Dear fellow forum members,
I have a typical case. Please advise.
I used to work in UK between 2004-06 and would bank with HSBC. Later I moved to US and then to Canada. I'm now in India. Since I travel a lot, I use only HSBC online banking feature as no one lives at the UK address where I used to live while in UK and hence no reason for getting all the mails.
While in UK I loaned a friend (not anymore a friend) 5 years ago by about 9000 GBP by taking a personal loan from HSBC to be settled in 4 years time with a repayment of 280 GBP per month. He used to transfer the monthly payments regularly for three and a half years to my account and it would get debited automatically. My bank transactions would show the 9000 GBP transfer from my account to his and his monthly transfers of 280 GBP. On one fine day, he went untraceable and could not get hold of him by any means. I know for sure he has left UK by selling all his property and is now in India. But I do not have a clue where the heck is he now in this vast country. The outstanding loan is around 1500 GBP. I thought it's better to pay off the outstanding loan on my own and started pooling money. In the meanwhile, my online banking was suspended and I could no longer use it. I called HSBC only to find out that my account is currently being handled by Metropolitan Collection Services (MCS). The HSBC call centre executive called the MCS and told me that my case has not yet reached the MCS and that they would contact me as and when it reaches them and I was given the 0500 992 299 number to call them.
Since I'm in India I am not sure whether I can call the 0500 number from here. Nevertheless I'll be in UK in about 10 days time and I wish to pay off till the last penny to save myself from unwanted calls and visits. Given this, please advise me on the following:
1. Once I'm in UK, can I go to HSBC branch and settle the loan or should I still speak to MCS?
2. Can I reach MCS over email? I do have their mailing address but it will take time before the mail reaches them from India and in all probability I would be in UK before my mail reaches them.
3. I have applied for a work visa to work in UK. Will my debt situation affect my visa processing? Will MCS interfere with UK Home Office applications and processing?
4. The current outstanding loan is nearly 1500 GBP. Will MCS or HSBC accept the same amount or would I end up paying more towards interest or other charges?
5. Is there a way that I could get some concession on my outstanding loan so that I can reduce the burden by explaining my situation?
Please answer the above so that I can clear this mess off peacefully.
Thanks in advance.