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What can US debt collectors do on a British Citizen?

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Hi,

 

just found the forum here - everything looks great and I felt that it would be a great place to get reliable advice, so here I am!

 

I'm currently being threatened by US debt collectors, but I'm in the UK.

 

i got a credit line from a US advertising company which I began using to promote my business ( as a sole trader ).

 

Unfortunately, things didn't go too well, as their ad inventory wasn't good ( common knowledge, apparently ).

 

they've started sending me invoices, and now I'm about 5 days late on the first payment of just over $500.

 

The ad company has now told me that unless I confirm that I'm making the payment within the next two days,

they're passing it on to their 'outside debt collection agency'.

 

They also said that their collectors have a great track record of recovering debts, even from people outside of the US.

I just felt that I was being intimidated and they refused to give me more time to pay.

 

They then said that I would be liable for the expenses of the collection agency on top of the actual bill itself.

 

Realistically, what can they do, seeing as I'm a British citizen and they're in the US?

There was no contract, just a basic written agreement ( which they didn't keep themselves - they were supposed to extend me $5000 of ad credit, then bill me 30 days afterwards ).

 

Advice would be greatly appreciated!

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You MUST put in writing any dispute you have about performance issues with the contract and I would suggest that you send this by international recorded post, plus Email. Then if any debt collectors chase, you can send them a copy of the dispute letter.

 

If and it is a big if, they took you to court in the US, they should advise the court of your contact address so you are made aware of any case against you. At least if you had disputed the performance of the contracted services you could point to this. If they then won the case in the US, I am not sure they would bother to try to get a UK court to consider the matter unless the total amount made it worth their while.

 

I read of a lot of bluster by US companies and US debt companies, most of which is total rubbish. They will say anything to gain payment. Put the dispute in writing, advising of the performance issues and that you believe they have breached the contract. You may have to give them the opportunity to remedy the performance issues, with a time period that is fair. If you don't then you may be seen as acting unreasonably.


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Hi,

 

many thanks for your advice! Regarding the courts in the US, if they did take me to court, what would the procedure be? Is it kind of similar to the way debt collectors and courts in the UK work?

 

Thanks again.

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Pretty much, yes. The reality is that they're threatening you with all sorts because they know there is precious little chance of them getting the money from you if you're in the UK. I would write to them pointing out the multiple ways in which they breached their own terms and invite them to sue you if they think they can win. I doubt they'll throw good money after bad.

 

They can't legitimately send a DCA after you here without a court order than a UK company can, so this is just huff and puff to scare you into paying at the moment.

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Pretty much, yes. The reality is that they're threatening you with all sorts because they know there is precious little chance of them getting the money from you if you're in the UK. I would write to them pointing out the multiple ways in which they breached their own terms and invite them to sue you if they think they can win. I doubt they'll throw good money after bad.

 

They can't legitimately send a DCA after you here without a court order than a UK company can, so this is just huff and puff to scare you into paying at the moment.

 

Thanks! So, just that I get it - they'd have to take me to court in the US ( even though I wouldn't be physically present ) and win the case, then apply to a local court in the UK just to get to the stage that a UK company would be at starting off?

 

They'd have to win the case in the US in order to apply to obtain a CCJ or whatever in the UK?

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Thanks! So, just that I get it - they'd have to take me to court in the US ( even though I wouldn't be physically present ) and win the case, then apply to a local court in the UK just to get to the stage that a UK company would be at starting off?

 

They'd have to win the case in the US in order to apply to obtain a CCJ or whatever in the UK?

 

Yes this is correct for most debts. However, I believe if it is a commercial debt of a considerable value they could apply to the High Court in the UK, as you are resident here. Don't ask me what the value is for such cases, what the process is and the costs involved. I just seem to remember US companies taking UK companies to court in the High Court.

 

What is the rough value of the total contract ?

 

I would suggest that you dispute the matter as previously suggested and see where this goes. If it ever gets to the stage where they look to involve the courts, I would suggest that you get proper legal advice. Whatever you do, do not ever make an offer of payment or admit to owing any amount, without getting legal advice first. Keep your comments in writing to concern only their performance and breach of contract. You cannot be expected to pay for something they have not delivered on.


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Yes this is correct for most debts. However, I believe if it is a commercial debt of a considerable value they could apply to the High Court in the UK, as you are resident here. Don't ask me what the value is for such cases, what the process is and the costs involved. I just seem to remember US companies taking UK companies to court in the High Court.

 

What is the rough value of the total contract ?

 

I would suggest that you dispute the matter as previously suggested and see where this goes. If it ever gets to the stage where they look to involve the courts, I would suggest that you get proper legal advice. Whatever you do, do not ever make an offer of payment or admit to owing any amount, without getting legal advice first. Keep your comments in writing to concern only their performance and breach of contract. You cannot be expected to pay for something they have not delivered on.

 

Thanks. The debt is $521 roughly, and I did get advertising for it, but they cut the ads off before I reached the credit limit, which means that I didn't get enough traffic to make the thing work. Plus their click prices were supposed to be 5c, whereas they ended up a lot higher. I don't have a company, though - I was operating under my own name.

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Without seeing the contract terms it is difficult to advise. If that is the value of the contract then I can't see them taking this any further. But do send them a letter of dispute advising them of the issues.


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Without seeing the contract terms it is difficult to advise. If that is the value of the contract then I can't see them taking this any further. But do send them a letter of dispute advising them of the issues.

 

OK - I'll do that. Many thanks!

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