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My wife has received this letter from a firm of solicitors in the UK, who make many appearances in these forums. They reckon they are acting on behalf of her UK employers (we've been in Australia for four years).

 

Dear Sir/Madam

{Employer's name and alleged amount}

We have been instructed by our client to contact you directly in relation to the above outstanding balance.

 

We will endeavour to assist you in any way possible to clear your outstanding debt, however, this can only be achieved with your full co-operation.

 

All correspondence and payments in relation to this debt must be addressed directly to ourselves and not to our client.

 

Payment should be submitted in full to reach us within the next 7 days or contact made with this office immediately by calling 0845 {number}.

 

Your cheque should be sent to us made payable to {solicitors name} with our reference of {ref} quoted on the back of the cheque.

 

Alternatively, you can use our secure online payment facility by visiting http://x or you can pay by credit or debit card by calling 0845 {number}.

 

Failure to make payment or to contact our office may result in legal proceedings being issued against

you.

(I have removed all the identifying details.)

 

Are we safe to ignore this or are we likely to end up with a big man at the door seeking the money (less than £5,000, in case that matters)?

 

Would be grateful for any advice from anyone here. I have had a look at the can I be sued overseas sticky and it seems to say she could be pursued over here - is that correct?

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It depends on the type of debt, is overpayment of wages?

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

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It depends on the type of debt, is overpayment of wages?

 

Thanks for the quick response.

 

We think they are trying to get her to pay back her maternity pay, as she didn't go back to work after she had our child (as we migrated).

 

She did get an e-mail from the employer's HR department about three years ago about that, she replied basically saying what right did they have to claim it back?

 

Got no response to that e-mail, and this is the first we've heard about it since.

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Technically speaking they could pursue through your court system but whether it would be financially viable for them to do so is another question. ;)

 

I was under the impression that it was optional for a mother to return to work after the statutory maternity leave. Statutory Maternity Pay : Directgov - Money, tax and benefits

If you go to live or visit abroad

 

Once you become entitled to or if you are already getting SMP and then go abroad, your employer must pay you SMP.

 

If you work outside the United Kingdom (UK) for a UK employer you may be able to get SMP if your employer pays NI contributions for you, or would pay if your earnings were high enough.

 

If you worked for a UK employer both in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK and actually worked in the UK in the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth you may get SMP even if your employer has not paid NI contributions for you.

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

17 Port & Maritime Regiment RCT

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I've flagged your post for another mod to have a look at when they come on-line, they are more knowledgeable in this subject than me. ;)

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

17 Port & Maritime Regiment RCT

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Technically speaking they could pursue through your court system but whether it would be financially viable for them to do so is another question. ;)

 

So does that mean we are safe to ignore this?

 

I was under the impression that it was optional for a mother to return to work after the statutory maternity leave.

 

Yes, probably true for SMP but she was paid more than that legal minimum (%age of her full salary for n months, can't recall the precise details) and it may be that which they are seeking to recover. Also, our son was born in the UK, we migrated when he was about 6 months old so not sure how relevant that quote is. As I say, we asked for details from the employer three years ago and were given none.

 

I've flagged your post for another mod to have a look at when they come on-line, they are more knowledgeable in this subject than me.

 

Thanks.

Edited by tinytrev
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I suspect it all boils down to the exact terms of her contract and if there's a clause about repayment. You could do one of two things... ignore them, although they are likely to become more threatening or write to them demanding proof of the debt. The only way they'll be able to do that is by producing a copy of her contract.

 

Depending in which State you live, certain ones have a Statute of Limitations of 5 years... even if they tried to use the legal route the debt could be Statute Barred.

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

17 Port & Maritime Regiment RCT

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Guest Mrs Hobbit

I would write again to the employer and ask for details. I would not respond to the writer letter.

 

I would then wait. I had something similar when I moved countries and I found out that they couldn't do anything. It was for something I discovered later, had been paid and luckily I had the paperwork. i never responded nto any letters. There was a knock on the door, the fellow was very nice, but I told him to refer back to the solicitor I used in the original country,.

 

I would establish with the ex-employer what they are trying to recover. Tell them you will only deal with them and no-one else.

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Depending in which State you live, certain ones have a Statute of Limitations of 5 years... even if they tried to use the legal route the debt could be Statute Barred.

We are in NSW, where the statue of limitations for a debt is 6 years. Our son turned five last week so we're still within that timeframe :)

I would write again to the employer and ask for details. I would not respond to the writer letter.

The letter says to only deal with the Solicitors - I guess that means they are working on some sort of commission basis?

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If you do contact them I suggest that you tell them to prove it & the only way they could do that is by providing the signed employment contract & copies of payments. Even then once the SMP is deducted the figure would probably be lower... they would have just made the salary shortfall up.

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

17 Port & Maritime Regiment RCT

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