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Living abroad - CCJ and freezing charges advice please.


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Hi to all.

For the past 3-4 months, I have an outstanding debt in the UK with Natwest of 5,000 more or less, half for an overdraft and the other half for a natwest-mastercard. I cannot pay this at the moment or for the foreseeable future, so I have not replied to any of their reminder letters. Currently living in Spain (which they know) and at the end of the summer moving permanently(?) out of Europe. Some of the other posts have been very helpful (thank to all of those that have posted), but have some further enquiries. Any possible help, on any of the questions below would be very much appreciated.

1) Am I effectively dealing with one creditor (Natwest) or two (Natwest – Mastercard)?

2) Calling them to ask them to freeze interests / penalties (although highly unlikely I guess, right?), or to state my new address when I leave Spain would restart the clock on the 6 years needed for the stature barred status?

3) Any opinions on how likely it would be that a CCJ will be issued given the amount and living abroad? If I understand correctly they can issue one in/with Spain, but not outside of Europe.

4) What happens if the CCJ is issued but I never receive it due to change of address? Can the court take place in my absence / without my knowledge of it?

5) If I understand correctly visiting UK shouldn’t be a problem even with an outstanding debt or CCJ. What about, for example, getting a mortgage in 10-15 years time if I was back in the UK. Out of the question?

Many thanks for reading and for any possible answers or relevant links you might have.

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1) Am I effectively dealing with one creditor (NatWest) or two (NatWest – Mastercard)?
Yes.
2) Calling them to ask them to freeze interests / penalties (although highly unlikely I guess, right?), or to state my new address when I leave Spain would restart the clock on the 6 years needed for the stature barred status?
There is no legal requirement for you to notify a creditor of your forwarding address. The SB clock is restarted if you make a written acknowledgement of the debt or make any payment.
3) Any opinions on how likely it would be that a CCJ will be issued given the amount and living abroad? If I understand correctly they can issue one in/with Spain, but not outside of Europe.
They cannot obtain a CCJ against a non-UK resident, if they did using a previous known address you could have it set aside. There are reciprocal agreements in place within the EU so it may be possible to use the Spanish legal system, see the sticky on the main page of this sub-forum.
4) What happens if the CCJ is issued but I never receive it due to change of address? Can the court take place in my absence / without my knowledge of it?
As above.
5) If I understand correctly visiting UK shouldn’t be a problem even with an outstanding debt or CCJ. What about, for example, getting a mortgage in 10-15 years time if I was back in the UK. Out of the question?
This is a civil matter & they would have no way of knowing when you visit... unless you send them a postcard. ;)

 

All record of a debt will be expunged from your credit file after six years so if you applied for a mortgage they wouldn't find out.

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They cannot obtain a CCJ against a non-UK resident, if they did using a previous known address you could have it set aside. There are reciprocal agreements in place within the EU so it may be possible to use the Spanish legal system.

 

Hello Cerberusalert,

 

I've been folowing this overseas forum for some months being in a similar situation to this poster myself.

 

The above point of law is what I don't fully understand. If you sign a UK CCA it's only enforceable in a UK court. So if non resident in the UK and if you can prove this the court should set aside any judgements.

 

So how can a creditor or bottom feeding DCA attempt reciprocal enforcement in EU member state, if the original contract states it can only be delt with by a UK court?

 

I've read about EPO EEO but from what I have read these can only be obtained with a valid UK CCJ? Infact there is a thread within the "Credit Today" forums where a DCA mentions that these EEOs are worthless once contested - I wonder how many DCAs are even attempting these for CCA debt?

 

So my question is for CCA 1974 non secured credit card debt - Can a creditor or DCA instigate EU proceedings without a UK CCJ?

 

It would seem to me that even if living in the EU with a large amount of UK CC debt - The original creditors being informed of the UK non resident status and having written correspondance back and forth from a non UK address. There should be nothing to worry about??

 

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Regards,

 

kbob

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Hello Cerberusalert,

 

So if I read the above link correctly - Non Consumer Credit Agreements may be transferable.

 

*But* Non secured UK credit card debt is untransferable without a UK CCJ. So I have written corespondance from my creditors to my foreign address which proves they are aware I'm now non UK resident any CCJ's can be set aside with a 65Pound fee.

 

I have nothing to worry about?? - Right? I can if I so choose to set up payment on my terms if I wanted to return to the UK within six years.

 

Regards,

 

kbob

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in a nutshell yes.

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Many thanks for the advice cerberusalert. Not sure if I'll be sending them that post card, but thinking I probably owe you one :)

 

A couple of clarification questions for anyone that might know.

 

6) Is it worth asking them to freeze interest and charges? Any good arguments to use from anybody that has gotten them to do so?

 

7) Kbob makes a very interesting point. Any idea how I can find out if the natwest mastercard and overdraft fall within the Non Consumer Credit Agreements?

 

8) cerberusalert, your yes answer to question No 1, what does it refer to? The first option (1 creditor - Natwest) or the second one (2 creditors - Natwest & Mastercard)?

