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JC in trouble with charges


Chromatix
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I've previous won my own battle against NatWest in late 2005. Since then I've moved out of the country, but I still have friends "back home", so to speak. One of my better friends is JC.

 

She's disabled (heart defect and so on), but lives alone with her young daughter. Her entire income is made up of various benefits, plus the proceeds of a stable investment made by the daughter's father on her behalf. Needless to say, this is only just enough to get by. This is exacerbated by the fact that her ex-partner (not the father) moved out a while ago, leaving several substantial household debts unpaid, and taking most of their savings to boot.

 

I've helped her in the past by finding ways to save money. What she needs right now, though, is a near miracle. She's almost got out of the debt hole her ex-partner left her in, but now her bank - Lloyds - is very rapidly digging a new one under her feet.

 

She's really not very financially savvy, and she is also very timid - she's the type to grasp at any straw held out to her, even if it brings an anvil down on her head, if it means she doesn't have to have a confrontation. This can be very frustrating when trying to help her. :(

 

So she believes that the massive series of charges Lloyds are putting on her account are actually her fault, and would rather work out of them herself despite the fact that this is probably impossible. I am, of course, strenuously encouraging her to stand up for herself.

 

My immediate advice for her is to open a Post Office account to receive her benefits into, and have them transferred to it immediately. This is particularly important as she is due to receive Cold Weather supplements due to her vulnerable status.

 

I told her to do it that moment, while the post office was still open, but she said it was too cold to go outside. (My online sources tell me it was in fact above freezing.) So she has not yet done that.

 

I believe she should also instruct Lloyds to cancel any and all Direct Debits and Standing Orders on her account, to limit the rate at which charges are applied. Not all of the charges seem to be Unpaid Item Fees (or whatever Lloyds call them), but as I'm in the "wrong" country I haven't seen the full details. At this point I think the best strategy is to abandon and "ignore" the overdrawn account and get her back on her feet in the "cash economy".

 

But eventually we will have to confront Lloyds directly. I'm a little bit out of touch with the many developments since the turn of 2006, so can someone point me at the present recommended strategy for dealing with a personal claim of this type?

 

At present I believe the amount involved is about £150 recently, but JC says that similar charges were levied a few years ago, when she was living at a different address, which she was able to work herself out of. I suspect that these would still fall within the 6-year limitations.

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Oh dear.

 

Well, you are absolutely right of course and have given her the correct advice all the way, but if she doesn't listen to you and do it, then she's not going to get anywhere. Sometimes, people are their own worst enemies. :-(

 

A long time ago, I wrote this guide:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/show-post/post-631564.html

 

that might help focusing on some of the issues.

 

As for the charges, I think she might be best trying to claim under hardship rules, so use the normal templates and also this one:

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/bank-templates-library/154154-hardship-stayed-claims.html

 

Ultimately, however, if she doesn't want to help herself, there's only so much you can do, especially from abroad. :-(

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It is difficult getting through to her. :( She is used to trusting the bank to make her payments for her.

 

I'm basically telling her flat-out that the bank is now stealing her money, that the payments are not in fact being made, and that she won't get frostbite from going out in +5°C weather to do something about it.

 

I said she didn't have much financial acumen - she isn't even prioritising her money. She alternately complains about not having enough money to make the utility bills, and having to borrow money from her mother to buy food - and the next day she tells me about the big holiday she's promised her daughter, and that she's set up a direct debit to start paying for that.

 

I've written her a clear and simple plan, which starts with regaining control of what little income she has, goes on to proper financial priorities, and then talks about dealing with the bank. Now I'm just tring to get her to accept it.

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