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  • FIRST POST
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 21st Jul 19, 2:51 PM
    • 18,759Posts
    • 17,671Thanks
    sourcrates
    Struggling with debt? Ask a stepchange debt adviser a question
    • #1
    • 21st Jul 19, 2:51 PM
    Struggling with debt? Ask a stepchange debt adviser a question 21st Jul 19 at 2:51 PM
    If you need help with your debts, this is the thread for you.

    This is a new thread, as the old one was getting a tad long.


    Trained advisers from StepChange Debt Charity 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 five, see parts one, two three and four: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5559140.


    If you haven't already, join the forum to reply!
    Last edited by sourcrates; 22-07-2019 at 12:47 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File and Ratings, 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 expressed are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, CitizensAdviceBureaux.
Page 2
  • StepChange_Kirsty
    Hi there,

    Thanks for your post and welcome to the forum.

    A debt would not be statute barred if the other party has been making payments to the debt within the last 6 years (based on a personal loan regulated under the Consumer Credit Act). This is covered in The Limitations Act 1980 s.31(7).

    The concerning point here is that you believe your ex-wife has taken out credit in your name without your permission which sounds like fraud. I would recommend reporting this matter to Action Fraud either through their website or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

    I hope this helps.

    Kirsty



    New to this forum, hope I am doing this right.
    I was divorced in 2001. My ex wife was given the house in the settlement and I kept my pension. Recently I have received a letter from a company called Dryden Fairfax Solicitors concerning a joint debt we have to Arrow Global Limited. I have never had any dealings with either company. They were offering a discounted debt settlement.I would like to know if the debt I supposedly owe is statute barred under the limitation act as I have not paid any money or had any contact with either firm? I believe my ex wife was making minimal payments. I was not able to get off the mortgage when we divorced as my ex was not earning at the time, she has not bothered to have me removed since. I am concerned she has used the joint mortgage to get a joint loan somehow. I do not want to contact the solicitors yet in case it affects any possible action against me. Please help!
    Originally posted by Keefvilla
    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.
    • Smileyt
    • By Smileyt 16th Aug 19, 2:19 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Smileyt
    Hi, I'm currently helping a friend sort out her finances. We've done her income/expenditure and she's massively overspending. I am going to work with her on cutting down, meal planning, swapping phone providers etc. Basic 'belt tightening'.

    She has around £9000 on credit cards and is now frequently going over her arranged overdraft limit so is getting hit with fees.

    I have suggested she diverts the money she is currently putting into a savings account towards paying down the credit cards. I showed her the repayment calculator which showed her that if she did so, she could reduce the repayment time from 19 years and £20000 interest to around 3 years a a couple of grand in interest. The cards are those 'rebuild your credit score' cards. However, her credit score has fallen again because she is maxed out financially.

    I don't know the technical term, but she has been paying in for years to one of those saving schemes where you get your money plus some kind of dividend on maturity. If she misses a single payment she gets no dividend, and if she cashes in early she gets no dividend. She might also be penalised, but I don't know that for sure.

    If there's enough in that saving scheme to wipe out her cards and overdraft, would it be worth her cashing it in now? Of course, only if the final dividend would be less than the interest she will pay on her card debt and overdraft fees. She could then hopefully rebuild her credit rating sensibly so that she could apply for a cheaper credit card or loan if needed for emergencies in a couple of years' time. I think she would be able to cut down and be more sensible because she's had a real shock after seeing the actual figures. Also, she is going to give her credit cards to me so she can't impulse buy!

    Should I suggest this to her or is it a bad idea? She trusts me because I have never been in debt (I have a muscly 'delayed-gratification-think-it through gland!! ) in spite of being on a low income due to good budgeting skills. But I'm not a debt counsellor so I don't want to advise the wrong thing!

