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Ruthbridge - reduced pay-off or bankruptcy?

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I've seen lots of threads here about Ruthbridge, and am definitely getting the sum of the company here. However, with apologies for starting yet another one, I wanted some advice on my particular situation.


Situation: In 1989 (yes, 1989!!!) my mother took out an urgent loan to help her get back on her feet after a messy divorce. The company she took it with - Cedar Holdings - secured this on the property she lived in. Myself and my sister were the *guarantors*, even though I was only *just* 18 at the time, by no more than a couple of months. My sister was 20. My mother defaulted on the loan repayments after some years. Direct Legal & Collections were brought in, she was taken to court, got a judgement against her, but seemingly the court thought she'd been treated badly by the debt collection company and she was instructed to pay only £20 a month to them in repayment. That's been on a standing order ever since, and she has never defaulted on it.


Last week I got the anonymous-looking letter to 'the occupier' that Ruthbridge are famed for. I know I should have checked online first, but stupidly I called the number. Ruthbridge aggressively and rudely told me what the call was concerning, that I was liable for the remaining amount of £2,803, and how was I going to pay? Otherwise, they would commence bankruptcy proceedings. I explained that my mother was repaying after the court judgement, and that I had only been the guarantor, but they said that didn't matter and they could still chase me for this and make me bankrupt.


During the week, two other things happened:


(i) Direct Legal & Collections contacted my mother, still repaying the debt by standing order, and offered a £280 reduction in the amount (10%) if she changed it to direct debit. She took advice on this from the National Debtline and they, quite rightly, told her not to take them up on this as the direct debit meant DLC could take any amount they wished, since they obviously were no longer happy with the £20 (my mother, after all, is a pensioner of 69).


(ii) Ruthbridge sent me a follow-up letter, offering a 'full and final settlement' of half the amount - £1400 - thus ending all liability for the debt. But this has to be settled by tomorrow (Monday 25th January) or the debt will return to the full amount and they will commence bankruptcy proceedings.


I have told Ruthbridge - but not yet in writing - that I want a copy of the original loan agreement showing my signature on it, and they say it will take anywhere between 7 and 90 days for this to be sourced, in which time the offer on the table will of course cease and they will commence proceedings against me for bankruptcy.


Obviously I don't want that, and I would like my mother to be debt-free now and for myself to remain that way, but reading everything I've seen here, how likely is it that they'd be able to get a copy of the original agreement after so long - and to go that effort for such a relatively small amount? Am I likely get their heavy mob turning up at the door?


Should I send a Consumer Credit Act request from the template letters here and leave them to it? And am I truly liable having just been a guarantor when the debt is still being paid off?


Any advice really gratefully welcomed - especially as the deadline is getting close. Thanks all.

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she was taken to court, got a judgement against her, but seemingly the court thought she'd been treated badly by the debt collection company and she was instructed to pay only £20 a month to them in repayment. That's been on a standing order ever since, and she has never defaulted on it.

Thats all you need - go back to the court, explain to them what is happening. A DCA cannot over-rule a CCJ and make demands on the debtor. Your mother is unable to instruct a solicitor on the grounds of her financial status and age, and you need to know what to do to stop these idiots making silly demands.


If there were any missed payments, they would still HAVE to apply to the court for a variation on the original order to take any further action.


They are obviously frustrated at the amount being paid off and want to get a lump sum by any means possible. Don't be intimidated by them.


I'm not able to point you at a template letter, it may be as well asking your local CAB or even Age Concern to help. Letting your MP's office know what is going on can help, especially if the matter gets messy later. Or, ask a site moderator here to flag this up for assistance. Click the red triangle next to a post in this thread and put a brief request in the message box..


Quite right not to agree to change to Direct Debit. Always pay by standing order, which keeps you in control of what amount they get paid.


Bankruptcy proceedings means going to court, as it's already subject to a CCJ they are peeing in the wind with that suggestion. NO heavy mob can call on you, just tell them to 'go away' if they send a doorstep collector round. Point out that the doorstep is required to help the postman reach the letterbox.


In a nutshell, they have their knickers in a twist and you could do with a bit of help sorting them out. The debt is being paid, they have no right to try and enforce any further action without the court being involved.

Be good to those who give you advice that helps - click the star to give them your thanks by way of a reputation credit.


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If this matter is still in the jurisdiction of the court then Ruthbridge have no right to be involved. Write to them and tell them this. Send it roceroded as they have a tendency to lose letters. Ask them for their complaints procedure and make it onthe grounds they are acting in a manner which can be contrued as a contempt of court and that their telephone monkeys are acting beyond their powers (and way above their abilities). They have eight weeks to apologise to you. Check your credit record and if this idiots have placed anything on there that's grounds for another complaint. You should make the court aware of their actions and ask a judge to rule on it if necesary.

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