My story about the end of my debt collection process and debt repayment…
My deadbeat was really starting to sweat now. He had taken advice, probably for free from the Citizens Advice Bureau. They would have told him that if he chooses to never make payments or even offer to make them, eventually I could sell his house. Essentially, the court tries to assess the level of cooperation being offered. Sooner or later, zero cooperation will be punished and the stakes are starting to get pretty high.
The Start Of My Debt Collection Process
Within a few months of my charge being applied, he actually took some action! He completed a form to be sent to the court requesting to make voluntary payments. Then he was applying for a Variation Order. Lastly he had completed an income and expenditure form, to prove conclusively how little he could afford.
Alas, his inability to focus on his paperwork, or sheer laziness meant that he filled in the form very poorly with errors and corrections. It looked as though he was trying to cheat the numbers. Frankly, it looked like the homework of a nine year old! He offered to repay the sum of $10 per month. By this time, the debt was approaching $7,000 and the monthly interest was accruing at $30. I contacted the court explaining that at $10 per month he would never actually repay the debt and they should set a higher amount. The court chose $80 per month as the new monthly debt repayment figure.
I admit that the letter I wrote to the court was probably the most strongly worded letter of my life. In that letter I explained a little of the background to the situation. I briefly outlined that the money was stolen, the police were unconcerned, the court had agreed with me, my deadbeat never responded to my letters, I had paid substantial amounts to get this far and that if they didn’t enable me to collect this debt legally as I had intended, I would collect it myself! I seem to recall using the phrase ‘by fair means or foul, and I have been trying fair for over two years now’. It obviously worked!!
Debt Collection Process – Making Progress With The Bailiffs
If you were concentrating earlier in this tale of woe, you will realize that I now had a regular debt of under $5,000 owed to me. I could legally send in bailiffs to collect should I choose.
After four months had passed and only one debt repayment payment forthcoming voluntarily, I sent in the bailiffs. This is the sharp end of debt collection process! Once a bailiff instruction fee has been added to the amount owing and a fee paid to be bailiffs too, debt collection agencies actually become a very expensive and stressful means of debt repayment. My deadbeat didn’t seem to learn this very quickly though. I had to send in the bailiffs three more times. The debt collection process seemed as though it was never going to end.
I began receiving letters from a ‘personal friend of deadbeat’ who was trying to negotiate a lump sum debt repayment at very reduced levels ‘without prejudice’. In fact, he was suggesting under 50% of the amount owed. At the outset, I would probably have accepted this.
Now my loan was 100% secured, earning interest at more than double the rate of inflation. I was also able to force a debt collection every month should I choose. If I had chosen to negotiate I would have lost all the advantages I worked so hard for.
At long last, it was my turn to ignore letters.
Debt Collection Process – light at the end of the tunnel
Suddenly, a few months later, I received a letter from a local firm of lawyers explaining that they wished to arrange debt repayment in full, in two weeks time. As I understand it, Deadbeat was selling his house (I imagine to stop him being repossessed) and to do so, I would need to be repaid in full. I prepared a statement and two weeks later, debt repayment was made in full. This debt collection process was coming to an end.. Success at last!!
It was a very satisfying day for me. Those close to me had told me on any number of occasions that I should ‘move on’ and ‘forget about it’ because they all thought he would refuse to pay. I was pleased that my strength of character won and it gave me a huge sense of achievement. The debt collection process enabled me to pay back my own lenders (remember me saying that as the business went under I was nearly dragged under with it?) and it pretty much finished the ‘start-up adventure’ for me.
The lesson here is simple. If you have been wronged and are owed an amount of money that is worth chasing and collecting, you can do it. Legally. It takes time, effort and persistence, but you can force debt collection too.
Here’s a great post on What does a bad credit score look like.