely they lacked capacity. I just had to send them evidence of this.. Even when they haven't lacked capacity, I've managed to speak to catalogues with the person present and get them to stop further credit being taken out because of severe mental illness and vulnerability. 

    If they have capacity, a third party mandate can be arranged with their bank (each bank usually has their own form). This means the person agrees another person can carry out every day banking actions such as paying bills, checking bank statements and decreasing card limits. If your mother thinks this might be helpful, it's an option for her to get some help to keep track of spending and make sure important payments are made. Ordinary power of attorney is similar but applies to all of their banks. Both of these are only an option if they have capacity to make decisions about their finances and to understand what agreeing to this entails. 

    If your mother has fluctuating capacity (e.g. bipolar disorder, when a person may have capacity between episodes but not during a manic episode), Lasting Power of Attorney is an option. As @tacpot12 said, the person can only arrange this when a person has capacity. It cannot be arranged when they lack capacity. 

    It's a difficult situation for you to be in, do you receive any support for yourself as a carer? 
    Mortgage at 30: £204,750  (08/2020)
    Current mortgage: £169,237 (01/23)
    Goal: £145,000 by 02/2025
    End goal: Mortgage free asap! 
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    If your mother has capacity but is making unwise decisions then there isn’t any action you can take without her consent.

    Mental illness in and of itself doesn’t automatically mean someone lacks capacity around her finances and financial institutions cannot make that presumption without being discriminatory.
    Affordability checks are a different issue - is your mother being honest about her income on the application forms? 

    Have you discussed this with your mother, and what is her take on the issue? 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • BadDebtorBadDebtor Forumite
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    I write on behalf of my mother, who is severely dyslexic and has suffered with poor mental health for the majority of her life. I am attempting to get her finances in order. The only income she receives is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) fortnightly and has outstanding debts <£5,000 to various credit cards, store accounts etc.

    Can anyone advise me if there is a national database (or similar) where her name and address can be blocked from acquiring credit products, such as cards and store loans? She has been able to get new credit products in her name, despite having a CCJ against her. Are the credit lenders liable under any circumstances? Thanks in advance for your advice and guidance! 
    Thanks for raising this, my Ex had this disease, they would run up debt to buy clothes and other stuff they never wanted or needed,it is a form of depression.

    I lost count of the number of times we bailed her out, we have blacklists for gambling so why not for debt?

    The only way I know to blacklst her is for her to wreck her credit record.

    If she has no assets then she could borrow so much that she can never pay it off (up to say £25k) do cash withdrawals to keep a nest egg of cash or gamble it away. Then pay nothing and get a DRO, it is of course totally irresponsible, but to me it is the banks/credit cards who are being irresponsible by lending to someone on such a low income.

    In a year she will be in same position, never likely to pay it off and it will get wiped.  It is like a mini bankruptcy so they are not allowed to chase the debts again.

    Alternatively get her to stop paying the money she owes, (again assuming she has no assets), a default will be registered and the debt will be sold, she must then never engage, pay or acknowledge the debt, change her phone number and wait 6 years for it to go  off statute.

    Considering she has a mental health condition she could write to all the CCard companies saying she has a condition and they should never lend to her or if they do then they agree it will not be repaid.

  • poppy10_2poppy10_2 Forumite
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    You can get a credit freeze from the main credit checking companies


    Of course the person can always lift their own credit freeze at any time but at least this provides an additional step that can act as a brake against impulsive borrowing



    poppy10
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