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Hi all,

 

Been reading through all the highly useful threads but I didn't find anything that covered my specific situation and I was hoping I could get some advice.

 

I have a UK Student loan from 2001-2005 which I've fallen behind with my repayments on. I left the UK to move to France in 2005 but I was unable to keep up with the payments, the last payment I made I believe was in 2008 or 2009. Since then I've moved to the US and if I'm honest I totally forgot about the loan.

 

Out of the blue today I've gotten a letter to my US address from the SLC demanding that I repay the arrears on my loan in full (7,200 GBP) it's dated the 15th of March and they expect me to repay within 21 days, its also listed as a final notice.

 

I want to do the right thing with the loan but it's tax season right now and I have barely enough money to pay my tax, let alone seven thousand pounds. The earliest I think I'd have any money would be at the end of April and it wouldn't be anywhere close to that number.

 

I was wondering if anyone had gone through something similar and what my legal rights are at this point. I'm guessing I'll have to contact them to negotiate but would like to know what my options are before talking to the SLC.

 

Thanks in advance, any help or advice is highly appreciated.

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Technically they can pursue the debt through the courts but it would have to be in a US court not in the UK as you are no longer a resident here. Given the cost of bringing litigation in the US it is unlikely that they would try, particularly as there still would be no certainty of you being able to pay even if a US court decided it had the jurisdiction to hear the application & they won.This in effect puts you in a strong bargaining position to negotiate new repayment terms.

 

You could contact them and explain your situation & that although you are willing to come to an amicable arrangement you have neither the funds nor the assets to be able to pay the amount in full. I would also add the point that if they tried to pursue in the US it would be extremely expensive and time consuming for them and there would be still no likelihood of them obtaining the full amount even if a US court accepted jurisdiction. ;)

 

Have a read of this thread with regards to them trying to pursue in the US; http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?282263-UK-Debt-Living-in-US


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Thanks for the advice CerberusAlert. I'm planning on sending this in the next 12 hours or so. Any feedback would be grand.

 

------

Dear XXX

 

I have recently received your letter dated March 15, 2012 requesting the payment of £XXXX in alleged arrears within 21 days. In addition I received a second letter dated March 20, 2012 (ref: XXXXX) offering a repayment schedule to the loan of £295 per month from May 1, 2012 until April 30, 2013.

 

Unfortunately I currently have other financial commitments that if unpaid would impact my ability to earn income (e.g. US Tax and Medical bills). Although I am willing to come to an amicable arrangement I do not have the funds or the assets to be able to pay the alleged amount in full. Therefore I am proposing repayments to the loan of £300 per month paid quarterly to reduce the impact of exchange rates and banking fees while transferring money from the US to the UK. This would result in a payment of £900 every three months, with the first payment to be sent to the Student Loans Company (SLC) before July 1, 2012 to a total of £3600 over a 12 month period.

 

Also as part of this proposal any Debt Collection Agency activity or legal proceedings, as referred to in your letter dated March 15, 2012, against me from the SLC would be cancelled. As you may already know if the alleged arrears were to become a legal matter pursuing this through the US legal system would be extremely expensive and time consuming for the SLC. With no guarantees for the SLC to receive the full amount in the unlikely event of a US court accepting jurisdiction for an alleged UK debt.

 

I hope you find my proposal above acceptable. If I do not hear from you within 21 days of receipt of this letter then I will assume you accepted my proposal and will begin making payments as I have outlined above. If you need to need to communicate further regarding this matter then please do so in writing, allowing 21-30 days for a response based on the delay I have received your previously letters from when they were dated. Though please note any delay to accepting my proposal may result in a delays to repayments of these alleged arrears.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

XXX

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I wonder how many people with the same name also received your letter! :-)

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I wonder how many people with the same name also received your letter! :-)

 

Not sure what you mean? If I had to guess my in-law's got a call from SLC in which they said I had given their phone number as a contact number (which I hadn't) then a few days after they tell my wife about that call I got the letter I mentioned previously. If I had to guess they passed on our address and didn't tell us.

