Debt avoidance

The words debt avoidance often cause controversy, one merely need look at forums such as MSE and CAG to see some opinionated folk spouting off that ” if you borrow it you should pay it back” but often that is not the full story. I have been involved in hundreds of cases where people have borrowed money and wanted to pay it back but were not able to because of the fact that the creditor took an unreasonable point of view.

Now many people would say morally if you borrow the money you should pay your debts, however, i say morally if a creditor wishes to recover his money from someone in debt, then he should at least treat them fairly!! shouldnt he?

Lets look at the Mayhew case for example, or Harrison v Link, anyone who knows those cases would know that the people behind them were genuinely trying to pay their debts. In Mayhew, Ms Mayhew was even paying each month and the Bank sued her irrespective of the fact that she was paying.

Its easy to take the moral high ground and shout and holler that people should not be avoiding their debts blah blah blah however what about the fact that the law fully supported Keith Harrison, Di Mayhew, Roland Wegmuller, Dr Cresswell etc. If the creditor wishes to ensure that it recovers its money then it should ensure that it follows the laws laid down by parliament. The consequences of not doing so are clear.

Maybe its about time that these moral crusaders started looking at the creditors conduct in these cases before jumping on the soap boxes. Imagine this, you fall into difficulties and then you try to pay your debt but your creditor refuses your offers, sues you and tries to obtain a charging order and then tries for an order for sale. How would you feel? would you still sit there saying i must pay my debt ? or would you at that point say, to hell with them, if i have a fighting chance im going to damn well take it? Id rather be slated by the moral crusaders and have a roof over my head than lose my home but feel morally vindicated for ensuring my debts are paid.

 

Lets not forget that banks arent whiter than white, one only need look at the news to see another scandal breaking out. Some of the cases ive had involvement in have included attempts by staff in a bank to forge the clients signature on a loan agreement, another one they tried to scribble out the amount of credit which was wrong and rendered the agreement unenforceable and insert the right figures. Or what about the bank that tried to argue that the client had taken out a credit agreement online, despite the fact that it had provided a letter (by accident) saying that the bank had forgotten to provide the client with an agreement and had sent them a credit card without complying with the Consumer Credit Act.

 

I do not agree with those people who go out to borrow money with the intention of never ever paying it back, but i would happily provide anyone who finds themselves in the same situation as Keith Harrison or Di Mayhew with the assistance they need to defend themselves from the creditor, and if that means that a Court rules that the law says the debtor does not have to pay then so be it. If creditors were more receptive to people in debt and acted with forbearance then there would be less litigation and more time orders sought in my view.

Surely it would be better to allow a debtor to pay £5 per month if thats all they can afford while they are in difficulty than slap tons of charges upon them and raise the interest rates to over 30% from circa 19% ala Harrison and make the debt that the person is already struggling with balloon even bigger than it already is? Seems to me that those who are getting on their soap box about people using the law to defend themselves are complaining about the wrong thing, if they feel the law is wrong then it is parliament they should be lobbying.

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About paul @ watsons solicitors
Member of Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a litigator for one of the leading firms of solicitors in Consumer Credit Act litigation. I was the fee earner in the landmark ruling of Harrison v Link Financial Limited and many other County Court decisions.

6 Responses to Debt avoidance

  1. leonc1963 says:

    Thanks Paul your interesting thoughts are welcome to me and many others, I have taken the liberty to reblog this and link this site on my site above.

  2. Jen says:

    Thanks Paul some people really judge before thinking and I would hate this to happen to them!

    • Indeed Jen, we can all become victim of an unforseen event that changes our lives. This is often the root cause of a persons debt problems, and it can happen to any one of us. I had a car accident in 2004 which ruined me financially and none of my creditors were reasonable at all. My ppi was useless and never paid out so it left me with limited income limited funds, and agressive creditors. I did what i had to do to protect my family yet i got called a debt avoider. Shocking really.

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