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  • FIRST POST
    • PaulL2
    • By PaulL2 3rd May 18, 8:22 PM
    • 47Posts
    • 21Thanks
    PaulL2
    Discharged! My journey and a few myths busted
    • #1
    • 3rd May 18, 8:22 PM
    Discharged! My journey and a few myths busted 3rd May 18 at 8:22 PM
    I've just been discharged, hooray! I posted on here way back when I was at the beginning of the process but I can't remember my username nor password.

    What I want to do is briefly detail my experience and dispel a few myths for those contemplating bankruptcy. I do wonder sometimes if scare stories are spread around by banks and lenders trying to put people off.

    First a brief timeline of my journey:

    Early 2017
    Despite having never missed a bill payment in my life I had approx. £20k of debt and a business which wasn't working. So business closed and bankruptcy prepared for (I settled all business-related bills and taxes except for a lease which I was up-to-date with but couldn't continue paying for the rest of the term).

    April 2017
    BR button pressed, interview the next day - one hour, very friendly. Of course at this point the examiner couldn't have seen my statements, so I assumed they'd come back to me to question a few things, but they never did. Signed some forms I got through the post. Bank account closed 2 weeks later (which I expected so I opened a basic account for my household bills).

    Aug 2017
    Got a job, hurrah! I emailed the OR about 21 days after my first pay cheque as per the requirements to tell them...

    Sept 2017
    ...Having heard nothing from the OR I emailed them again. Eventually they asked me to submit a new SOA and gave me 2 weeks to do this. Due to my low earnings, my expenditure was higher than my income so I explained I was making efforts to make ends meet.

    Fast forward to April 2018
    Having not even received an acknowledgement of my new SOA, I emailed the OR for confirmation that I was discharged. I was! After having worried so much in the run-up to BR, I am astonished that the process was so trouble-free. In theory I could have earned what I liked the last year - the OR never asked for any bank statements nor the details of my new bank account.

    Has austerity left the OR so overworked and underfunded that it's unable to intervene except in the most lucrative of BR cases?! OK, I'm lucky. Not everyone is in the same boat as me. Bankruptcy suited my circumstances very well: no mortgage or valuable possessions, no dependants, no job at the time of going BR and when I got one, it was part-time so no threat of an IPA*.

    Now I'd like to bust a few myths:

    1. Using credit card before BR gets you into big trouble

    Nope. I used mine up until about a month before going BR when it became a serious option. I'd bought food, clothes, flights, petrol, dinners, all sorts of things and nothing was questioned. Obviously spending on credit if you know you are going to go BR is wrong, but I hadn't considered it at the time and when I knew it was a serious option I stopped borrowing.

    2. Recent large purchases on credit will be questioned

    I made one large transaction (over a grand) on a credit card a few months before BR. It was for a higher education course. I expected the OR to question me about it and instruct me to cancel it and obtain a refund, but they never mentioned it.

    3. Obtaining loans shortly before BR is a no-no

    I consolidated 2 bank loans into one new one about 3 months before BR in an effort to reduce my monthly payments. It was lower interest, lower monthly payments and a lower total repayment spread over a longer period, so I was happy with the deal, but in the end it didn't make enough of a difference. When I went BR I was scared silly that I would be given a BRO for taking out a new loan so soon before going BR, or worse. I imagined the loan company would report me for fraud... but again... it was never even mentioned.

    4. You can't sell a car before BR and keep the cash

    I had an old car. It wasn't worth a great deal, but I knew it would be disposed of if I went BR, so I sold it privately a few weeks before BR and used the cash for rent (remember I was jobless at the time). I explained this to the examiner in my interview and it wasn't a problem.

    5. You can't keep a windfall just before BR

    Literally a couple of weeks before BR I received a tax rebate from HMRC. My luck here was timing - I remembered that the rebate was coming so I used it to pay the BR fee in full and a couple of weeks' food shopping.

    Ok so numbers 4 & 5 were only possible because the amounts involved were relatively low. Had it been many £thousands then I would have had to hand over anything over and above my fair expenses. Sure. But the thing to remember is that if you are struggling to make ends meet as it is, it's even more important to realise the value in what assets you have prior to BR, while you have control of them (and within the rules! No naughty disposing of items to family members!).

    So now the year is over and I find myself discharged. I have escaped spiralling debt and a life that wasn't working for me. I've had a fulfilling year staying out of trouble, rediscovering myself and what I value in life. I'm living very happily on half what I was earning last time I was employed.

    I don't have a single direct debit in my account - quite possibly the peak of liberation! As much as BR can be a pain, I see it also as an opportunity to seize control of your life and stop spending money on rubbish. But remember, as with all debt solutions, BR is like a sticking plaster. It only works if you have stopped the bleeding first!