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All loans from SLC have to give to contact number and details for this reason - tracing. In reality the SLC probably will accept your repayment terms. They are under huge pressure to trace and collect as much as physically possible, you have a moral responsibility to repay - but by your actions you appear to be aware of this.

 

I can't imagine them taking any legal action in the USA as they have to look at tax payers money and the cost of collection.

 

You are doing the right thing, but just ensure you can afford what you tell them and don't leave yourself short.

 

One thing I'm unsure off is does a SLC loan become statue barred after 6 years? When was your last payment or acknowledgment of the loan?

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One thing I'm unsure off is does a SLC loan become statue barred after 6 years? When was your last payment or acknowledgment of the loan?
Pre Sept '98 loans do but those after that date the new style or “income contingent” student loans include rules to say that repayments are automatically deducted directly from your wages or through your tax return if you are self employed. This means that the SLC are still allowed to take money from your wages in the UK for a loan over 6 years old as they do not have to go to court to do so.

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Not sure what you mean? If I had to guess my in-law's got a call from SLC in which they said I had given their phone number as a contact number (which I hadn't) then a few days after they tell my wife about that call I got the letter I mentioned previously. If I had to guess they passed on our address and didn't tell us.

 

What I meant was when I had a dispute with my bank that ran for about 7 or 8 years, I was unable to get it resolved prior to my leaving the UK. They paid money out my account and I could not get them to stop these payments. Eventually things went bad and everything became vindictive, with phone banking transfers failing to be made each time it ensured charges would be generated etc.

 

I have a foreign name, so its quite unusual. When I did leave, other members of my family with the same last name received debt letters for me. They also called a former director of a company where I was also a director and asked to speak to me. So I wonder how many people with my last name that I don't know got a letter too!

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So the saga continues. Today I receive the following letter from a Smith Lawson & Company Recovery Services.

 

Your Ref: XXXX

Creditor: Student Loans Company LTD.

Total Due: XXXX [Amount I can't pay even if I wanted to]

 

We are instructed by our client, in connection with the sum outstanding shown above.

 

Failure to respond within 21 days of the receipt of this letter will leave me no choice but to request that the Student Loans Company proceed with legal action to recover the full balance of your loan. Legal action would be issued against you in the UK and enforced in your country of residence.

 

You should telephone us as a matter of urgency on to make payment. please ensure you have your debit or credit card with you when you telephone.

 

Alternatively, you can send a cheque made payable to Smith Lawson & Company to the address above. Please ensure that you quote your reference number above on the reverse of the cheque.

 

Now I have to recheck my tracking of my previous letter which I don't have to hand but this is dated at a very similar time to when they would have received my original letter above. Is this the SLC just unwilling to negotiate with me or someone jumping the gun thinking I hadn't responded to their previous letter? From the way the letter is branded it seems to just be a weird way for the SLC to send me another letter?

 

From the advice I've read here and elsewhere their threat of 'Legal action will be issued against you in the UK and enforced in your country of residence' seems to be a template letter scare tactic?

 

Does anyone have any advice on what I should do at this point, they've not acknowledged my previous letter which made an offer to pay and laid out a payment plan, even though I have proof they received it.

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You have already notified them that you are no longer a UK resident, if they were stupid enough to apply for a CCJ you could have it set-aside on those grounds as you were not given the opportunity to defend.

 

There next step will more than likely be to pass it to a US debt collector who will have even less chance of collecting. see; http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?282263-UK-Debt-Living-in-US


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You have already notified them that you are no longer a UK resident, if they were stupid enough to apply for a CCJ you could have it set-aside on those grounds as you were not given the opportunity to defend.

