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SIGMA/HL Legal Claim Form Rec'd for Interest Only

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Hi Guys

 

It's been a while but I have today received a court claim from Sigma and HL with regard to an old M&S account.

 

This was not a standard credit card account. It was what they called a reserve account. I had a cheque book and could draw down on it by writing myself or anyone else a cheque.

 

Things went badly wrong in 2009 and I defaulted on all my unsecured credit accounts following the CCA request route.

 

They did send me what appeared to be a microfiched application form in 2009 along with some t&c's that didn't appear to be part of the same document (my application form was portrait and the terms were landscape among other things)

 

I sent a letter saying as the document was not legible I considered it unenforceable and gave them 21 days to send another legible copy.

 

Before they received my letter they sent what at the time was considered a defective default notice and then a reply to my letter stating the considered it enforceable!

 

Several DCA's and final demands later in January this year I opened a letter not addressed to me but to someone I had never heard of at my address (I recognised the letter as DCA) the letter quoted my account number and my outstanding balance but was in this other persons name telling them the account had been sold to Sigma back in December.

 

I then 10 days later got another letter from Sigma explaining that they had made a mistake and they attached another letter from M&S (with the new date) telling my account had been sold this time my name was correct!

 

So anyway todays claim is for interest only on the account since sold to Sigma at 8%. The total is for £299.99.

 

I have dealt with a couple of court claims in the past but am a little rusty these days so I have a few questions.

 

Any advice would be very gratefully received.

 

What I have done in the past is requested information under SAR and filed an embarrassed defence as they do not comply with my request. This has always worked in the past but as I say things have probably moved on in the last year or so. Is this still the basic way to go or is there a better route?

 

Another couple of points I am wondering about but don't know the answers to....

 

I cannot get this interest to work out. I apparently owe a little over £5k if I work out 8% pa then divide it by 52 and times it by 29(the weeks they've owned the debt) it is more like £250. Can I insist on a breakdown of their workings out?

 

Am I right in saying they cannot claim for any more if this claim goes ahead? If so should I think about paying this to then stop them from claiming for the balance? But if I do that does that mean I am acknowledge=ing the debt and that the 6 years statute barred rule starts from now?

 

There was some talk some time back about it not being legal to sell to a company not registered in this country. Is that the case if so are Sigma registered here although their address is in Jersey?

 

Thanks so much for your time again guys.

 

Cupcake

 

Ps a link to my initial thread in case anyone is interested http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?197653-cupcake68-Vs-M-and-S

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It’s a split claim. Can you tell us the precise Particulars of Claim?


“The industry is rotten to the core, whether it is in-house recovery and collection, or where agents are used, or where the debt has been sold.” Andrew Mackinley MP, House of Commons, 22 April 2009

 

If a Cagger helps you, click their star. Better still, make a donation however small, so that CAG can continue to help others.

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Hi Donkey B

 

Claimant Sigma SPV 1 Limited St Helier Jersey

 

care of HL Legal & Collections Redditch

 

POC's as follows:

 

Part only of monies due under regulated Credit Agreement number xxxxx between Marks and Spencer Financial Services plc and the defendant the benefit of which was assigned to the Claimant on xxxx. The agreement terminated upon the defendant(s) failure to comply with the terms of the Agreement and/or the statutory Notice of Default served by Marks and Spencer Financial Services plc The Claimant seeks interest pursuant to section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8% per annum from the date of issue continuing at the daily rate of 0.07 Any payments or queries should be directed to the claimant on 01527 586594 (Phone) or email: info@hllc.co.uk

 

Thanks for your time

 

Cupcake

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This appears to be Sigma/HLs latest tactic and how amusing a lot of these split claims arrived yesterday Friday 13th. I've had one exactly the same Cupcake. Have you looked at some of the similar threads in Legal Issues - in particular the one by Abbey? My understanding is that splitting the claim is an abuse of process and in contravention of section 35 of the County Courts Act. My thoughts too that paying off what appears to be a small amount of money (in my case just over £300) more than likely opens the doors for them to claim the rest. My stance will be to advise that I intend to defend and write to HL with the appropriate CPRs etc and advising account was in dispute so should not have been sold off etc.


My opinions are not expressed as an agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. My advice is given freely but please remember to always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star below.

