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Alleged T-mobile debt


jaloco
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Hello - I am hoping I'll get some help here for what is becoming a real worry. In 2002 I went to live in New Zealand. Prior to leaving the UK I cleared all of my outstanding accounts and closed down associated direct debits. In each case I asked whether the organisation wished to take the final balance owing by direct debit or whether they wanted a cheque from me. I cannot remember which T-mobile chose but am sure that I responded accordingly. I came back to live in the UK in 2004 and discovered I had a bad credit rating attributable to an alleged debt of £60 to T-mobile. To cut a long story short they have employed various debt collection agencies and tactics to try to get me to acknowledge and pay this amount. The latest letter now says that Hamptons Legal are going to issue county court proceedings against me. If I do receive forms from the court I intend to fight this. My problem is that I have absolutely no proof that I paid this as I ditched all my old accounts before I knew about this. Is there anyone else in a similar situation? Do they really go ahead with court proceedings for such a paltry sum and, if so, am I likely to lose because I have no evidence of how or when I paid. For example I may have sent a cheque that got lost in their system. Any advice would be welcome. I did send a letter in 2004 saying I did not accept that I owed anything and asking for confirmation that no further action would be taken. I had no reply. Earlier this year I started getting a new spate of letters as T-mobile have sold my alleged debt. I've ignored all the latest threatening letters but they are worrying me nevertheless.

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It is only 3 years ago - so you're old bank will be able to provide your financial records as part of a SAR. As for will they take you to court? Probably not, but the default on your Credit Record will cause you enough grief as you re-establish your UK presence again. It may be best to dispute the debt until proper supporting evidence is provided.

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Thanks for the advice Buzby. Two things - the account with T-mobile was closed in 2002 although they registered the alleged default in 2004. Secondly, if I get the bank statements and there is no payment shown - how can I prove that I gave T-mobile the opportunity to take the outstanding balance by direct debit before I closed the dd or that I sent them a cheque that for some reason failed to arrive to clear my account. I know I did one or the other, just cannot remember 5 years back which method of payment I used. What I am 100% sure of is that I definitely followed whatever payment method they requested when I called to terminate the account. My Experian report shows all other bills were settled in full in 2002. I had also just sold my UK house and deposited over £100,000 in a savings account and arranged for £50,000 to be transferred to my bank in New Zealand. I have always paid off my credit card balance every month and apart from a very small mortgage (secured last year despite my negative credit staus!) I do not owe any money to anyone. Is it likely that I would therefore go out of my way to avoid paying £59:41 on closing an account with T-mobile? I believe the fault is theirs - either in their accounting procedures or in their collection procedures. However I cannot prove this so it is my word against theirs and I am horrified that I risk getting a CCJ against me because of their bad practices. Do you think a judge would be on my side or am I just wasting my time. I can certainly afford to pay the amount but don't see why I should when I did all that was asked of me in 2002. More than anything I object to the very strong arm tactics and threatening tone of the various letters sent to try and trick me into contacting the DCAs. However I suspect they carefully stay just within the law otherwise I would think about proceedings against them for harassment. Glad I've got all that out - the more I think and write about this, the crosser I get! Any further advice very welcome. Reading some of the other threads here gives me hope as I'm clearly not alone in this sort of dispute - it's a great forum and a very useful resource for the recipients of these horrible letters.

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The problem here is giving them the opportunity to take a payment from your bank account, and having an outstanding balance that remains unpaid don't in themselves cancel each other out. Although unfair in the extreme, especially as you have given unfettered access to your bank account, if the creditor does not make use of it, you still have a responsibility to pay them the old fashioned way - there isn't a defence of 'they could have taken it if they wanted, however you do have a moral argument that in the absence of them contacting you to explain they didn't take payment, you were otherwise unaware that the debt remained outstanding.

 

I wouldn't worry about a CCJ, their marker on your credit file unfortunately has the same effect. Harassment claims wouldn't work, as the courts take a relaxed view of this, and if there is money owing and they're simply seeking recovery, they'll be fine with that. When you realise the letters are simply templates created to annoy the recipient and induce payment, treat them with the contempt they deserve - but watch for those genuinely being a precursor to legal recovery, as a file of responses showing your rejection of the charge and asking for proof give you a measure of protection should it come to court.

 

The DCA will be relentless - that's their job, but if you reject their claim and dispute it, there is plenty of scope for you to get this matter resolved to your satisfaction!

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Thanks Raymond. I think I shall send one very carefully worded letter stating that I still do not acknowledge the alleged debt (quoting previous unanswered correspondence with the first DCA) and that if they take the matter to court I intend to dispute it and am condfident the court will find in my favour given the history on file and my otherwise flawless credit rating and financial standing. Janet

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