Please could someone offer me some advice. In 1990, after horrendous personal trauma, Bradford&Bingley repossessed my house. I appreciate that the circumstances of most people on this site have been desperate and difficult but mine were mind-boggling. I was in my early twenties and my father told me my grandparents needed money urgently so could I buy their house. I was pressured in a matter of days into signing a mortgage document with the Bradford & Bingley but did not know the true story. The money actually was for my father who was in hopeless financial difficulty. My father assured me he would meet the payments. With a low-paying job, I was in absolutely no position to meet the payments. Within a few months, I found a letter which stated that the property was to be repossessed and it became apparent that my father had been intercepting letters to me concerning the mortgage. Shortly after my father was arrested, tried and jailed for an unrelated fraud matter. This came out of the blue and resulted in my ill mother, and younger brothers and sister being thrown out onto the street in a matter of 4 weeks.

I pleaded with B&B about the mortgage but they insisted on repossession. I had to go to my 85yr old grandparents and break the news to them. My grandad had made his last mortgage payment on the day he retired twenty years before. The local council found them accommodation but they took it very badly and their health went downhill. They both died shortly after. Aside from my grandparents and my mum, my own relationship broke down.

I am now living abroad, having built a new life and a great family. Out of the blue two weeks ago, I received a letter from a solicitor acting for B&B stating I owed 60k pounds. I threw up and all the old worry came back to haunt me. I was so ashamed of my father's (and my?) conduct that I never told my wife as it all happened so long ago. What can I do?? Can they do this to me? Can they pursue me abroad? Who should I see? Someone, please, please help me. It means more than just words. I cannot go through this again. I really cannot.

-- james wing (, November 14, 2000


I would cautiously say that they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting a penny if you truly were the victim of fraud. Engage a UK solictor (see this site for names) and tell them to go to hell. How on earth did they find you abroad? If you severed all ties with the UK someone must have told them where you were. Did you leave a forwarding address with the PO? If so, that's how they got you, despite what the PO says about confidentiality. Where are you? Europe or elsewhere? You poor thing. Do tell your wife though, she is also liable ( I am on the flip side and got caught by husband's debts) and she has a right to defend herself and her assets. They are probably trying to scare you into a settlement offer, but other's here may have a different persepctive.

-- Too scared to say (, November 14, 2000.

In my opinion, I don't think your wife is liable. If she had nothing to do with the mortgage in question, then she cannot be claimed against. She is entitled to her privacy and her autonomy.

-- Eleanor Scott (, November 14, 2000.

As one who has also been treated in a despicable manner by the B&B, please accept my sympathies. I understand fully how distressing it is when a past issue you have put behind you is raked up again by some corporate tossers who don't give a damn about you. My advice would be to tell your wife as soon as possible. I believe that you will benefit greatly from her love and support at this time. My thoughts are with you. Give the B&B hell! :)

-- Catherine Adams (, November 16, 2000.

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