22 Mar 2015

A question about : Being hassled!

I got into debt with a company and owed approximately Ј900 about a few years ago. I did initially dispute part of the debt but as I was in a poor state financially at the time, was pretty much bullied by them. It did not go to court and we agreed to repayments of Ј10 per month which I have religiously paid on time without fail. About 6 months ago, they contacted me to say they had decided to add interest to the debt unless I agreed to pay Ј15/month. Reluctantly I agreed as the only income I am receiving is Carers Benefit (although I do live rent free with the person I care for). Now I have received an email saying they want to review the situation further (the debt is down to Ј404). I am almost certain this will include a further increase.

Due to the person I am caring for's needs, I am unable to go out and get further work.

Whilst I appreciate they want their money, at present I am not in a position to repay it in its entirety nor increase payments.

What should I do? I spoke to my former accountant who knows the firm who said he did not feel they could enforce anything?

I am really stressing about this right now!

Best answers:

  • Do you receive income support aswell as your Carer's Allowance?
    This should be something you should apply for if your only income is Carer's Allowance.
    Just send them a financial statement showing you cannot increase the payments as you are not in a position to.
    What company is it?
  • No I don't claim Income support (didn't know I could to be honest!) I switched to Carers Allowance from JSA when it became clear I was needed at home to care for my parents. As I said I don't pay rent just contribute to food etc. So therefore thought I wouldn't be eligible.
    The company is a large firm of vets - its from when I was self employed and ran my own business.
  • Definately apply for Income Support as soon as possible.
    As for the company like i said send them a breakdown of your income and expenses and show them that you cant afford to pay out anymore than you currently do.
    Then see what they say. I'm sure there will be an expert on soon to give you some more advice.
    What does the letter actually state with regard to adding the interest?
  • I would have to dig out the letter but it was along the lines of "due to your long-term outstanding debt, it has been decided to charge interest on your account unless you increase your monthly payments"
  • seems a bit naughty that but i'm not informed really on the legal side of these things.
  • That's what I felt, as did my accountant!
  • Is this some sort of contract or credit agreement? What does it say about allowing them to charge interest?
  • No its just an outstanding vets bill albeit rather long! I have been paying it since 2008 at a rate of Ј10 which they had agreed to with no interest mentioned although I understand they now have on their invoices the words "We reserve the right to charge 1.4% interest per month on overdue accounts" (I would have to locate a very old statement to see it this applied then but it was never mentioned nor applied). Then in May 2013 they started charging interest which was roughly Ј7. I then got a call from their accountant saying if I upped the payments to Ј15/month, she would not charge interest. So I did as they requested and now I have been emailed to the effect that they want to review the situation and presumably increase the payments again
  • I see. If I was you I would call National Debtline www.nationaldebtline.org to see if they think they have the right to charge that interest, as if so if there is any way you can force them to stop. There are ways with some credit agreements but I'm not sure about on this. Worth asking www.nationaldebtline.org at the least.
  • I would do as Rizla suggests.
    Normally, when you agree to vet treatment, you sign a consent form. Especially for potentially expensive ones. Each vets terms are likely to be different, if they are even on there.
    I would be thinking about writing to the vets insisting to see the terms that they feel allow them to charge interest along with proof you agreed to them.
    They could always take you to court, but obviously a hassle for them and they ay not get any more than the Ј10 per month anyhow.
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