    Thank you for reading.
    • Helsbelsgem
    • By Helsbelsgem 21st Aug 19, 7:42 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Helsbelsgem
    Hi

    Grateful to see this thread. I’m helping my brother sort out his debts. He’s been chronically ill the last 3 years, and lost his job as a GP. He told us in January that he hadn’t contacted or paid HMRC for 6 years. Since then I’ve been working with a tax accountant to fill in the missing tax returns, reduce his penalties etc. I have lasting power of attorney to deal with HMRC on his behalf. Just heard today that HMRC has reduced his bill from £52k to £22k, which is good news, but interest will accrue until it is paid. Wondering about the next step
    - My brother is too ill to work and most likely will not work again so there is no way of paying back via a regular amount
    - My brother’s wife works and supports him and their son but everything goes on the mortgage etc
    - They have a house, but I would hate for them to sell to settle up the debt as the illness has been hard on my sister in law and nephew
    - My Dad has some savings but not a lot, and I have no savings but work and haven a regular income

    My next thought is to get advice and approach a debt advice charity, hence this message. I also thought I’d approach HMRC direct. Any advice gratefully received, I don’t know who is liable for the debt and whether we should try and pay it as a family. Many thanks
    Last edited by Helsbelsgem; 21-08-2019 at 7:57 AM.
  • Former StepChange_Linsi
    Hi

    Thanks for your post, sorry weíve not bee able to respond sooner.

    If someone canít afford their debt repayments, then cancelling payments into a sharesave scheme is usually a good idea. It should be possible to withdraw the money deposited into the scheme and use this to clear/reduce the debts starting with priorities such as rent, mortgage and utility arrears if applicable.

    There are some situations where weíd suggest continuing with the sharesave scheme if for example itís due to end within 12 months.

    If cashing in the savings would clear the debt now, this may be a better option for your friend. Sheíd be debt free and not have to worry about dealing with creditors and juggling credit card payments.

    For more specific advice on the best way forward Iíd recommend your friend use our online Debt Remedy tool before deciding. Hereís the link.

    I hope this helps,

    Linsi

    Hi, I'm currently helping a friend sort out her finances. We've done her income/expenditure and she's massively overspending. I am going to work with her on cutting down, meal planning, swapping phone providers etc. Basic 'belt tightening'.

    She has around £9000 on credit cards and is now frequently going over her arranged overdraft limit so is getting hit with fees.

    I have suggested she diverts the money she is currently putting into a savings account towards paying down the credit cards. I showed her the repayment calculator which showed her that if she did so, she could reduce the repayment time from 19 years and £20000 interest to around 3 years a a couple of grand in interest. The cards are those 'rebuild your credit score' cards. However, her credit score has fallen again because she is maxed out financially.

    I don't know the technical term, but she has been paying in for years to one of those saving schemes where you get your money plus some kind of dividend on maturity. If she misses a single payment she gets no dividend, and if she cashes in early she gets no dividend. She might also be penalised, but I don't know that for sure.

    If there's enough in that saving scheme to wipe out her cards and overdraft, would it be worth her cashing it in now? Of course, only if the final dividend would be less than the interest she will pay on her card debt and overdraft fees. She could then hopefully rebuild her credit rating sensibly so that she could apply for a cheaper credit card or loan if needed for emergencies in a couple of years' time. I think she would be able to cut down and be more sensible because she's had a real shock after seeing the actual figures. Also, she is going to give her credit cards to me so she can't impulse buy!

    Should I suggest this to her or is it a bad idea? She trusts me because I have never been in debt (I have a muscly 'delayed-gratification-think-it through gland!! ) in spite of being on a low income due to good budgeting skills. But I'm not a debt counsellor so I don't want to advise the wrong thing!

    Thank you for reading.
    Originally posted by Smileyt
  • Former StepChange_Linsi
    Hi

    Welcome to the forum.

    Iím sorry to hear your brother is unwell and unable to work. From what youíve explained I do think getting in touch with a debt advice charity such as ours would be a good idea.

    You can find our number and opening times here.

    Weíll start by creating a budget for your brother taking the household income and living costs into account. This will then help us tailor our advice and recommend the best solution to help with this debt and any others your brother may have.

    If you speak to HMRC before us, itís worth letting them know your brother is in financially difficulty but seeking advice from StepChange. It sounds like your brother is solely liable for this debt, but you can check with HMRC if youíre unsure.

