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Am I still able to claim back charges for a Laura Ashley card?

Mrs E Blackadder

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A few years back I had a Laura Ashley card, which was charging me all sorts of things that I assume were PPI and some sort of protection over buying goods that you could then claim back a refund for if they were reduced within a certain time. Every time I tried to claim back on this I was told by the shop that I needed to contact the card people, and the card people told me to contact the shop! I never once got a refund on an item that was later reduced.


However, long story short, when we hit financial problems about 3 years ago the outstanding balance got passed to a debt collectors, and I eventually paid back the full amount. My question is, am I still able to approach the card holder (I believe it was GE Capital) to claim back unfair charges, even though I defaulted and paid the remainder through a debt collector, or is it too late? The more I think about it, the more I realise I got stung in charges from them over the years and in my current financial position it would be good to get anything back at all. If I can still claim anything back, does anyone have any idea how I would go about it?


As usual, all information will be gratefully received. I wouldn't have got through the past month or so without all the advice and support from this site.

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Thanks for the very speedy reply!


I paid the balance to Howard Cohen & co on 20 March 2007. I have just noticed as well, that the final balance included £110 Court fee and £80 solicitors costs, even though it never actually ended up in court. The debt went from GE Capital to CL Finance to Howard Cohen. I assume it would still be GE Capital I would approach as it is they who would have received the balance in the end?


I had the card for probably about 15 years, so it would go back quite a while.

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Ok, that's a bit more complicated.


The court fees and solicitors costs, did you ever get a court summons? If you did, even though you settled in full, they would be entitled to their costs. If they never went as far as issuing it, then no, they can't claim that. You need to get all your docs out and find out what's what.


IF they did issue court proceedings, then did you ever acknowledge it to the courts and accepted you owed the monies owed? Again, how to proceed will depend on your reply. Did you ever get a CCJ against you?


In other words, we need a lot more info before advising you further. Also don't assume that any monies paid would have gone to GE, if they just flogged off the debt, then the DCA would have got it all... Which is not to say you shouldn't go after GE for the charges on the card, that's a different kettle of fish altogether.

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OK. Have checked back and this is what I have with regard to paperwork:


Letter from H Cohen:


Dear Mrs XXX,


We act for CL Finance Ltd. A claim has today been submitted to the County Court for issue. You should respond to the claim immediately upon receipt. Payment in full of £3738.88, being the total amount shown due in the claim including costs will prevent judgment being entered against you. Payment MUST be forwarded to this office. etc etc.


There is a paragraph at the top which gives the debt as £3545.72, so they have added on charges of nearly £200.


I received a claim form from Northampton County Court, but I never acknowledged it as I paid the full amount a few days later. I did not get a CCJ as it never went to court.


Hope that helps. As a side note, I am reluctant to have further contact with Howard Cohen as they still seem to be chasing my ex who did a runner over 2 years ago, and I do not want them putting 2 and 2 together and thinking that they can hassle me further re him, or that he still lives here.

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Hmmm, ok.


First things first, you want to check with Northampton that they didn't actually go ahead and get a CCJ against you by default. Even though you paid in full, once the claim was issued, they could still have carried on and got the judgment registered, so you need to check that. Or get your credit record and check if there are any CCJ relating to that debt. Better be safe than sorry, really.


Since they did issue a claim, the charges they have added of court fees and solicitors fees are actually correct, so you can't argue that. :-(


Ok, do you have all your statements? If not, then you need to send a SAR to GE with the fee of £10 (see the Library for template). You don't have to deal with HC at all, it was GE who piled on the charges, it's GE you are going to go after.


Follow the FAQs and step-by-step for the reclaiming process, and don't let them tell you to go to HC, that has nothing to do with them or you. ;-)

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Can I still go to GE even though the debt was assigned absolutely to CL Finance? I'm not sure if 'assigned absolutely' means that they bought it and therefore GE have washed their hands of it. If I can get anything back from GE then I am going to go for it!

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It doesn't matter what GE did with the debt, assigned, gave it away, flogged it for 10p.


It was GE who added charges on charges, GE who had a contractual relationship with you, it's them you go after to reclaim those charges. That's all you need to worry about.


What you probably won't want to hear but I'm going to tell you anyway is that had you found us a lot earlier, you may well never have had to pay all those monies to HC as you didn't owe them a penny. You owed GE and GE got rid of you to HC. HC had no contractual relationship with you and had no right to collect anything from you. Unfortunately, going after them for a refund would need a lot of patience, nerve and legal know-how and tbh, I am not sure whether it can be done.


So at least for now, concentrate on GE and your charges. They will try to dig their heels in and give you gumph about the charges, then will try to tell you they will pay the difference between £x and £12, using a poorly twisted "the OFT says...", but if you stand your ground and don' let them hoodwink you, they should pay up fairly easily. Make sure you insist the payment is made to you by cheque too, just in case they try to play silly buggers and pay it to the DCA instead.

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Yes, I wish I had found this site sooner as well as I would probably have saved myself a small fortune! I went to CAB who did their best to help but the two people I saw knew no more about debt than I did and spent most of their time looking things up on the internet, a lot of which I had already found anyway. Sometimes, there is no replacement for experience.


I think you are right about going after HC to try to get the money back - I would be digging myself a big hole full of stress, which is probably what they rely on to prevent people like me going after them once they realise there are other options. I can't afford a solicitor and it is probably a bit of a legal minefield anyway. However, if I can get any of the charges refunded from GE then all is not lost and I will feel that I have, at least, not lost everything. I had a couple of other store cards that I didn't owe so much to, but I ended up paying HC. I may try to get any charges repaid on those as well. Presumably I have to pay £10 for each one, even though they are all with GE?


Would they really try to pay the refunded charges to the DCA? What a flamin' cheek - the DCA has already had its money so would, in effect, be getting paid twice for the same thing :eek:.


I think the saying that 'money goes to money' is perfectly true, especially in the current climate.

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