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Need some help regarding debt from abroad

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Hi everyone. I am new to this site and finding it very helpful so far. Here is a quick rundown of my problem:


I worked in London from around May 2005 to July 2007. In October 2006 I got an M&S Money credit card. Between that time and July 2007, I used it a lot and was near my maximum, however I paid large chunks on it and paid it off completely in August 2007. I called M&S Money to close it when I left the country and they told me I couldn't close it until I had paid it off. There was $100 on it from a place in London that was charged to my card after I had left the country, so it wasn't mine. Anyway, I kept forgetting to deal with the issue and then returned to my home country of Australia in November 2007. I was unemployed for over six months and basically ran the card up again to the point of being 5000k in debt on the card. As of July 2008, I made the regular payments but after January 2009, when I moved again (to another country) I haven't made a payment. I last heard from them in April (they wrote to my address in Aus) and threatened me with reposessions. I wrote to them, as they requested, regarding "getting help" before it was too late. I haven't heard from them since.


I am now living in the US permanently with a greencard. Since arriving here, I've been working on starting my own business however it is not yet profitable. I also have a very temporary position which only pays $180 a month. So my current income stands at around $500 a month, if that.


Back in Australia, I have two other outstanding debts however my parents have just given me 5000 AUS to cover those.


I want to know what you think about my UK debt..


Should I go bankrupt in the UK? If I did, would they be able to "take" my business or would it not matter since it is not profitable?

Would they force me to apply my 5000 AUS to this particular card?


Thanks, help would be much appreciated?

Edited by yeasayer
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You can't 'go bankrupt' in the UK as you are not resident here and do not have a UK address.


If you did live in the UK then Official Receiver would take your unsecured assets and your income (over and above what you need to live) and pay off your creditors on a pro rata basis.

As for 'Would they force me to apply my 5000 AUS to this particular card?' Firstly, if the money was in the UK, then it would cease to be yours at the point of your being declared bankrupt because such assets immediately belong to the Official Rceiver. I doubt whether the Official Receiver can touch funds that are overseas or even if he has the power to do so - check out the insolvency web site.

Secondly any such monies are apportioned pro rata - you are not 'forced' to pay any debt specifically.


In any case this is academic because you are non-resident.

I really do appreciate all those 'thank you' emails - I'm glad I've been able to help. Apologies if I haven't acknowledged all of them.

You can also ding my gong if you prefer. :)

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It may seem appealing to move abroad to escape UK debts, the person in debt can run but they can't always hide. Creditors have been known to stop chasing those they can't find, however moving abroad doesn't always mean they can't find the debtor. Creditors use the following tactics to trace debtors, talking to neighbours at their debtor's last known address and tracing their activity through using cash. In some cases creditors have relations with other credit companies in that country, making it easier for them to find you. Once the creditor knows which country you are in, they can trace you relatively quickly and start pursuing you for the debt. So it may seem a good idea to move abroad and leave your debts behind, but the creditors can and probably will find you and demand the debt is repaid.

You should ideally establish a repayment agreement with the creditors before leaving the UK. There are many options to clear your debt, even if you no longer live in the UK, for example bankruptcy, IVAs or DMPs. If you are abroad you should make it a priority to make a payment agreement with your creditors. If you fail to make a payment agreement your new life in a new county could be affected as your credit rating may result in you being unable to get jobs or a simple bank account.

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Thanks for your replies.


1. I thought that bankruptcy was still an option if it was three years since you left the UK, which I am still within.


2. I am not trying to avoid/escape my debts. I thought I was clear about that - I am trying to work out a solution - which is hard when I am unemployed.

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Yes, you're right - something I wasn't aware of.


This extract is from the Government's insolvency website-


Bankruptcy petitions are usually presented at the High Court in London or at a county court near to where you trade or live. A petition can be presented against you even if you are not present in England or Wales at that time. This can happen when you normally live in, or within the previous 3 years have had residential or business connections with, England or Wales.


(There are some additional points about the EU but this isn't relevant to your case).


see http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/pdfs/guidanceleafletspdf/guidetobankruptcy.pdf

I really do appreciate all those 'thank you' emails - I'm glad I've been able to help. Apologies if I haven't acknowledged all of them.

You can also ding my gong if you prefer. :)

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hi yeasayer,

A creditor may be able to locate you in another country, but to the best of my knowledge they cannot enforce the debt through the courts UNLESS they obtained a CCJ against you whilst you were still resident in the UK. Even then it's very difficult. I believe the UK has reciprocal agreements with Canada but not the USA.

This means that while they may threaten, they cannot take legal action.

This puts you in control, so you can decide whether to pay the debts or not. If you choose to pay them, as you are out of their jurisdiction you are in control of what you offer them.

Have a read of this thread: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-collection-industry/221573-debt-being-chased-australia.html

Hope this helps,

Elsa x



Please check out my BLOG for the quick guide to debt threats - it has all the info & letter template links you need to get started on your journey of TAKING CONTROL. :roll:


All opinions are my own based on research. I am not legally qualified, if in doubt please consult a legal expert.

Hope this has helped or made you smile. Keep your chin up, you're among friends now! Elsa xxx

Please click the *star* of any CAG member who has helped you .

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