 

There next step will more than likely be to pass it to a US debt collector who will have even less chance of collecting. see; [sniped link as I dont have the required post count to quote it]

 

Well its even stranger, Smith Lawson & Company (SLC lol) is actually a trading name of the Student Loan Company. This just feels like a standard scare tactic. I feel that I should write to them to remind them I've already responded once without their acknowledgement and reiterate my original offer of repayment. As I do this I'd like to reiterate the jurisdiction information. so I don't end up making a false claim or if this does end up in a court later I'd like to validate the following:

  • As a US resident any court action in the UK cannot be enforced as the UK court has no jurisdiction on someone living in the US
  • With the debt/agreement being signed in the UK, a US court has no jurisdiction to judge on the case. I also assume this is strengthened by the fact that the SLC themselves state that the legal action would be issued against me in the UK.
  • As I feel these are both contradictionary I must have one of them wrong?

 

Thanks Cerberus and all the others with the great advice so far.

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All you need to say is that if they applied for a CCJ you will contest on the grounds that you are not a UK resident.


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It's most likely a straight forward 'crossed in the post' situation. They are not about to issue proceedings. If they did, what address could they put on the forms? If they use an address in the US the court should pick it up and stop matters right there.

 

If you're worried you could always send a copy of your previous letter to Smith Lawson & Co, but as you've already noticed, that''s just another desk at Student Loans.


RMW

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This is what I plan to sent to Smith Lawson & Company (AKA SLC!)

 

As I plan to send this in the next 12-18 hours would be great if anyone had any input.

 

---

 

To whom this may concern:

 

As requested I am responding to a recently received letter from the Smith Lawson & Company (a trading name of the Student Loans Company LTD) dated April 6, 2012 alleging an amount due of £xxxx. I had already sent a response previously dated April 1, 2012 to MS XXX of the Student Loans Company outlining a repayment plan for the alleged debt. Receipt of my April 1, 2012 letter was confirmed as received by the Student Loans Company by the USPS/Fed-Ex on April 4, 2012 [1]. As my letter dated April 1, 2012 was not responded to or acknowledge in Smith Lawson & Company’s April 6, 2012 letter and as it is only 22 days since my previous letter my financial situation has not changed.

 

To reiterate my previous letter I currently have other financial commitments that if unpaid would impact my ability to earn income. Although I am willing to come to an amicable arrangement I do not have the funds or the assets to be able to pay the alleged amount in full. Therefore I am proposing repayments to the loan of £300 per month paid quarterly to reduce the impact of exchange rates and banking fees while transferring money from the US to the UK. This would result in a payment of £900 every three months, with the first payment to be sent to the Student Loans Company (SLC) before July 1, 2012 to a total of £3600 over a 12 month period. Please note as referred to in my April 1, 2012 letter this amount was based on a letter dated March 20, 2012 (ref: XXXXXX) that I received from the Student Loans Company offering a repayment schedule to the loan of £295 per month from May 1, 2012 until April 30, 2013.

 

Also as part of this proposal any Debt Collection Agency activity or legal proceedings, as referred to in your letter dated March 15, 2012 and on April 6, 2012 against me from the SLC would be cancelled and any charges related to the activity of either removed from my account. In particular reference to your letter dated April 6, 2012 any court action in the UK such as a CCJ I would contest on the grounds that the Student Loan Company has known for several years that I am no longer a UK resident due to past communication while I lived in France and now more recently in the United States. In addition if the alleged arrears were to become a legal matter pursuing this through the US legal system this would be extremely expensive and time consuming for the Student Loans Company. With no guarantees for the Student Loans Company to receive the full amount in the unlikely event of a US court accepting jurisdiction for an alleged UK debt.

 

I hope you find my proposal above acceptable. If I do not hear from you within 21 days of receipt of this letter then I will assume you accepted my proposal and will begin making payments as I have outlined above. If you need to need to communicate further regarding this matter then please do so in writing, allowing 30 days for a response based on the delay I have received your previous letters from when they were dated. Please note any further delay to accepting my proposal after April 30, 2012 will result in a delay to the proposed repayment above due to the lead time required to manage funds for repayment and organize wire transfers from the US to the UK.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

XXXX

 

[1] tracking number: XXXXXXXXX

Edited by Null

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That's fine but I would also put the header "Without Prejudice".