 

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totally agree on the above

 

mr carter does it to get his legal fees first as an example

 

in a sense it might be advisable to pay the costs as to the claim form, then carter cant come after the balance as the claim has allready been through the court system

 

thats my take on it for him and court costs but in this case they are after interest

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Oh well I knew I might find something about this here :) I got exactly the same Cupcake to the word- mine was for £299 plus costs. I early in the year had their initial letters sent to the wrong address- in my case it was to someone just a few doors away- which was a huge cock up on their part and I'm sure they could be pursued over some breach or other in the data protection acts but to be honest I couldn't be bothered taking it any further.

 

I had a hunch early on that Sigma have very little if next to nothing in the way of paperwork regarding these accounts. I strongly suspect they are taking a 15 quid punt on a lot of people to see what they can shake out of the process. I'm therefore convinced the slightest bit of resistance by way of intending to defend will make them slide away....

 

I'm a bit rusty at this myself though and would welcome some advice. The Jersey angle is interesting...but I reckon the straightforward requesting of documents under cpr would be enough to nip it in the bud. But can we just dive in straight away with cpr with such a small amount? Can't remember. And also the POC is wilfully vague, not mentioning the CCA 1974 for example, so is a request for a replead the best way to approach it?

 

Loads of questions here and a decent, simple procedure for dealing with this sort of case would be very useful I think, as more dca's are using this it appears. Any advice very welcome folks :-)

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Hi - following my redundancy and a shedload of debts which have been sold on and sold on I am now at the stage where I have today received 4 identical claims for £299.99 from Sigma. These are actual summonses so I would ask if anyone knows exactly how to deal with these. I am worried that paying or even acknowledging them would amount to acceptance of the whole debt. I'm really worried because if they got CCJs on these then they could come round to the house and attach assets.Some idea of what I should do would be extremely welcome and gratefully received. Many thanks.

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Contesting the summons is not an acknowledgement of any debt- the onus at this stage is entirely on the claimant to PROVE you owe them any money related to said account, so you don't need to worry about that.

 

This is a ploy by Sigma to see what they can shake out of no doubt thousands of small claims they've made at the same time through Northampton Courts bulk clearance. It's a dodgy claim at best, and they know it. Fortunately, also do we.

 

Sigma will be hoping a majority of people will just pay up hoping it will go away [it won't, I'm sure Sigma will in many cases see it as a green light to go after the rest], or ignore it, so they get a judgment by default, keeping the account alive and beating the statute barring laws.

 

Sigma will in fact have no more information on you than a name, address and account number. If pushed far enough, they will not want to go anywhere near formal court proceedings.

 

So put the pressure on them from the outset. Personally I am today sending a CCA request based on the particulars of claim where there is mention of the existence of an agreement, then in parallel I am submitting approriate CPR [31.14 and 18]. I am also informing them that [in my case] the account has been in dispute with the original creditor for three and a half years and so it shouldn't have been assigned to them in the first place.

 

As a backup I am preparing a simple defence statement if it goes that far, but I very much doubt it will. I - and everybody else who follows this course of action- will eventually get a letter from Sigma/HLCollections offering a stay on proceedings so long as a repayment plan is entered [which is now I am sure the whole object of this exercise]. As they have effectively blinked first, I will be telling them to put that offer where the sun don't shine and I will move to have the claim struck out if they do not themselves discontinue.

 

It's down to personal choice/circumstances but I really, really wouldn't advise anyone to pay a penny in response to these claims. It's effectively like some bloke coming up to you in the street, telling you for a few quid he's bought an account number with your name on it from the bank, and now he wants you to pay him £300 + an extra £50 for his trouble. Would you fall for that? No. This situation is in principle, no different than that.

 

This is essentially nothing more than an abuse of process to get money from the uninformed. Don't fall for it, because to do so, would also legitimise this method in the mind of not just this but other dcas, as a profitable business model and everybody will be at it.

 

So don't panic, don't worry and there are loads of good threads on here now discussing this very issue. Acknowledge service of the claim on the website and immediately ask HL for legally effective documentation to back up their claim through the proper channels. And at all times as I've said on another thread, keep it simple and also take solace that on this one you really are not alone :)

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Hi Guys

 

So having read lots of threads although I haven't got answers to all my questions I am confident that handling it they way I have handled others in the past.

