Being Harrassed then use this! The Administration of Justice Actgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread
The Administration of Justice Act 1970.
Section 40 of the act provides that a person commits an offence if, with the object of coercing another person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under contract, he or she:
(a) harasses the other with demands for payment which by their frequency, or the manner or occasion of their making, or any accompanying threat or publicity are calculated to subject him or his family or household to alarm, distress or humiliation;
(b) falsely represents, in relation to the money claimed, that criminal proceedings lie for failure to pay it;
(c) falsely represent themselves to be authorised in some official capacity to claim or enforce payment;
(d) utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it has not.
Paragraph (a) above does not apply to anything done by a person which is reasonable (and otherwise legal) for the purpose of :
(1) of securing the discharge of an obligation due, or believed by him to be due, to himself or to persons for whom he acts, or protecting himself or them from future loss; or
(2) of the enforcement of any liability by legal process.
It is also provided that a person may be guilty of an offence under paragraph (a) above if he concerts with others in the taking of such action as is described in that paragraph, notwithstanding that his own course of conduct does not by itself amount to harassment.
-- Geoff Winters (Geofffirstname.lastname@example.org), September 29, 2002
Brill, Maybe we can all use it, ANY MORE?
-- K (Graham@ glougran,fsnet.co.uk), September 30, 2002.
You need to be well aware that in this piece of legislation, there is an exemption for anything that is part of a legal process. So it is OK for the creditor to phone a few times, or write a few letters and then take the matter to court. It is NOT OK for the creditor to threaten (other than "I'll take you to court") or make continuous efforts over a period of time to try and force the debtor into paying by making it embarrassing for him - for example by phoning an employer.
It is extremely difficult to decide where that line is and when somebody has crossed it. There are clear and obvious breaches, such as a creditor threatening to knee-cap a debtor, but in the most part demands are made firstly by letter or phone and then by calling agents before court action - this latter method is not illegal.
-- David J. Button (email@example.com), September 30, 2002.
There's a good layman's expose of Harassment at: www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/index.php3 Click on "debt advice" on left menu and click England (or Scotland) flag for FAQ's and Factsheets (look in these for "harassment". There's also some good other advice leaflets here).
Anyhow, National Debtline's outline of harassment looks beyond S40 of the Administration of Justices Act, and gives a brief outline of the OFT's "Fair Trading Code of Guidance on Harassment", a code designed to supplement the Act's requirements; a list of vulture-companies' professional bodies that subscribe to the OFT's code is also listed on the NDL site. Check whether the company "harassing" you is a member of a subscribing body (if such memberships aren't listed on vulture-companies' letterheads then find the professional bodies' websites - most provide a list their members).
NDL also have a general "How to Deal with Harassment by your Creditors) piece under "Harassment". May I add to that the following practical advice:
1 Deal with creditors by post, and only by post. Anything else and you're thinking on your feet and will make mistakes and agree to things you don't mean to. Stressful, too, having the door or phone going at all hours. Besides, you've no evidence of what's said/done/agreed unless it's all done by post.
2 Talk to the CAB. Tell them how stressful it is having people calling in erson or by phone. They should advise you to limit dealings with creditors to postal. Then, with hand on heart, you can let all your creditors know, in the course of writing to them, that CAB have so advised you.
3 Firmly but politely refuse to speak to phone callers. Keep a list by the phone of the dates that you wrote to each company to advise them of your letter-only policy. Refer callers to these. Get an answerphone to vet calls. Respond to messages asking you to phone someone by writing a letter, asking them to put in writing anything they wish to ask. I recorded copies of vague messages left on answerphone by different employees of one persistent collector company, made a transcript, and posted both to their MD with appropriate prosecution warning. Good stick to beat him with!
4 Finally, for personal callers I used to sellotape a copy of my most recent letter to each creditor (in a sealed envelope) to the inside of my front-door. Any personal callers (buy a door chain, and don't let them in under ANY circumstances) received a copy (a photocopier being absolutely essential equipment) of the most recent correspondence, itself always calling for a WRITTEN reply.
