DLA court action - good 'shortfall' solicitor in SE needed URGENT

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I have been chased by DLA on behalf of Cheltenham & Gloucester for 3 years, for a 57k shortfall on a property repossessed in 1991. House was sold at auction in 1992/3(exact date not supplied)for 15k. Last year, DLA wanted a reduced sum payment of 5k, which i realise is a far cry from the full amount, but as i dispute the shortfall amount, and have no way of raising that sort of cash anyway, i remain in correspondence with them over the 'alleged' debt. Also, my ex-husband is not being harassed in any way, whereas this has caused me undue distress - even to the extent of a nervous breakdown - for several years. I have today received a letter saying that 'as this matter cannot be resolved amicably' they have no alternative than to commence legal action against me for the full debt. I believe i have remained amicable throughout, up until the last fortnight, when i did not return the I&E form they requested, nor telephoned as requested.Until i found this brilliant website, i was very ignorant of the law in this respect, and was unaware of my rights, but i now need to contact a solicitor in the SE Kent area, who can help...please does anyone know of one? I understand that it is now probably a good idea to issue a SARN, but am unsure of the exact procedure (do i do it to C&G or DLA?) and wary of serving one without prior legal advice. As i am on a low income, i will be applying for help with legal costs, so a solicitor within the legal services commission scheme would be helpful.

-- Julie Stamp (SALEM@STAMPDJ.FSNET.CO.UK), April 09, 2002


Your situation mirrors mine, and I was refused any help with legal costs as the Legal Aid scheme(as was at the time) didn't cover this type of action. Has that changed? To be honest, a solicitor will advise you not to SARN and pay up. Five grand can probably be whittled down to fifteen hundred quid - could you pay around that and be done with them? My legal costs over five years (until I threw in the towel) exceeded four thousand pounds, and that was a compromise figure. the actual billing was over five thousand - and they were plain wrong about quite a bit of stuff. If you are in or near Maidstone, there is a crap firm there who gave me very bad advice [allegedly] - offices used to be near the bridge. If you need the name email me. I wouldn't want this site to be sued for libel or defamation or whatever it is when you point out how useless some of these legal tossers are.

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), April 09, 2002.


Are DLA actually taking you to court or just threatening to? If you haven't received a summons from them then it may just be more sabre rattling. You say that you dispute the 'alleged' debt. If you haven't accepted it in any of your correspondence and haven't filled in I&E forms, then how likely is it that DLA know about your financial circumstances and ability to pay? I think the advice on this site about SARNs is brilliant. Don't hesitate, use the form of words suggested here and serve a notice immediately on the C & G, and DLA! I agree with Daren's views on solicitors. Wait until you are summonsed would be my advice. If you SARN the lender you may be surprised at what you learn about their 'claim'. Best defence is attack. Put them on the back foot by asking them to justify claim as generally advised in this site.

good luck, you aren't the only one in this position.


-- Gordon Bennet (arsenewhinger@hotmail.com), April 10, 2002.

Unwittingly, I have filled in i&e forms, as i did not know about this website. Decided not to get a solicitor anyway, as none seem to be 'experts' in this field, and i believe that, with all the help available on this website, i can ride out whatever nasties they try to throw at me. (Theyve already threatened me with court action eight times). By the way, have just found out, from a 'house values' site, that my house should have sold for i.r.o. 51k, and not the paltry 15k they obtained! Drafted a SARN, which i want to post Friday night (12/4) but not sure I've got it worded properly - found the copy on this site a bit vague, or am I just being dim?! Any suggestions for a correctly set-out and worded SARN? PS - Havent SARN'd C&G, because contact has always been via DLA, and have never been given the chance to 'negotiate' with the actual building society. Does anyone know whether its worth SARNing them as well?

-- Julie Stamp (SALEM@STAMPDJ.FSNET.CO.UK), April 11, 2002.

DLC are simply agents for your lender. SARN the lender because they will have the most information. DLC won't act unless lender instructs them so it makes sense to open up a direct line of correspondence with the C&J. You should follow the advice on this site Julie, it makes sense and does produce results. The SARN notice is fine, simply address it to your lender at the address on correspondence you have received from them, or failing this their head office. The halifax have a 'Data Compliance Officer' who has to deal with such requests and I imagine the C&G will have someone similar. My advice would be to send your request recorded delivery as they have 40 days to comply and proof of delivery is useful. good luck Gordon Bennet

-- Gordon Bennet (arsenewhinger@hotmail.com), April 12, 2002.

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