 

I am defending the claim.

 

I am going to send Sigma the standard CPR request letter giving them14 days. I am going to add a note at the bottom asking them to agree to an extension for filing my defence.

 

I am SAR ing M and S (I intend to check their records for any discrepancies or mistakes they made in handling/selling on my account)

 

I expect Sigma not to replay to my CPR request or acknowledge my request for an extension to file my defence. In which case I will file an embarrassed defence explaining that I have no details.

 

If anyone sees any fault in this route I would be pleased to hear them and also if anyone can shed any light on my initial question about Sigma being in Jersey (I remember reading something about Varde being in Ireland and that they should not have been allowed to buy the debt?)

 

Good luck everyone I will keep this thread updated.

 

Cupcake

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Hi Guys

 

So...

 

I sent my embarrassed defence on 090812 and so far have not heard a thing (except my phone ringing several times a day!!)

 

HL ;egal/Sigma and M&S have both so far ignored my requests for information. I have had nothing from anyone.

 

Am I right in saying once my defence is in they have 28 days to decide if they are going ahead? If so what do I do now that 28 days is up?

 

Thanks for all the advice

 

Cupcake

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Hi Guys

 

So...

 

I sent my embarrassed defence on 090812 and so far have not heard a thing (except my phone ringing several times a day!!)

 

HL ;egal/Sigma and M&S have both so far ignored my requests for information. I have had nothing from anyone.

.

 

Am I right in saying once my defence is in they have 28 days to decide if they are going ahead? If so what do I do now that 28 days is up?

 

Thanks for all the advice

 

Cupcake

 

I seem to think its 33 days as I've seen this number mentioned in others posts. Perhaps this allows for postage?? I'm in the same boat as you and think its probably best to do nothing at this point. The claim will automatically be stayed and to reopen Sigma/HL would have to give a judge very good reason for delaying the claim AND explain why they've not responded to our requests for information etc.

 

I suspect this whole business was a fishing trip to see who would roll over easily and pay the small amount requested therefore opening themselves up to a repayment plan .We do have the option of applying for a strike out but I'm not keen on paying to do this. Perhaps "let sleeping dogs lie" is the best approach for now


My opinions are not expressed as an agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. My advice is given freely but please remember to always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star below.

 

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This, via CitizenB, could be useful...

 

In Barton Henderson Rasen v Merrett [1993] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 540 Saville J said that it is an abuse of the

court’s process to issue proceedings with no intention of taking the case any further. In

contentious matters the courts exist for the purpose of determining claims. Therefore, starting

a claim with no intention of pursuing it is not using the court’s processes for the purposes

for which they were designed. ‘Parking’ proceedings in an attempt to achieve a settlement

with other defendants justified striking out with indemnity costs in Sodeca SA v NE Investments

Inc. [2002] EWHC 1700 (QB), LTL 27/8/2002.


“The industry is rotten to the core, whether it is in-house recovery and collection, or where agents are used, or where the debt has been sold.” Andrew Mackinley MP, House of Commons, 22 April 2009

 

If a Cagger helps you, click their star. Better still, make a donation however small, so that CAG can continue to help others.

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.

 

I suspect this whole business was a fishing trip to see who would roll over easily and pay the small amount requested therefore opening themselves up to a repayment plan .We do have the option of applying for a strike out but I'm not keen on paying to do this. Perhaps "let sleeping dogs lie" is the best approach for now

 

 

My only problem with that, is constantly worrying that one day all this will rear its nasty head again. :|

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My only problem with that, is constantly worrying that one day all this will rear its nasty head again. :|

 

Quite possibly.

 

I had a case (not the same leeches as here) which was stayed for about 18 months until the enemy stirred. Their first application to Northampton Court (CCBC) failed but their second succeeded. (Although their case finally failed after it progressed).

 

The way I see it, you can either let sleeping dogs lie as suggested, or after a reasonable amount of time you could make your own application to have the stay lifted with the intention of applying for a strike-out.

 

No doubt Andy or someone else wil advise further on that possibility.

 

Rob

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Good post robcag. That is one thing it’s difficult to advise on – leaving it be does leave the door open for them. The question you need to answer is whether you want finality.


