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JD williams home shopping debt out of control + CCA - please help


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Okay so after years of being a good girl and not getting in any debt (mainly didn't have much choice really as my credit file is shot) I have managed to run up a catalogue debt with HomeShopping Direct of over £2000 the repayments are massive now and I lost a big contract in June (I'm self employed) also my hubby had his hours cut down and we also lost another source of income (lodger).

 

Basically we're kind of stuck right now and after seeing the mahoooosive interest they slap on each month I'm wondering what the heck to do. I did ring them a while back and they said I can miss a months payment but I don't see how taking payment breaks will help, they said I can't pay less and they won't stop interest. Of course this was all over the course of a brief phone call to a call centre operative.

 

Has anyone had any dealings with these lot? What is my best course of action here? This is pretty much the only debt I have left other than an overdraft and would really like to be debt free. I worked out if I pay the min payment each month it will take around 16 years to pay it off which I could kick myself for.

 

Out of interest if I CCA'd these lot what would happen? I applied online and they sent me a CCA to sign and send back but I never did and they opened the account anyway. Is signing up online a genuine CCA? I know even if I walked away from this debt it would kill my credit file but to be honest I never want credit again in my life and it's pretty much shot anyway :)

 

Thanks in advance.

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Snap, I opened both my catalogue accounts 2008, run up about 3,000 on each, its so easy to do its scary , now finding the payments are rediculous . My philosophy is this, they have to take some responsibility , I got email and letters from them every month saying "treat your self!! by now pay next year" well I did and now I cant afford , sorry lol

sod em , its a civil matter that goes like this

1. pay what you can, write explain difficulties, suggest monthly payment

2. If they charge you , fight back , dispute the balance, CCA them , SAR them and throw just about any legal argument at them, this will go on for months lol

3. If the balance starts spirriling out of control, stop paying anything unless they agree to stop charging, the account is in dispute and no further payments will be made.

4.Wait until they pass it to DCA then tell DCA account is in dispute over balance ,unlwaful charges and everything else and its unlawful to be passed on

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Cheddar,

 

When did you open the account?

 

I'm not 100% but around 4 or maybe 5 years ago. I applied for me and also (unknowing to me) hubby applied with the same group. They opened accounts for both of us which really surprised me! His account we never really touched and as the balance is low and we keep it low the repayments aren't that high, I try and pay more than the minimum in an attempt to get rid of it and not ruin his credit file. Mine however has now got to the point where it's impossible and run away with itself. As the PP said because I was a model customer for years I'd get letters every 2-3 weeks with offers, treat yourself, buy now pay later, have a payment holiday, discount codes, then they just started to bump and bump and bump the credit limit up all the time. Temptation got the better of me!

 

I think there is a template on here I can send about not being able to afford, I am happy to pay off the value of what I have and some interest I suppose but it's the interest that's the problem, even paying £120 a month off hardly dents the actual balance once the interest has been applied. I need to look into getting them to freeze it I think. I am 99% sure I didn't sign a CCA for this but am sure I've read somewhere that ticking a box on the net counts as agreeing...but I'm not too sure on that.

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Yes ticking the box and continuing to use the account is an agreement as the agreement can't be set up without the box ticked as it wont progress to the next step.

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Yes ticking the box and continuing to use the account is an agreement as the agreement can't be set up without the box ticked as it wont progress to the next step.

You're correct for current day, but it depends on when the OP completed the application.

 

I think it's somewhere around 2006/2007, when a number of institutions realised they had to keep credit agreements, that online submission of a form was counted as a 'digital signature'. For me, I opened an account with ShopDirect (assume the same company you are talking about, used to be called Littlewoods, LX, etc) in August 2004. I filled in the online application, but they had to send me the paper form to sign - which they never did and thus I have an unenforceable CCA (and no, I'm not paying it).

 

Now, it really does depend on when you opened the account (should be on your credit file as start date) as to whether the debt is enforceable. I'm not going to get into the not paying the account etc if they don't have an enforceable agreement, as it depends what other debts you have outstanding etc.

 

Personally, I'd CCA them and see what they send.

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I'll have to dig out an old credit file or get a new one to see or CCA them but I think it was around 2005, am pretty sure any catalogue accounts I've had I have had the CCA to sign and send back and never did as they had already opened the account and made it live anyway, why would I waste a stamp lol. I'll see if I can find any info and then CCA them :)

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  • 1 month later...

