One story that is big right now is about the people who claim that they have received a County Court Judgement without any type of notification. Yet we know this isn’t possible, so why is it being spun like this?
This story starts out only a few weeks ago, before that we had never even heard of there being an issue. Apparently though, the Prime Minister Theresa May is concerned about it and this seems to have tied in with many of the mainstream media outlets highlighting it.
The basic premise for the story is that people are applying for credit (mortgages or loans) only to be declined and later find out that they have a CCJ on their records. They will often deny having any knowledge of it. This isn’t particularly abnormal in anyway, in fact it is pretty common. They often deny it because they have been caught out lying. Rather than admit that they always knew about the CCJ, they claim they have no idea.
Whilst the media lap it all up and believe every word, we find these stories somewhat questionable. For a start, the Court doesn’t just add a CCJ onto someone’s credit file. They go through a whole process and procedures that must be followed before they will grant a judgement. These are called Pre Action Protocols.
Without going into massive legal detail about the procedures, they include several letters being sent and several phone calls being made. It is only as a last resort that a lender will ever attempt legal action. They must show what attempts they have made to resolve the situation to the court. The action has to be proportional.
A letter before action must be sent to the defendant. This gives them at least 14 days to reply to the letter. If they do not respond, the claimants (usually lender) will file a claim with the court. The Court will then send out details of the claim and notice to the defendant’s address. This gives them up to 28 days to reply with a defence.
To claim that they were unaware of any of this and never received any phone calls or letters is difficult to accept.
The exception is where they may have moved address. First of all it is the debtor’s responsibility to inform creditors where they have moved to. Secondly, if a CCJ has been granted against a debtor and the paperwork has been sent to the previous address – the Court will take another look at the judgement if the debtor appeals the original verdict. Finally, debt collectors will usually track down the new address through various means and alert the debtor that way.
We just don't think it is possible these days, for someone to claim they had no idea.
From our point of view, there is no better solution to reclaiming a debt if the debtor simply has to ignore all letters from us and a Court about the debt. That seems to be what is being proposed. A debtor can just ignore us, never tell us where they have moved to and the whole system of credit comes crashing down.
At the end of the day it is our customers that do pay on time that will have to cover the debt of those that just ignore their responsibilities if changes are made to the way CCJ are entered onto the register.