“The industry is rotten to the core, whether it is in-house recovery and collection, or where agents are used, or where the debt has been sold.” Andrew Mackinley MP, House of Commons, 22 April 2009

 

If a Cagger helps you, click their star. Better still, make a donation however small, so that CAG can continue to help others.

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Hi Cupcake

 

My earlier reply was after having read only the latest posts on this thread, but I've now read the thread from the beginning and also had a look through your original thread linked to in your opening post.

 

I also had a M&S Reserve account upon which I was defaulted in early 2007, again by means of a defective DN (insufficient time allowed as in your case). In my case I received a Final Demand for the full outstanding (alleged) balance shortly afterwards. It seems we have a fairly similar trail in some respects, as indicated below in red ...

 

 

Hi Guys

 

It's been a while but I have today received a court claim from Sigma and HL with regard to an old M&S account. (I haven't)

 

This was not a standard credit card account. It was what they called a reserve account. I had a cheque book and could draw down on it by writing myself or anyone else a cheque. Ditto

 

Things went badly wrong in 2009 and I defaulted on all my unsecured credit accounts following the CCA request route. 2006-2007 for me, but I didn't CCA them until 2009 following their refusal to let me continue with the £5 per month payment agreement.

 

They did send me what appeared to be a microfiched application form in 2009 along with some t&c's that didn't appear to be part of the same document (my application form was portrait and the terms were landscape among other things) I'm not sure about that without hunting down the paperwork.

 

I sent a letter saying as the document was not legible I considered it unenforceable Ditto and gave them 21 days to send another legible copy.

 

Before they received my letter they sent what at the time was considered a defective default notice and then a reply to my letter stating the considered it enforceable! As stated above, my defective DN was received in 2007, but their reply to me in 2009 challenging the legibility of the CCA reply resulted in a second attempt at making it legible by them sending an enlargment of the illegible document!

 

Several DCA's and final demands later ....... I can't remember off-hand which monkeys have chased for M&S but AFAIR the last letter received was from bottom-of-the-heap 'Credit Security Ltd' in April this year.

 

[/url]

 

Regarding the illegible application form without the prescribed terms visible, they replied trying to convince me it was enforcible by misquoting sections of the CCA 1974. I then sent a fairly lengthy (hopefully convincing) response correcting them on their mis-use of quoting sub-sections of the CCA 1974 out of context etc.

 

It seems you have received a defective DN but in your other thread you seem to be concerned that you haven't received a TN? I didn't receive a TN as such either, but I included in the above letter an acceptance of their repudiation of contract indicated by their final demand which was issued 19 days after their issuing of the defective DN.

 

Like you, I haven't yet let on to M&S or any of their monkeys about the DN being defective. It seems you have a good defence to any claim against the original debt, so if your present claim remains stayed for long, IMHO you would have a good prospect of a successfully applying for a strike-out.

 

Good luck

Rob

Edited by robcag

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Thanks guys for the feedback!

 

So to get the claim stayed they have to agree?

 

So get the claim struck out I have to pay £70 ish?

 

If I then get it struck out can I claim my costs back from them?

 

Cupcake

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Hi

 

I have spoken to the court today.

 

They have confirmed that the case is stayed as I have filed my defence and they have not replied but she advised me that if they decide to go ahead in the future it will be sent to my local court. I can apply to local district judge to get it struck out if i want but she seemed to imply it was a waste of time.

 

I am keen to get these people of my back so am thinking about strike out but I could do with some advice on this please/

 

If I apply for strike out and win (I assume it's fairly straight forward being that they have totally ignored my written requests for information on this account) can I claim back the £75 cost as well as my other costs?

 

I am far from flush so to find the £75 would be hard but if I was confident in getting it back it would be worth it.

 

Also although I have told them to not contact me by phone they are still calling me 3-4 times a day. Is there any more I can do about this?

 

Thanks guys

 

Cupcake

 

Ps I am thinking any money I can get back in charges for my time (I think it's £18 per hour) should be donated to this site - I have had so much help over the years and although life is still very hard we are learning to live with it and be grateful)

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Hi CC

 

In theory yes sound feasible but they may oppose the application and proceed so timing is crucial.I personally would wait a further 1/2 months then strike.

The fee is £80 BTW and yes you would be able to claim along with wasted costs.

 

Cite DB/CB post 12 as grounds and also state further harassment during litigation.

 

Regards

 

Andy


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