 

9) And finally, just to make sure I ve got this correct, contacting them in writing to provide them with my new non EU address (as will be the case and a CCJ cannot be issued there), without mentioning anything about the debt in the letter, would not stop the stature barred clock. Is this correct?

 

Thanks again.

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7) Kbob makes a very interesting point. Any idea how I can find out if the natwest mastercard and overdraft fall within the Non Consumer Credit Agreements?

 

I'm fairly certain that all UK non secured lending agreements especialy credit cards are under the CCA1974.

 

- Cerberusalert - So in a nutshell it makes no difference if I'm based in Sydney Australia or Normandy France. Creditors and DCA's have no power of enforcement once it's official your non UK resident.

 

This is probably why with only two months of defaults they are already making 75% repayment offers.

 

Regards,

 

kbob

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6) Is it worth asking them to freeze interest and charges? Any good arguments to use from anybody that has gotten them to do so?
I wouldn't bother as their answer would probably be no anyway.
7) Kbob makes a very interesting point. Any idea how I can find out if the NatWest mastercard and overdraft fall within the Non Consumer Credit Agreements?
As kbob said, AFAIK all credit agreements come under some part of CCA 1974
cerberusalert, your yes answer to question No 1, what does it refer to? The first option (1 creditor - NatWest) or the second one (2 creditors - NatWest & Mastercard)?
You're dealing with one creditor in effect.
9) And finally, just to make sure I ve got this correct, contacting them in writing to provide them with my new non EU address (as will be the case and a CCJ cannot be issued there), without mentioning anything about the debt in the letter, would not stop the stature barred clock. Is this correct?
No, but if you are witholding payment why give them a forwarding address?

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- Cerberusalert - So in a nutshell it makes no difference if I'm based in Sydney Australia or Normandy France. Creditors and DCA's have no power of enforcement once it's official your non UK resident.
Not unless they have previously obtained a CCJ whilst you were resident in the UK.

 

Have you read this thread about people in the same circumstances? http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/overseas-debt-overseas-account/221573-debt-being-chased-australia.html It's a long thread but well worth reading.

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No, but if you are witholding payment why give them a forwarding address?

 

The idea was to provide them with the non EU address so they wouldn't issue and transfer the CCJ here and have this outstanding if I returned to Spain. But in light of what you and Kbob say about both debts being part of CCA 1974, which is non transferable outside UK if I understood you correctly, as you say there is no point in providing them with the address.

 

Thanks guys.

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The idea was to provide them with the non EU address so they wouldn't issue and transfer the CCJ here
They couldn't anway, as I said earlier they cannot legitimately obtain a CCJ against a non-UK resident.

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They couldn't anway, as I said earlier they cannot legitimately obtain a CCJ against a non-UK resident.

 

Yes, reread the overseas debt thread and this makes sense. However, looking at this part:

 

A reciprocal agreement in the UK means a UK Court can enforce a CCJ using the legal system of the other country. If there is no such agreement in place, a creditor can sell a debt to an agency in the relevant country and debt recovery procedures will commence under the law of that land. A creditor may have their own office in that country, or relations with other credit companies in that area.

 

Would anyone know if the possibility of selling the debt would be applicable to any country or does it just refer to EU? Any way to find out whether they've done so? And any experiences on whether they would go after a 5000pound debt this way?

 

And a last question, does the bank have anyway of knowing if one has moved back to UK? I mean unless you tell them, can they check for example tax records, or other banks' files or something similar?

 

Cheers.

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In the thread I mentioned it listed other reciprocal agreements and listed the countries it applied to. The nitty gritty is that unless a CCJ has already been obtained within the UK it is impractical to try and enforce in another country. Unless it was for an extremely high amount it would not be financially viable particularly if the debtor had no assets or it was unknown what assets they may have.

 

A creditor would be able to tell if you returned to the UK through your credit file, but if you don't list any previous addresses they cannot link you as a person. That's why tracing agents mass mail people with the same or similar name hoping to catch a fish when they are looking for a debtor. This happens even when people haven't moved out of the country, they may have just changed addresses.

 

There is a system in place used by the credit industry called GAIN (gone away information network) https://www.econsumer.equifax.co.uk/consumer/uk/sitepage.ehtml?forward=gb_cpo_gain

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In the thread I mentioned it listed other reciprocal agreements and listed the countries it applied to. The nitty gritty is that unless a CCJ has already been obtained within the UK it is impractical to try and enforce in another country. Unless it was for an extremely high amount it would not be financially viable particularly if the debtor had no assets or it was unknown what assets they may have.

 

Had a look at that, but as I understood, the Brussels regulation and Lugano convention do not apply in my case as no money judgment had been issued in the UK while the foreign judgment does not cover Spain. From that paragraph however regarding selling the debt, I understood that no matter where you are they could possibly sell the debt to a local agency, and then have the local debt collectors after you etc. What I´m trying to figure out is the best course of action, whether I should provide them with the non EU address or not.