    *IPA soap box... In my humble opinion the stigma of BR is punishment enough for any person who goes through it. When the person on the street thinks of bankruptcy they think of 'rock bottom', 'desperate', 'cop-out'. Why would I want all the guilt, ignorant snide remarks AND have all my spare cash taken away for 3 years?! If they want to claw back money they should remove all the emotional baggage from bankruptcy. Either it's a cop-out or not. And get rid of the London Gazette nonsense.
    Last edited by PaulL2; 03-05-2018 at 10:59 PM.
Page 1
    • debt doctor
    • By debt doctor 5th May 18, 10:00 AM
    • 4,341 Posts
    • 6,011 Thanks
    debt doctor
    • #2
    • 5th May 18, 10:00 AM
    • #2
    • 5th May 18, 10:00 AM
    Hi,
    An interesting story and thanks for sharing.

    I particularly like the negative SOA submitted in relation to a potential IPA - If reasonable allowances can create a negative balance then you should do so - with the explanation of you are reducing your [housekeeping, other costs] still further to make your budget balance, but would spend more if your income allowed.

    Glad it's all worked out.

    DD
    Debt Doctor, Debt caseworker, Citizens' Advice Bureau .
    Impartial debt advice services: Citizens Advice Bureau Find your local CAB *** National Debtline - Tel: 0808 808 4000*** BSC No. 100 ***
    • maxmycardagain
    • By maxmycardagain 5th May 18, 12:19 PM
    • 4,662 Posts
    • 3,739 Thanks
    maxmycardagain
    • #3
    • 5th May 18, 12:19 PM
    • #3
    • 5th May 18, 12:19 PM
    IPA soap box... In my humble opinion the stigma of BR is punishment enough for any person who goes through it. When the person on the street thinks of bankruptcy they think of 'rock bottom', 'desperate', 'cop-out'. Why would I want all the guilt, ignorant snide remarks AND have all my spare cash taken away for 3 years?! If they want to claw back money they should remove all the emotional baggage from bankruptcy. Either it's a cop-out or not. And get rid of the London Gazette nonsense.

    An IPA should be 20% of your income after a zero BR taxcode, they would probably collect MORE than trying to take all of it and pushing folk into a years benefits or cash working, obviously someone hasnt thought it through

    The London Gazette thing is a life sentence (in the public domain) for someone making mistakes on their finances or losing employment... which is disgraceful when the James Bulger killers (and the like) can get anonymity!
    Last edited by maxmycardagain; 05-05-2018 at 12:21 PM.
    Dont worry, be happy
    • elljay
    • By elljay 7th May 18, 3:37 PM
    • 791 Posts
    • 657 Thanks
    elljay
    • #4
    • 7th May 18, 3:37 PM
    • #4
    • 7th May 18, 3:37 PM
    The London Gazette thing is a life sentence (in the public domain) for someone making mistakes on their finances or losing employment... which is disgraceful when the James Bulger killers (and the like) can get anonymity!
    Originally posted by maxmycardagain
    This, this, this and this again. Grossly unfair to my mind. I know people say that someone would only find you if they really went looking for you but it's easy now it's online. Someone did go looking for me (completely unconnected to the BR, it was an ex) and it wasn't good to have a stalker. At least when it was a printed magazine it was harder for casual searchers to find you.

    Thank you for your story by the way, I think though that judging by this forum we all have varying experiences - all ORs seem to apply the rules differently. It's nearly 4 years since BR for me and I'm particularly glad that the IPA is now also gone and I can at last earn some money (and keep it!!).

    EJ
    • maxmycardagain
    • By maxmycardagain 7th May 18, 7:06 PM
    • 4,662 Posts
    • 3,739 Thanks
    maxmycardagain
    • #5
    • 7th May 18, 7:06 PM
    • #5
    • 7th May 18, 7:06 PM
    Surely only financial institutions (loans/credit cards/banks/etc) really NEED to know and they use experian/equifax, etc, the London Gazette is sheer spite on behalf of the institution.

    Or the LG access should be subscription only
    Dont worry, be happy
    • Samsung_Note2
    • By Samsung_Note2 8th May 18, 2:31 PM
    • 595 Posts
    • 250 Thanks
    Samsung_Note2
    • #6
    • 8th May 18, 2:31 PM
    • #6
    • 8th May 18, 2:31 PM
    Your not always linked to the Gazette..im not and went BR in 2010 same time as the wife.

    Maybe im just lucky...she is in and im not.
    If my appalling spelling offends you that much...dont read my posts.
    • PaulL2
    • By PaulL2 9th May 18, 10:34 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    PaulL2
    • #7
    • 9th May 18, 10:34 AM
    • #7
    • 9th May 18, 10:34 AM
    If you google my name the only thing that comes up related to bankruptcy is from a website called

    https://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk

    And this just has a PDF of the London Gazette. I wonder if I can ask them to remove this?
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