5 The minute legal action is threatened or undertaken this gives an additional reason for insisting that all contact be in writing "due to the seriousness of the matter" No-one can expect you to compromise your position with heresay conversations.
One more thing: National debtline have some excellent advice and downloadable leaflets published on their site. Some are quite robust and dispense vigorous advice considering NATIONAL DEBTLINE ARE FUNDED BY BANKS AND FINANCE COMPANIES. You can make use of their online advice anonymously, but be aware of this fact if you telephone (can take hours to get through) and/or otherwise register for their services.
-- Darius de la Ronde (DARIUSici@aol.com), September 30, 2002.
Thankyou for this useful piece of information. We lost our house 10 years ago, the indemnity we paid settled our dept to the Halifax but apparently not to the Royal and Sun Alliance. We were not told at the time that we would be liable for the shortfall, we have been hassled and bullied by Curtis solicitors for some time eg. they have sent very large men to my door threatening to reposses my car, they have taken photos of my home, my wife and 3 very young children, they have continualy sent threatening letters to us about bankruptcy and repossesion of goods. At no time have we acknowledge them, but it got to a stage where my wife would not leave the house and constantly kept all windows and curtains shut. Why should we have to suffer this we have payed our dept as far as we were told by losing our home. When taking out our mortgage with the Halifax we were wrongly informed of what an indemnity was. But to top it all, today another ugly looking git knocked at our door and presented us with another piece of crappy paper threatening bankruptcy and announcing that he was court official, but there is no court stamp or hearing date on the paperwork, in fact the address for the court was totaly incorrect. We have emailed them a copy of the harrassment document together with a few apt words and it felt great!. please see email sent. Thanks again John and Family.
-- Johncarrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2002.
My Goodness John,
How you have been treated is horrendous. Have you asked Royal & Sun Alliance to substantiate their 'debt' by providing a copy of the MIG? The Halifax got R&SA to write a letter, dated 4th OCTOBER 2002, basially saying that I owed them (R&SA) money for a MIG taken out in January 1989 (keys handed back to Halifax 1995). Of course, all the usual story, underselling and not quite doing things the way they told me they had. Anyway, I asked to see the MIG and they kept refusing to send me a copy, saying it was a 'confidential' to start with and then it was a 'block policy - (which incidentally cannot be traced to one particular property/person)', blah, blah, blah. It turns out that the Halifax re-MIGed the property for a higher value AFTER I handed the keys in, it would appear to me that I am NOT liable for an insurance policy I didn't request! But whichever way, the ORIGINAL MIG was mis-sold. The Halifax told me it covered ME against loss, they at no time said the Insurance Company could claim the money back off me. And because I paid for the policy without being made aware of the full '(made up afterwards) facts', they could not prove that I owed money to R&SA.
My line of defence was either 1. they mis-sold the policy at the time by not stating that I would have to pay the Insurance Company back for any loss they suffer as a result of the insurance. Or 2. If the policy was not mis-sold and the insurance policy covered ME for the loss as stated, then R&SA and Halifax were trying to make me pay money that was not owed to them and this is fraud.
It seems to me you can either try the above and call their bluff, or wait another two years and then tell them politely to go away because the debt is 12 years old.
Whichever, you decide, I think I would send copies of the paperwork you have, plus you story to your MP (my usual line, but I still think the more of us that make a noise about the way we have been treated, then somebody HAS to do something about it eventually)!
-- One Angry Mother (email@example.com), November 27, 2002.
By the way, is there some sort of law against taking photographs of young children without the consent of the parents?
Whenever my daughter is having her photo taken at school, we always receive a note asking for our consent. I don't know whether it's just the school covering their backs or whether there is something set in stone. It may be worth looking in to.
-- One Angry Mother (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2002.
The Royal Sun Alliance MIG's are particularly problematic for many people on this site. Their recovery tactics are disgusting at the best of times. What seems to be an all too common thread is that people are settling with the Lender and are not realising that the RSA can come after them anyway if they [the RSA] didn't sign up to the settlement agreement.
-- Too scared to say (email@example.com), November 27, 2002.