    We hope to hear from you soon.

    Linsi

    Hi

    Grateful to see this thread. Iím helping my brother sort out his debts. Heís been chronically ill the last 3 years, and lost his job as a GP. He told us in January that he hadnít contacted or paid HMRC for 6 years. Since then Iíve been working with a tax accountant to fill in the missing tax returns, reduce his penalties etc. I have lasting power of attorney to deal with HMRC on his behalf. Just heard today that HMRC has reduced his bill from £52k to £22k, which is good news, but interest will accrue until it is paid. Wondering about the next step
    - My brother is too ill to work and most likely will not work again so there is no way of paying back via a regular amount
    - My brotherís wife works and supports him and their son but everything goes on the mortgage etc
    - They have a house, but I would hate for them to sell to settle up the debt as the illness has been hard on my sister in law and nephew
    - My Dad has some savings but not a lot, and I have no savings but work and haven a regular income

    My next thought is to get advice and approach a debt advice charity, hence this message. I also thought Iíd approach HMRC direct. Any advice gratefully received, I donít know who is liable for the debt and whether we should try and pay it as a family. Many thanks
    Originally posted by Helsbelsgem
    • Shug76
    • By Shug76 23rd Aug 19, 11:58 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Shug76
    Overseas Debt
    Is a debt from the UAE enforceable in Scotland by a dca from england who do not own thd debt and are meerly acting on their behalf?
    • bestfootie
    • By bestfootie 23rd Aug 19, 1:30 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    bestfootie
    Money Transfer to Clear Overdraft prior to writing to creditors?
    Hi

    Urgent reply much appreciated here.

    I have a friend who has spoken in confidence to a debt relief charity. He has a strategy and clear structure of what he will do.

    My friend tells me he has circa £3k in overdraft (at the limit of his overdraft). Before writing to his creditors as the first step, should he make a money transfer to clear the overdraft or a money transfer to clear the overdraft + a sum of money to put the bank account in credit?

    The reason he asks is that once he is in discussions with credit card companies re paying back debts to them, he assumes they'll freeze the credit cards and he will not be able to spend on them any further. At least if he makes the money transfer he can just spend on essentials from his bank account?

    Thoughts please so I can advise!

    Thanks

    K
    • bestfootie
    • By bestfootie 23rd Aug 19, 5:57 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    bestfootie
    why on earth don't any of these credit card companies have an email address to send documents to?! It's like they're trying to make life as difficult as possible for people in debt!
    • bestfootie
    • By bestfootie 28th Aug 19, 3:20 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    bestfootie
    could someone come back!
    Hi...

    Could someone please come back to me?

    Thanks!
  • Former StepChange_Linsi
    Hi

    Iím sorry weíve not been able to reply sooner but welcome to the forum.

    A creditor from abroad can contact you about a debt and accept payments, either directly or using UK-based debt collection agency (DCA). If youíre living in Scotland a DCA based in the England can chase you for payments.

    To enforce the debt through the courts the creditor would need to obtain a court judgement (the equivalent of a CCJ or decree) in the country the debt originated from first.

    Theyíd then have to start a second claim in the appropriate UK jurisdiction where you live and get a UK judgement before they could enforce the debt.

    I hope this helps,

    Linsi

    Is a debt from the UAE enforceable in Scotland by a dca from england who do not own thd debt and are meerly acting on their behalf?
    Originally posted by Shug76
  • Former StepChange_Linsi
    Hi there

    Iím sorry weíve not been able to reply sooner, weíre very busy at the moment. If you ever need urgent help, please call us on the number shown on our website.

    We wouldnít normally recommend paying one debt in full if your friend canít do this with all their debts. This could be viewed a preferential treatment and other creditors may be less likely to freeze interest and charges and be less likely to accept a reduced payment if theyíre not treated fairly.

    The bank account advice we give when a client has debts with their bank does differ depending on the recommended solution, but your friend can find general information about changing banks on our website.

    By opening a new account your friendsí income will be safe, theyíll be able to cover their essential living costs and make fair and affordable payments to all their debts.

