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  • FIRST POST
    • Spyderbryte
    • By Spyderbryte 11th Aug 18, 6:03 PM
    • 3Posts
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    Spyderbryte
    Advice required: previous owners debt?
    • #1
    • 11th Aug 18, 6:03 PM
    Advice required: previous owners debt? 11th Aug 18 at 6:03 PM
    Hi everyone. Iím hoping for a bit of advice.

    My partner and I brought our house 2 years ago, and the previous owners moved about 5-6 houses up the road. They said theyíd sorts their addresses on bank accounts etc but we were receiving a hell of a lot of post for them. Initially we took it up to them once a week. We went away for a week and missed our usual day so had two weeks worth to take up. The chap answered the door and said it was all junk and just to bin it.

    Instead we started returning to the companies writing in the envelope not known etc.

    Then we got several car tax reminders from the DVLA for different people who had lived there before - 4 in particular (mum, dad, daughter and son). We took the first ones up and my husband quite adamantly said that if they didnít fix the address he would report them for fraud (we were sick of getting their post about a year after we moved in).

    Fast forward to just before last Christmas. We received a letter from a catalogue that I occasional get things from. Without thinking, I opened it then saw that it was not my name, but the wife of the chap who lived here before us - she had attempted to take out a catalogue card for this address, not their new address. My husband called the company and someone else (I cannot remember for the life of me who it was but they deal with a lot of finance things and can report frauds?). For a while we stopped getting any post for them.

    Today, weíve had another letter come through. The only part that was visible through the window on the envelop was the address - not a name - and it was for the bank, a bank we have a credit card with. So opened it.

    Itís a formal demand for payment on a loan for the previous owners. The amount is £16000, and the date of the loan taken out was three months after we moved in. So they took the loan out using our address, but during the time where we were taking post up to them. The letter says theyíve not made any repayments and if the loan isnít repaid within 28 days, it will be sent to debt collection.

    Weíve tried to call but of course the bank is shut now TIL Monday. Both of us are really concerned because we have never taken this loan out but the previous owners did. I know what theyíve done is wrong, because of the address change. We no longer speak to them because of the store card incident, but donít want our names to be affected of the have debt collectors coming round and taking our stuff. I mean, it could completely
    Be worst case in my head but Iím seriously panicking now!
Page 1
    • Debtnomoreplease
    • By Debtnomoreplease 11th Aug 18, 6:39 PM
    • 129 Posts
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    Debtnomoreplease
    • #2
    • 11th Aug 18, 6:39 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Aug 18, 6:39 PM
    Hi, surely the debt will still be in their names though? Does it say their name on the letter you got today? This clearly needs dealing with as it is fraud-they don't live there anymore, but you can surely prove it isn't your debt by showing your ID? Can you check the electoral roll to prove you are at the address not them?

    If these letters have got there names on, I would just keep putting them back in the post saying they don't live here anymore. You have done nothing wrong, so don't panic things can be sorted when it clearly isn't your debt.

    When something like this happens, your mind goes into overdrive etc but take a deep breath, step back this is not your debt. I'm afraid I'm not sure about these things, but I'm sure someone with more suitable advice will come along soon and help.
    • Willing2Learn
    • By Willing2Learn 11th Aug 18, 6:47 PM
    • 790 Posts
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    Willing2Learn
    • #3
    • 11th Aug 18, 6:47 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Aug 18, 6:47 PM
    Hi Spyderbryte and welcome to the forum

    I suggest you keep an eye on the three main CRA credit files (you can view them for free). You want to make sure that nothing wrong is recorded in your files.
    I work within the voluntary sector, supporting vulnerable people to rebuild their lives.

    I love my job

    • Craig1981
    • By Craig1981 12th Aug 18, 8:06 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Craig1981
    • #4
    • 12th Aug 18, 8:06 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Aug 18, 8:06 AM
    it sounds like everything you opened was in the previous owners name? albeit by mistake, if it is not your name, then i wouldn't be too concerned about things, as you can prove the property is yours - debt companies will also check land registry when doing collections, if needed

    advice - make sure you check names on the post before opening it - and return everything that is not yours. it is illegal to open someone else's post - be it by mistake or not, so be very careful on the action you take going forward.

    seems harsh, but if the previous occupiers find out about opened mail, you my get into some hot water!

