Like many others we (a professional couple in our 50s) have fled our debts in the UK.
We had a house with a $180,000 mortgage, and a personal loan of $14,000 both with NatWest.
We each had 2 credit cards -NatWest and MBNA. When both of us lost our jobs in February and March 2008 we tried to go self-employed, tried renting our house, tried pretty much everything.
To cut the story short, it was a disaster. We could not generate enough income; the property management company were useless. we ended up financing the mortgage and loan using credit cards and it all spiralled out of control. We asked NatWest several times but they just would not halt interest charges on the loan and we could not pay that too, so in the end had to default. We put the house on the market and made arrangements with NatWest and MBNA CCs to make token £1 payments (with no additional interest)while we were making enough to pay the essentials plus the mortgage (£666 how ironic is that).
It was getting unbearable with letters arriving every day and phone calls too; we were starting to become ill from the stress and it was having a knock-on effect as we both have elderly mothers who were getting very upset by the whole situation. Of course we had missed the bubble. Now we could not sell the property and even if we did, the market had crashed and we would be in negative equity. So we finally made the difficult decision to give it up. I came to Canada and my spouse stayed behind to wind things up. I could n't face it. We gave the keys back to NatWest last Christmas. The house is still on the market. They have frozen the mortgage and the loan until such time as it sells, at which point we will still owe then the difference -assuming we're still alive. Que sera sera as far as that goes.
My question for the forum is about the credit card debt. We made the mistake -if only I'd read the forum pages back in 2009/10 -of speaking to the CC companies on the phone. They persuded us that we could inrease our payments (MBNA £70pm NatWest £15pm). So for the last 3 years we have been paying £200. We have kept it up pretty well but there have been some missed payments while we changed banks, changed cities, changed jobs etc. We have kept in touch with our local NatWest branch -who were fabulous by the way -via fax and have always informed them in writing of any change of address. We thought long and hard about not telling the CC companies and now I wish we hadn't, but back then (2010) we still believed we should 'do the right thing'.
So.... today we got a letter from Arden Credit Management (Co. no. 3303780 alias Moorgate Loan Servicing Limited). The letter, addressed incorrectly (town name misspelled) makes reference to an account number which does not correspond to any of our credit card accounts. However, from the sum mentioned I am assuming it is one of the MBNA cards. They state, "you have failed to make the agreed payment in relation to the repayment programme you agreed with us." They further state , "Failure to address this situation could result in us taking further action including passing your account to a third part or commencing legal action." We have never agreed anything with them; this is the first I have ever heard of them, and they are already a third party aren't they?
1. Should we respond to these people?
2. Should we write to MBNA? There is no reference to MBNA at all in the Arden letter, so I cannot be 100% certain this is the debt in question.
3. What is the situation regatding legal action? We have no assets in the UK other than our household effects which are in storage because we can't afford to have them shipped to Canada. We are living in rented accommodation here.
We intend continuing our arranged payments. If and when the UK property is sold, I fully expect we will declare bankruptcy as the shortfall will be beyond our means.
Sorry this was a mammouth post, but then, life's complicated!
Any advice gratefully received.