Hmm well unless I was using cash to pay the 1st payment I can find on bank transactions is the 17/10/2006. I have CCA'd them as they're just being horrible to me now, I've tried token payments and explained my situation in writing to them but they are simply saying pay up or it's DCA time. We shall see what happens, does anyone know when the 'tick the box' came into enforcement to stand as a digital signature? Hopefully the CCA will shed some more light on this.

 

Also I sent the CCA via 2nd Class recorded delivery on 20/10 when do they have to reply by? I know it's 12+2 if sent 1st class, is it 12+4 for 2nd?

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Ok well they replied today as follows:

 

Account opened on the 16th August 2006, they state the credit charge, how many payments I have made (scary have paid them nearly £3k!! I can't say I've had £3k of stuff from them in my opinion!), then they state that if I didn't make any further transactions I could pay it off in 35 months as long as I pay around £120 a month with 1st payment of nearly £400 which is arrears as they won't accept any reduced payments and are now slapping fees on left right and centre.

 

They then say the following:

 

"Please find a reconstituted "True Copy" of your credit agreement setting out the terms and conditions to which you agreed when the account was opened along with the current terms and conditions.

 

We have also enclosed an itemised breakdown of the account dating back to when it was opened.

 

When responding to a section 78 request, a lender does not have to provide a photocopy or other literal copy of the executed agreement nor provide a copy bearing or some other proof of the customers actual signature.

 

We await hearing from you"

 

Huh? That last part is not only dreadful in terms of grammar but are they really just saying 'we can do what we like'. There is no mention of ticking a box and they seem to have gone down the route of here's 2 copies of the agreement, sign both and send 1 back which I obviously didn't as you'll see from the links below. Am I correct in thinking this is now unenforceable in court?

 

I have to say as well I don't recall agreeing to these 'new' terms and conditions either that seem to have increased the APR!!!

 

Old CCA:

 

Front: infkus.gif

 

Back: 2zgx1c2.jpg

 

New CCA:

 

Front: 16ii1x4.jpg

 

Back: 33mc1w6.jpg

 

The last one has scanned exactly how it looks, bits of it are chopped off but not so you can't tell what they're saying. They also attach pages of transactions.

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Ah well I suppose this can go in the DCA thread soon as they've replied to my letter asking them to stop interest and reduce payments and basically said no way and they'll pass to a DCA. Mebbe someone there will be able to advise. :D

Ex CAG helper ^_^

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I wonder if people aren't helping because they think I'm trying to avoid this debt purposefully? I have been making token payments of £10 as and when I can and have offered several times to make token offers, each time they have been ignored but I have kept on paying. I am really not sure what to do now, it would surely be better for me to get them to stop interest and charges because as soon as I pay £10 they slap me with a £12 fee, it's seeming almost pointless, I may as well be burning money :( have no idea what to do now tbh.

 

I was thinking of sending this as I looked back and haven't asked them to stop interest/fines in writing:

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Since opening an account with you, my circumstances have changed. I also do not recall signing any agreement with you nor agreeing to any interest to be added to an account.

 

I cannot now afford to your stated monthly payments of over £135 a month because I am no longer in employment, my husbands hours at work have decreased and we have lost another source of income when our lodger moved out.

 

Having sat down and worked out my income and expenditure it is clear that I have only £10 per month left to pay you.

 

In view of our circumstances, please would you agree to accept a reduced offer of £10 per month. If interest or other charges are still being added to the account I would be grateful if you would freeze these so that all payments made will reduce what I owe you.

 

Should our circumstances improve I will contact you again.

 

Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Any advice?

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Cheddar,

 

I think there's something wrong with CAG's notification system as I only just received an email from your last post.

 

In my opinion, I would tell them to go screw themselves as it doesn't look to be enforceable, but you should wait for a couple of others to comment.

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Thanks Zingy it's really appreciated! I thought as such too, just worried about the ticking the box thing but I am pretty sure they would have mentioned that.

Ex CAG helper ^_^

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Hi,

They are allowed to send you a reconstructed agreement however, if they were to attempt to enforce this debt via the courts they would need the original. Now, if what they have sent you purports to be a copy of the original, it is my opinion that it is lacking. While most of the terms are there, I see nothing about cancellation rights.

 

They have sent you two sets of conditions as they must have been varied at some point. I do notice that the default charges are different between the two.