    i still get mail from other occupants before us at my address - just RTS on it as "gone away" and into the post box it goes. never had any activity on my personal credit file to suggest anything else.

    just make sure you doing everything correctly
    • JJG
    • By JJG 12th Aug 18, 8:13 AM
    • 276 Posts
    • 335 Thanks
    JJG
    • #5
    • 12th Aug 18, 8:13 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Aug 18, 8:13 AM

    advice - make sure you check names on the post before opening it - and return everything that is not yours. it is illegal to open someone else's post - be it by mistake or not
    Originally posted by Craig1981
    No it isnít.
    • Craig1981
    • By Craig1981 12th Aug 18, 9:59 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Craig1981
    • #6
    • 12th Aug 18, 9:59 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Aug 18, 9:59 AM
    No it isn!!!8217;t.
    Originally posted by JJG
    Postal Services Act 2000 Section 84 disagrees:

    Interfering with the mail: general.
    (1)A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he!!!8212;
    (a)intentionally delays or opens a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post, or
    (b)intentionally opens a mail-bag.
    (2)Subsections (2) to (5) of section 83 apply to subsection (1) above as they apply to subsection (1) of that section.
    (3)A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person!!!8217;s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him.
    (4)Subsections (2) and (3) of section 83 (so far as they relate to the opening of postal packets) apply to subsection (3) above as they apply to subsection (1) of that section.
    (5)A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (3) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
    • Willing2Learn
    • By Willing2Learn 12th Aug 18, 10:14 AM
    • 790 Posts
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    Willing2Learn
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:14 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:14 AM
    ...it is illegal to open someone else's post...
    Originally posted by Craig1981
    No it isn't.
    Originally posted by JJG
    Postal Services Act 2000 Section 84 disagrees:

    Interfering with the mail: general.
    ...(3)A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person's detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him....
    Originally posted by Craig1981
    Point #3 is particularly interesting as it says you can interfere with someone else's mail with a reasonable excuse. The term 'reasonable excuse' is particularly ambiguous, and I doubt there is any legal definition for the term.

    As far as the OP is concerned, their fear of potentially having debt collectors turn up at their door, or having incorrect data recorded on their credit file, may well constitute a reasonable excuse.
    Last edited by Willing2Learn; 12-08-2018 at 10:21 AM. Reason: grammar
    I work within the voluntary sector, supporting vulnerable people to rebuild their lives.

    I love my job

    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 12th Aug 18, 10:14 AM
    • 1,459 Posts
    • 1,212 Thanks
    Carrot007
    • #8
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:14 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:14 AM
    Postal Services Act 2000 Section 84 disagrees:

    Interfering with the mail: general.
    (1)A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he!!!8212;
    (a)intentionally delays or opens a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post, or
    (b)intentionally opens a mail-bag.
    (2)Subsections (2) to (5) of section 83 apply to subsection (1) above as they apply to subsection (1) of that section.
    (3)A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person!!!8217;s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him.
    (4)Subsections (2) and (3) of section 83 (so far as they relate to the opening of postal packets) apply to subsection (3) above as they apply to subsection (1) of that section.
    (5)A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (3) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
    Originally posted by Craig1981

    None of which apply to delivered mail.


    And the address is to only legal requirement for delivered mail.


    Now of course if it was used to commit fraud on the intended recipient there would be issues. however there is not.


    The mail was delivered and it's OP's to do with as they will. All mail that comes to my house is mine. It is opened and dealt with accordingly. (Bin usually).
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 12th Aug 18, 10:16 AM
    • 1,459 Posts
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    Carrot007
    • #9
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:16 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:16 AM
    Point #3 is particularly interesting as it says you can interfere with someone else's mail with a reasonable excuse. The term 'reasonable excuse' is particularly ambiguous, and I doubt there is any legal definition for the term.
    Originally posted by Willing2Learn

    And I would also say it has not been incorrectly delivered either as the intended recipient send it there.
    • Craig1981
    • By Craig1981 12th Aug 18, 10:22 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Craig1981
    None of which apply to delivered mail.


    And the address is to only legal requirement for delivered mail.


    Now of course if it was used to commit fraud on the intended recipient there would be issues. however there is not.