 

http://www.business-law.co.uk/commercial-litigation/without-prejudice/


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That's fine but I would also put the header "Without Prejudice".

 

Would it be an issue that my original letter didn't contain such header?

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Would it be an issue that my original letter didn't contain such header?

 

No.


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Sorry for bumping an old thread but I have an update. So after my second letter I didn't hear anything back from the SLC so as outlined I had prepared to repay them the money. Then yesterday I get a carbon copy of the 2nd letter they sent me just with updated dates/amount owed. I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of loop with them. I have confirmation they received my previous two letters and I'm going to send back a reiteration of my 2nd letter again, though as I warned in my 2nd letter, now they have not agreed I've moved the starting dates for repayment back a month.

 

I have a feeling I'm going to go through this cycle a 3rd time. Does anyone have any advice on what I could say/do to make them engage with my letters? I'm a little cautious to just pay them without their acknowledgement of the plan as if they do try and bring a case to the US I'll need that money for a lawyer instead.

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It is highly likely they are stuck in a loop. They have an automated cycle of threat-o-grams which doesn't really have any human input as they are produced by machines. The highly trained threat monkey whose duty it is to open the mail doesn't have the ability to read and digest any letters enclosed, his duty is just to look for greenbacks. ;)

 

Personally I would ignore until you receive something which resembles something that has actually been composed by someone who actually breathes.


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Or perhaps just to cover yourself a final letter enclosing copies of your previous two and saying that unless you receive a proper response any further correspondence from them will be ignored. Then ignore them.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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So another update. I wasn't able to resolve this with the SLC. Today they send me a letter to inform me it's been passed to a 3rd Party DCA. Apparently I wasn't responding to their request, despite the 3 recorded letters I sent them. One interesting thing is that they don't tell me who they've passed the debt on to to and I thought by law if a debt was transferred you had to be informed who has the debt. I could be wrong though but if that is true is this just another tactic on their part to scare me into calling them up?

 

Is it worth even responding to this latest letter? Should there be anything I can put in place in case this goes to court in the US later?

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Technically they should have sent you a 'Notice of Assignment' but a debt collector can do that themselves now.

 

Personally I would just wait to see who contacts you next, whether they are a US or UK debt collector.


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Perhaps they don't know who it will be passed to. There are not that many DCA's who will chase debts overseas.

 

Wait to see if any DCA writes to you. I can't see the point of writing to them further, as you have evidence of writing to them previously, trying to resolve.

 

The SLC will have many thousands of loan debts that are in the exactly the same position. Going nowhere.

Edited by unclebulgaria67

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Hi all updating an old thread. I lost the password/email to my previous account so created a new one. So after months of my letters being ignored I finally gave up. The debt has been bounced around a few UK DCAs but none of them were following up in the payment of the debt. Situation has changed now because for the first time a US DCA (in the same state where I live) has now gotten involved. The DCA in question is 'Caine & Weiner' and unfortunately they're demanding an amount I'm not even close to be in a position to pay.

 

The letter they've sent mentions that they have a 30 day window to request 'validation' of the debt, which I think it's cautious and prudent to do as I've stop receiving any communication from the original creditor about the status of my account. Does anyone have a template or advice what I should put in my written response back to them (The letter is dated December 3rd, so I don't have a large amount of time to respond to them). Is there specific evidence I should be asking for now for proof in case this goes to court later?

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I think this latest company being in the same state as you is just a coincidence. The validation of the debt letter is a phishing trip to see if you bite. Once you reply, they will be on your case, pushing you for as much as you can pay, so you are left with a dime after getting paid.

 

Not sure I would respond. See what they do next if anything. They would have to have a UK court judgement first and then go to the US court with it. Any process is going to be fairly long and frustrating, so they may not bother. But they certainly would proceed if you contacted them, made payment and then defaulted at any point.


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