    If you donít have the email addresses for the credit card providers, I'd recommend looking at their websites. Most have a Ďcontact usí page which usually has an email address or an online form you can fill in and submit to them.

    I hope this helps,

    Linsi

    Hi

    Urgent reply much appreciated here.

    I have a friend who has spoken in confidence to a debt relief charity. He has a strategy and clear structure of what he will do.

    My friend tells me he has circa £3k in overdraft (at the limit of his overdraft). Before writing to his creditors as the first step, should he make a money transfer to clear the overdraft or a money transfer to clear the overdraft + a sum of money to put the bank account in credit?

    The reason he asks is that once he is in discussions with credit card companies re paying back debts to them, he assumes they'll freeze the credit cards and he will not be able to spend on them any further. At least if he makes the money transfer he can just spend on essentials from his bank account?

    Thoughts please so I can advise!

    Thanks

    K
    Originally posted by bestfootie
    • peony1gardens
    • By peony1gardens 29th Aug 19, 5:36 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    peony1gardens
    Bank Overdrafts
    I have contacted Stepchange and they have advised me to set up a DMP. Forming part of the debt are 2 overdrafts on 2 bank accounts. My question is if these overdrafts are included in the plan will I have to give up my current bank account which I have had for several years. If I paid off the overdrafts before setting up the plan would that make a difference ie could I hold on to my present account with the same bank. My son is helping me with these debts.
    I would be grateful for some advice.
  • Former StepChange_Joe
    Hello

    Thanks for your post and welcome to the forum.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve been in touch with us and we’ve offered you a DMP.


    Yes, the overdraft balances will need to be included in your DMP. I recommend you ask your bank how they can help – they may:

    • Separate the overdraft from the existing account. If they do this, you’ll need to provide us with the overdraft account details to add to your DMP
    • Set up a new ‘clean’ basic bank account for you
    • Allow you to reduce your overdraft at an affordable rate and in line with your other debts on the DMP

    They may close your existing account but be happy for you to apply for a new, basic account with them.

    It’s important you ask them not to take any further payments towards debts you have with them; these will be paid through the DMP.

    If they are unable to help, then you should move to a bank you don’t owe any money to. If you use the current account Switching Service, make sure that:

    • Any overdraft balance is not carried over to the new account
    • Payments to non-priority debts are not carried over to the new account
    • Cancel all direct debit, standing orders and continuous payment authorities to non-priority debts.

    Interest and charges can be added to the old account, but we will ask them to stop as part of the DMP


    If your son is happy to pay these overdrafts off for you, then you won't need to take the above steps. However, he would have to transfer the money to the accounts himself to avoid preferential treatment. If your son expects you to pay him back, please do give us a call so we can calculate a fair amount to offer him alongside the debts in the DMP.



    If you have any further questions, please call the number in your application pack.

    I hope you've found this helpful.

    Thanks


    Joe

    I have contacted Stepchange and they have advised me to set up a DMP. Forming part of the debt are 2 overdrafts on 2 bank accounts. My question is if these overdrafts are included in the plan will I have to give up my current bank account which I have had for several years. If I paid off the overdrafts before setting up the plan would that make a difference ie could I hold on to my present account with the same bank. My son is helping me with these debts.
    I would be grateful for some advice.
    Originally posted by peony1gardens
    Last edited by Former StepChange_Joe; 30-08-2019 at 1:13 PM.
    • peony1gardens
    • By peony1gardens 30th Aug 19, 3:10 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    peony1gardens
    Bank Overdrafts
    Hi Joe,
    Many thanks for that very useful advice. It has helped me to clarify my situation and I'll let you know how I get on.
    • Clairefb31
    • By Clairefb31 31st Aug 19, 1:52 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Clairefb31
    Hi, I need some help. My situation is as follows: Me and my hubby have always been in debt and just lived with it but now we're in our early 40's with a 9 year old son we want to clear our debt and think about having a debt free future! We have about 30k debt with credit cards and loans. In the past the hubby was in and out of work and so we lived off cc's as my job was low paid. Back in 2007 we were advised to take out an interest only mortgage. I was naÔve at the time and was just thinking about our current situation and it suited at the time. Now I'm wanting to go onto payment and the monthly payment the mortgage company are wanting is too high for us and we won't have the 75k to pay in 13 years time!! They also can't extend the term :/ The house is probably only worth about 50k too! I don't know which way to turn..i can't get interest free credit cards to transfer my balances as my credit score is poor We're managing to pay our debts but really need to sort our Mortgage out. Please can someone advise us the best thing to do as we're stuck. Thanks
    • xmasfriend1
    • By xmasfriend1 1st Sep 19, 5:55 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    xmasfriend1
    Hi Iím in debt. Iíve just been passed to a collection agency called NCO. they say were sending me a letter and Iím worried about two things. 1) is it going to have there logo on it and everyone will know Iím in debt?