 

Sorry for the overload of questions, one more thing that came to mind. Because the overdraft is directly linked to the current account, if an organisation makes a refund (highly unlikely) or a friend or family repay me some money they owe me by mistake to that account, could they consider it as a repayment towards the debt as the overdraft will decrease or do they have to prove that a payment was actually made by me, the debtor?

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What I´m trying to figure out is the best course of action, whether I should provide them with the non EU address or not.
You are no legal obligation to provide that information. ;)
if an organisation makes a refund (highly unlikely) or a friend or family repay me some money they owe me by mistake to that account, could they consider it as a repayment towards the debt as the overdraft will decrease or do they have to prove that a payment was actually made by me, the debtor?
Yes they can offset monies from any a/cs held with the creditor.

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Yes they can offset monies from any a/cs held with the creditor.

 

thanks, just to clarify the last point, yes it´s fine to offset the money, however if the payment is from an organization or accidentally from a friend or member of family, would it stop the clock on the statute barred status, or do they have to prove a payment has been made from the debtor?

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If monies were taken from a debtors a/c it would be seen as a payment made. It would be different if someone else paid by DD or cheque straight into the deliquent a/c but the chances are they will terminate the a/c and any attempt to pay into it through BACS etc would be denied.

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In the thread I mentioned it listed other reciprocal agreements and listed the countries it applied to. The nitty gritty is that unless a CCJ has already been obtained within the UK it is impractical to try and enforce in another country. Unless it was for an extremely high amount it would not be financially viable particularly if the debtor had no assets or it was unknown what assets they may have.

 

I'm wondering what is classed as an extremely high amount? I doubt skyluke82 has much to worry about 5000 is not much in the current scheme of things. But what happens to unsecured Uk credit card debts of single creditor 10k+ in my case 40k across multiple creditors? Do DCAs make an extra effort to partner with EU debt collection agencies to try for collection, am I likely to see a single DCA buying and combining all debt? What happens if and when I'm contacted by partner DC agencies from within my EU domociled country? Is it enough to just dispute the EEO, EPO orders and apply for set aside in the case of default UK CCJ's? Do I need to find and retain a local legal representative to act on my behalf in regards to disputing any local action based on the source debt being covered by UK CCA1974??

 

I would think that regardless of the amount of debt and if the debtor had assets or not the initial agreement being under the CCA1974 would mean that it could not transfer internationally Australia or even EU? For example UK debtors can use ISV's - UK bankruptcy law payment plans governed by UK law etc - Debts if transferred to many EU countries do not have nearly the same protections or options.

 

The way I see it. If based on 6 years of spend and credit history UK financial lenders would give me *unsecured* credit lines of 60k when the markets turn and I'm out of work and any income, investments wiped out. Unemployed for 12months having to change lifestyle and country of residence it's their problem - In the UK there is easy credit and easy bankruptcy ISV etc... Where I'm living now credit is much harder to get and bankruptcy and debt collection is much more serious. Why should the slack UK creditors be able to transfer debts to this strict jurisdiction.

 

Anyone in a similar situation? I see there is a nice thread within this forum from a Croation dealing with blackhorse attempts for a CCJ when non resident.

 

Also I wonder if it is so easy to just leave the UK and your debts behind why is there not a mass exodus of debtors from the UK? Why is there not more reporting on this?

 

Regards,

 

kbob

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If monies were taken from a debtors a/c it would be seen as a payment made.

 

I guess here you meant if monies were deposited into a debtors a/c, not taken.

 

Sorry Kbob, don't have a clue about your questions to help.

 

I think this is all the info I was looking for. Many thanks for the help cerberusalert, appreciate it.

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  • 1 year later...

The find law website says that “a County Court judgment can only be obtained against a UK resident and cannot legally be obtained against a debtor that is living outside the UK.

I have 2 questions:

1. Can someone tell me what is the authority for this (i.e. what is the rule/law that says that you cannot get a debt enforced through the county courts against someone who does not reside in the UK)???

2. Does this rule apply if for example the person obtained a monetary judgment through a Tribunal and then wanted to enforce it through the County Court??

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1. Can someone tell me what is the authority for this (i.e. what is the rule/law that says that you cannot get a debt enforced through the county courts against someone who does not reside in the UK)???
In the UK you have to be afforded the opportunity to be able to defend an action brought against you, in order for the papers to be served they have to provide a current UK address. Then if you do defend the case is moved to a court nearest to you.

 

It has been known that applications have been made using a previous UK address but these can be set-aside as the papers have not actually been received. There are certain circumstances where they can bring an action against a Non-UK resident but they must have an interest in the UK such as a business or property.

 

2. Does this rule apply if for example the person obtained a monetary judgment through a Tribunal and then wanted to enforce it through the County Court??
They wouldn't be able to obtain the judgment unless you had an interest in the UK.

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Thanks cerberusalert. Do you know what rule or law says that you can not get a CCJ against someone who does not live in the UK or have an address for service in the UK?

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