I am really hoping someone can help me with serious problem. For you to understand whats happened I will need to explain the whole story, but a snap shot is that a solicitor has billed me for £1200 and placed a CCJ on my file. I was not served as I had moved and only found out about it 2 weeks ago when I was declined a mortgage and told to look at my credit file.
I contacted the solicitor to state that they never acted for me and asked them for proof which they will not send me, so i emailed them back asking for it under the data protection laws and offering to pay the fee, again they say they wont give it to me unless I pay the debt. Now they say they have placed a lien on the account until its paid and only then will they supply me the information on my account.
The whole story is as follows.
Back in 2008 I went to Hugh James Solicitors in Cardiff with regards to getting my x wife to stop interfering in my private life. The first half hour was free and in this time I made an application for legal aid. I explained I could not afford their fees and that no work was to be done until legal aid was granted. I signed no contract other than the legal aid forms. I recieved a call about a week later informing me that legal aid was not granted. At this point I told Hugh James Solicitors that I would not be needing their services as I could not afford to pay for them without legal aid.
Everything seemed fine I heared nothing more about it.
Two weeks ago I applied for a Mortgage with the Halifax who declined my application, when I asked why, they told me I should look at my Credit File. I immediately signed up to Credit Expert only to find that I had a CCJ placed against me back in October 2008. I contacted the court who told me that the debtor was Hugh James Soliciotrs, I contacted them and asked them to supply me with the work they have done on my behalf and explained the above situation. I told them I had not authorsied any work to be done unless legal aid was granted. They got back to me stating the bill stands but would not send me any proof as requested.
I replied via email stating that I require copies of this work and proof I authorised it, becasue if they dont have this I wanted to apply to have the CCJ set aside. I got a response stating the following
The matter has been referred to the Head of the Family Department, Mr Malcolm Stevens.
He considers that the time for challenging the County Court Judgement has expired and once the judgment debt is paid you can then apply for the CCJ to be discharged.
So I replied stating that I was challenging the debt and I now require all information relating to me under the data protection act and offered to pay the £10 fee, I have kept all copies of the emails.
The reply I got was as follows
This email is sent on behalf of Malcolm Stevens, Head of Department
Re: County Court Judgement
We acknowledge receipt of your earlier email. We do not accept what you say. If you do seek to set aside the CCJ it will be opposed and an order for costs sought against you.
Until our costs have been paid we have a lien on your file. Your file will be released to you upon payment of the debt.
Should payment not be received, we will refer this matter back to our debt recovery department.
I then went on to explain I was not paying the debt as I was challenging it and require proof the work was undertaken
the reply was as follows
This email is sent on behalf of Malcolm Stevens
We do not propose to engage in sterile email exchanges with you and our position is as per the last email.
Now they have totally ceased communications with me not answering my emails.
I really need help. I do not believe there should have ever been a bill but unless I pay it they are refusing to send me anything.. can a company do this to stop you challenging them?
I contacted the ICO with pretty much what I have wrote here, but as yet got no response.
I really need this removed, They never acted for me and say if i try get it set aside it will cost me more esp if i go to small claims route. I have told them if they provide the proof of work done and that i authorised it then I would pay the bill.
it only has 2 years left before the 6 years is up but now they are threatening to get collectors after me for it, even though if the bill is disputed they shouldnt.
what can i do