    The mail was delivered and it's OP's to do with as they will. All mail that comes to my house is mine. It is opened and dealt with accordingly. (Bin usually).
    Originally posted by Carrot007
    but in this case, the OP knows who the addressee is, and knowing the £16k debt in their name could be classed as a detriment to the recipient.
    • Craig1981
    • By Craig1981 12th Aug 18, 10:26 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Craig1981
    And I would also say it has not been incorrectly delivered either as the intended recipient send it there.
    Originally posted by Carrot007
    agree to disagree
    • Craig1981
    • By Craig1981 12th Aug 18, 10:29 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Craig1981
    As far as the OP is concerned, their fear of potentially having debt collectors turn up at their door, or having incorrect data recorded on their credit file, may well constitute a reasonable excuse.
    Originally posted by Willing2Learn
    your credit file is under your name, not your address
    • Willing2Learn
    • By Willing2Learn 12th Aug 18, 10:36 AM
    • 790 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    Willing2Learn
    but in this case, the OP knows who the addressee is, and knowing the £16k debt in their name could be classed as a detriment to the recipient.
    Originally posted by Craig1981
    There has to be intention to act to a person's detriment. (as per sub-section #3)
    I work within the voluntary sector, supporting vulnerable people to rebuild their lives.

    I love my job

    • Craig1981
    • By Craig1981 12th Aug 18, 11:22 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    Craig1981
    There has to be intention to act to a person's detriment. (as per sub-section #3)
    Originally posted by Willing2Learn
    we could debate this for days...

    IMHO, there is more to the story...
    • elsien
    • By elsien 12th Aug 18, 11:31 AM
    • 16,895 Posts
    • 42,647 Thanks
    elsien
    At one point I was regularly getting mail for people I'd never heard of. I equally regularly opened it because it was people who'd never lived here setting up mobile contracts etc at this address.
    If anyone wants to prosecute me for interfering with mail I would be quite happy to have that debate in court. If people choose to fraudulently use my address to send their post to I have no compunction about checking to see exactly what it is.
    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.
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 12th Aug 18, 12:52 PM
    • 1,675 Posts
    • 63,789 Thanks
    D_M_E
    What would happen if one of the companies involved took them to court, got a CCJ then went for a charging order on your property without bothering to check if they actually still live in and own the property?

    You would never know until you came to sell and sorting it could be a nightmare.

    Your best course of action would be to return everything to sender marked "not known at this address, moved out 2 years ago" and not hand it over to them every now and then - if they call and ask for any mail just tell them there's been nothing.

    Keep some form of identification with you to show any debt collectors who may - and they eventually will - call seeking them and point them to where they should be going.

    Also consider signing up for Land Registry alerts at https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk
    • Shakin Steve
    • By Shakin Steve 12th Aug 18, 1:24 PM
    • 1,502 Posts
    • 1,245 Thanks
    Shakin Steve
    I open all mail that comes through my letterbox. If my name is not on the letter and I consider it a bit suspect, I ring the company who sent it so as to leave them in no doubt that the addressee does not live here. I also record the call, without telling them.

    So, let me see...opening mail not addressed to me, and recording calls without telling the other party. I might have to go to jail.
    I came into this world with nothing and I've got most of it left.
    • Sncjw
    • By Sncjw 12th Aug 18, 2:05 PM
    • 1,894 Posts
    • 1,119 Thanks
    Sncjw
    If the debt collectors turn up at your door show them your Id. They will ask for proof of id so they know it!!!8217;s not you. Maybe even tell them where the people live as they will state the name of the person they are looking for.
    • -taff
    • By -taff 12th Aug 18, 3:42 PM
    • 7,539 Posts
    • 5,636 Thanks
    -taff
    Well, for those debating the legality or otherwise of openeing mail for someone else...The OP stated qute clearly that they opened the mail because it only showed their address, not the previous owners name on the letter.


    So you're all arguing about something which is not applicable in this case.


    OP, personally, I'd just phone the bank, let them know the intended recipients don't live ther anymore, and there's no reason why you can't give them their current address. I would, just because they're obviously being incredibly un-neighbourly, and have no worries about deflecting anything by keeping their old address on their bank records etc.


    And don't panic, it's their name on the debt not yours.
    Last edited by -taff; 12-08-2018 at 3:45 PM.
    • financegeek
    • By financegeek 12th Aug 18, 5:10 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 60 Thanks
    financegeek
    i'd be tempted to write / return the letter to the company sent it originally, ensuring the new address was also enclosed with my response.

    I would imagine the company will then do their own research and see that the address you've given is correct and (hopefully) stop writing to your property
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