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statutory demand to my wife


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hello, I hope someone can help me.

 

I recently ran a business as a sole trader which unfortunately did not work out. One of the suppliers is still owed nearly £7,000 and I don't have the money to pay them.

 

They have sent me a letter saying that if the money is not paid within 7 days they will issue a statutory demand to me and also one to my wife as she is deemed to be responsible for my debts too. They have also traced details of her from Linkedin and found that she is a bank manager and also know which branch and are threatening to deliver the statutory demand for her into her branch. She does not know about the debt at the moment and it will make her very worried and cause her serious problems at work.

 

my questions therefore are:

 

1 can they chase her for my debt in this way?

2 is this harassment to call at her place of work in this manner?

3 what can I do about this?

 

Thank you for any help

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1) No, if she has nothing to do with the debt.

2& 3) This is against OFT rules (using a third party to chase for debts) and should be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice helpline. http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/extra/contact.cfm?frmAlias=/contact/.

 

The conduct at the moment is unlikely to be viewed by the Police as harassment for them to be involved. They will see it as a civil matter and therefore Trading Standards is the appropriate way to report at the moment.

 

In regard to the debt, as a sole trader, they could take forward bankruptcy against you personally and if you own a house this could be at risk. It would therefore be sensible for you to discuss this with your wife and to enter into repayments with these suppliers.

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Did your wife have anything to do with the business? I see you say you were a sole trader which would suggest not. There's no general liability for a spouse's debt, unless your wife had some independent liability for the debt then she can not be chased for it any more than your next door neighbour.

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My wife was not involved in the business at all but clearly the house is at risk if they follow through (and I'm sure they will).

 

The immediate problem is if they take the demand into the bank as that will cause her problems and I wonder if a judge would frown upon this course of action given that she is not responsible for the debt directly?

 

maybe they know they cant pursue her directly and are just using this as a lever because they know going into the bank will cause problems

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They cannot involve your wife if the debt is solely in your name. Any papers need to be served on you personally.

 

I would suspect they are guilty of attempting to abuse the Insolvency service. If the letter they have sent to you actually says what you advise then I think you would be able to present it to court as evidence of their tactics.

 

I will try and find someone who can advise further.

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There is no rule which makes a wife liable for her husband's debt. Simply write back stating that, and stating that if they issue a statutory demand against the wife she will apply to court to have the SD is set aside. In accordance with the normal rules she will obtain an order that they pay her legal costs on an indemnity basis.

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