 

If you wish to put the account into dispute, that is an option or you could offer them a F&F settlement/

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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You might want to have a read of Sequenci's blog.. there might be something there that can help you.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/blog.php

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Many thanks Citizen B, I know most of the information contained in those blogs already hence being able to work out what I can afford, I was looking more to finding out if the debt would be enforceable for some peace of mind really whilst I write a letter every single week offering the only amount I have left over (sadly only to see the debt increase constantly, may as well be burning it). I assume this will calm once it goes to a DCA which I'm sure it will do soon and I can reclaim the charges. Or I may just get a loan and pay this off (yes, yes I know it's not great but at nearly 40% APR (which I was NEVER informed of that increase) it will be with me til I die pretty much and if it is enforceable I don't want to be dealing with court cases etc). I'm not as strong as I used to be a few years ago when I joined CAG lol can you tell?

 

Big thanks to the above for replying though, felt like I was on my own! :)

 

Sorry Silverfox I totally didn't see your reply, thank you ever so much. It was my belief that it was unenforceable as well as it didn't have my signature, but interesting to see that yes there are no cancellation rights on it. The difference between the 2 agreement is the APR going from 39.6 to 39.9 as well which I had absolutely no knowledge of. I may see if I can get some money together for a F&F. As I have all the transactions I may see what the goods are roughly worth as I do not believe in getting things for free but some items are double the price than shops then add on horrific APR. Sigh, if only I knew then what I know now!

 

So when they say they this is a reconstituted copy and we don't have to show the one with your signature, does that mean they could actually have one with a signature on and just not show it to someone? Why on earth would they do that? These companies baffle me lol

Edited by cheddar

Ex CAG helper ^_^

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Hello Cheddar,

 

aha, I understand now. Hmmm, I do not know whether the agreement is or would be capable of being enforced in court.

 

I would be inclined to work out the charges they have applied already and make a claim for them immediately :) It might be worth looking into the arbitrary increase in interest rates. I think they are obliged to give you fair warning of this.

 

It might also be worth investing £10.00 in a Subject Access Request. Get all the information on the account as soon as you can.

 

I agree, it is very demoralising to pay a token amount only to see the debt increase. Perhaps advising them of that in your letter would be a good idea.

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Thanks CitizenB I think the charges come to £48 so far, these are all recent as since 2007 I never once missed a payment until now! I have all information on the account, every transaction and the blank CCA with terms missing, I am not sure what else an SAR could show me but I may consider it, £10 is a lot these days sadly :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oooh they have finally written back to me. They say that they will accept my offer of £10 a month and that they want me to contact them in 6 months time to reassess my current financial situation. They then say that there will be a separate letter to confirm this and it shows a 10% arrangement fee but I am to ignore that as they have waived it.

 

They say they cannot see any £12 charges (they were there and now they have mysteriously vanished when I look at my online account as the balance has changed also). But then go on to say if I miss any of the £10 payments they will charge me a fee. They have also agreed to stop any further credit interest being applied!

 

Hubby had to catch me as I nearly fainted. I thought JDW etc were big meanies? I seriously wasn't expecting this letter! Reckon they're trying to get anything they can out of me because they know it's unenforceable? Will be making payments on next pay day and am happy to do so even though it will take me 10 years to pay it back if my circumstances don't change but that's better than the 20+ years it would have taken me to pay back on the original agreement haha!

 

Anyone else had them being this lenient?

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Well I'll keep updating in the hope this helps someone lol

 

Today got a letter from Reliable Collections Ltd who seem to use the same stationary, staff and address as JD Williams - I assume and think I recall correctly that they are their in-house collections department.

 

They confirm the 1st letter and say that I can pay the £10 a month starting this month (I notice they dragged it out until a £90 credit charge was added pushing the debt to nearer £3k). They also contradict the first letter by not mentioning a 10% (which I was told to ignore anyway) and also by saying they will review this in 6 months whereas my letter from JDW says I have to contact them in 6 months. Nice to see that although working under the same roof they cannot agree on much. They do agree about stopping credit charges which was my main aim.

 

Plenty of grammatical and some spelling errors in the letter too, seems they struggle when it's not something spat out by a computer. Makes me wonder how often they agree to these kinds of offers. Anyway seeing as I'll have 30 years of £10 payments I'm sure to let you know how this progresses, if I live that long haha!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, well, well aren't I surprised. Despite being told TWICE in written format dated 25th November that they agreed to £10 a month starting on the 18th December 2010 which I duely paid. Then I get letters saying I haven't paid the £20 due, then another saying thanks for the £10 but you owe us another £10. Have sent another email asking them if they want to play games then I will pay £1 a month to make it easier for them if they can't deal with larger numbers. Idiots.

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After sending them an email asking what they're playing at I got some idiotic nonsensical reply asking ME for statements? Although they do say that I only have to pay £10 a month they are (I think) trying to say if you pay late then they want your next payment now...wtf? Waiting on a reply back...

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