    2) is it an a4 size or just a standard letter size...?
    • pendramoon
    • By pendramoon 2nd Sep 19, 1:41 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    pendramoon
    40k debt considering Bankruptcy
    .
    .
    Hi all

    Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I am in 40k debt with two credit cards + a personal loan. I have been working over 50 - 70 hours a week to pay everyone out but in the end of the day I always have to use what I pay back on my credit cards. I getting very tired and emotionally drained out as this has been going on for 4-5 years now. I can feel that this put a huge risk on my health now.I can feel that I can't do too much over time now.


    SO I came to the conclusion I have to file for bankruptcy. Just want to know what is the process, what step it will take place? I have to complete an online form. upon submitting the for I have to pay the fee or after, before? what happens next? would people come to my rented property to take away my stuff? Don't have too much stuff. Also my Grandmother is very old and recently become more sick. She still manages OK but I think very soon she would need even more help from me. She lives abroad and just worried that they would take my passport away from me, I wouldn't be able to see her. Also my wife has a nice car what is in her name but she worries that they might take it away from us. (all my debt is in my name and I don't even drive). Also my wife is sceptical about me applying for bankruptcy as she say it has hidden issues. can you explain to me the possible negative impact on me please?

    Thank you for your answers
    • Smileyt
    • By Smileyt 3rd Sep 19, 1:38 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Smileyt
    Thank you for your help. I will pass the advice on to my friend.
  • StepChange_Allen
    why on earth don't any of these credit card companies have an email address to send documents to?! It's like they're trying to make life as difficult as possible for people in debt!
    Originally posted by bestfootie

    Hi there

    Thanks for posting.

    I'm not really sure what I can say to that I'm afraid, it's up to companies themselves whether they offer this option of getting in touch. If you feel they should implement it, perhaps you could send them this as a suggestion.

    Best wishes

    Allen
    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_Allen
    Hi, I need some help. My situation is as follows: Me and my hubby have always been in debt and just lived with it but now we're in our early 40's with a 9 year old son we want to clear our debt and think about having a debt free future! We have about 30k debt with credit cards and loans. In the past the hubby was in and out of work and so we lived off cc's as my job was low paid. Back in 2007 we were advised to take out an interest only mortgage. I was naÔve at the time and was just thinking about our current situation and it suited at the time. Now I'm wanting to go onto payment and the monthly payment the mortgage company are wanting is too high for us and we won't have the 75k to pay in 13 years time!! They also can't extend the term :/ The house is probably only worth about 50k too! I don't know which way to turn..i can't get interest free credit cards to transfer my balances as my credit score is poor We're managing to pay our debts but really need to sort our Mortgage out. Please can someone advise us the best thing to do as we're stuck. Thanks
    Originally posted by Clairefb31

    Hi Claire

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting.

    I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with debts and to see how to get the mortgage paid. We can certainly have a look at your situation and see whether there's a better way to tackle the debts. We may be able to suggest and discuss elements around the mortgage, but our standard debt advisors aren't qualified to give personal mortgage advice.

    We do have a mortgage team here, but they can only assist people that fit certain criteria, so we can assess that at the time if you get in touch.

    Our contact details to get started can be found here: www.stepchange.org/contact-us

    I hope this is helpful.

    Allen
    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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