Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

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Michelle
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#1 Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Michelle » 12 Sep 2016 22:10

This on the front page of today's Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ilies.html With Brexit, the Proms and record Indian Summer temperatures, it was rather surprising to see default judgments, a subject normally debated on the forums, making front page news.
More than 2,000 judgments are being signed off every day, without the cases being defended or heard by a judge in open court. The number of CCJs has risen by more than a third in just three years – almost 900,000 were issued last year, and 85 per cent were uncontested.
The articles focuses on people who were not able to get a mortgage and makes it sound like the end of the world. They go as far as to say that a family ended up homeless because of someone else's parking ticket, giving the impression that CCJs can make you lose your home, which is not the case and the story relates to a badly timed exchange of contracts without having secured a mortgage rather than an eviction.

The article also says that CCJs affect people's ability to obtain credit in general and even some jobs, particularly in the financial sector. While this is true, it is also a fact that credit defaults have pretty much the same effect when it comes to obtaining credit (including mortgages) and financial institutions carry out pre-employment credit checks and often revoke job offers where the applicant has defaults on their credit files. When it comes to credit and employment in the financial sector, defaults can be just as bad as CCJs. Defaults can be recorded without going to court and, like CCJs, stay on file for six years.

The article fails to mention the key differences between defaults and CCJs, in fact, it doesn't mention defaults at all. One key difference is that CCJs are a matter of public record; anyone can search the registry by paying a small fee, while credit checks are restricted to companies that share data with the CRAs. They've also failed to go into detail about CCJ enforcement. When a debt is subject to a court judgment, the creditor can apply to the court to enforce it in various ways, such as:
  • An attachment of earnings, if the debtor is employed. This means the employer will have a duty to make deductions from the debtor's wages and pay this money directly to the judgment creditor.
  • For debts over £1,000, a charging order on the debtor's home or any other property owned by them. This has the effect of turning an unsecured debt such as a credit card bill into a secured debt. Although the courts don't grant them very often, charging orders can be enforced with an order for sale forcing the debtor to sell the property to repay the debt. This is more common with commercial property and BTL investments than family homes.
  • A warrant of control to send bailiffs to seize goods belonging to the debtor to be sold to repay the debt.
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#2 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Michelle » 12 Sep 2016 22:37

In the past, bailiffs were seldom used to enforce ordinary consumer debts, such as credit cards or mobile contracts, however, just as the amount of default judgment increases, so does the number of creditors that apply for warrants to take control of goods. While the article refers to those who found out they had a CCJ when their mortgage applications got rejected, many people only find out they've got a CCJ when they receive a notice of enforcement. :o

It would appear that, now the new regs require a notice of enforcement to be issued before a bailiff can pay a visit, more and more judgment creditors are using warrants as a debt collection tool, to scare judgment debtors into making payments. In most cases, these debtors have not attempted to make a repayment offer simply because they were not aware of the judgment.

One thing that the article doesn't mention is that the default judgments are generally obtained when the claim forms are sent to an old address but, once they have obtained judgment, creditors are able to trace debtors to their current addresses, where they receive their notice of application for an attachment of earnings orders, notices of enforcement and notifications from the Land Registry that an interim charging order has been registered against their property. If they were able to trace the debtor in order to enforce the judgment, shouldn't they have attempted to do this when they sent the court papers? :?
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#3 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Michelle » 12 Sep 2016 22:38

Unlike other types of debts dealt with on this site, CCJs can only be enforced with bailiffs if the debtor does not make payments towards the CCJ or fails to keep up with the agreed repayments.

If a creditor obtains a forthwith judgment against the debtor, where the full amount of the judgment is payable as a lump sum, the debtor can apply for a redetermination, however this is only possible within 16 days of the judgment being made, and most people are still unaware of the judgments at this stage. The advantage of a redetermination is that it only requires a letter and no fee is payable.

It is possible to apply for a variation of the terms of a judgment, i.e. from forthwith to an installment order or to vary an installment order at any time, by filling in the debtor's financial details on an N245 and making a monthly repayment offer based on those figures. Unless the debtor qualifies for remission, a fee is payable, currently £50.

Form N245 is also used to apply for a stay of execution when the debtor has received a notice of enforcement for a CCJ, and the process is similar, i.e. a monthly offer is made backed by a financial statement. The warrant can be suspended and no further enforcement will be possible as long as the debtor keeps making the agreed repayments.

Once monthly repayments have been agreed, the creditor cannot enforce the judgment using bailiffs as long as the debtor is making the agreed repayments.

The warrant will add the £75 compliance stage fee to the debt and it's important to apply to suspend it as soon as the notice is received, to avoid the £235 enforcement stage fee being added if the bailiff visits.
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#4 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Michelle » 12 Sep 2016 22:43

It is also possible to apply to have the judgment set aside if the debtor did not receive the claim form. Unfortunately, the fee is now £255 unless the debtor qualifies for fee remission. This is a little more complicated, as it involves not just filling in an N244, but also attaching a witness statement and a draft defence. If the application is successful, the CCJ is removed, however, and this is something the article doesn't mention either, getting a CCJ set aside is not the end of the matter, the creditor can reactivate the claim and the debtor will have to submit a defence and potentially go to court.

The set aside merely places the debtor in the same position they would have been if they had received the claim forms. They are given an opportunity to admit or defend the claim. The article also gives the impression that admitting a claim may save you from a CCJ, this is not the case. Filing an admission allows the creditor to request judgment by admission.

If there is no viable defence to the claim, the only way to avoid a CCJ would be to either pay the amount in full or to negotiate a Tomlin Order (a kind of consent order) with the creditor, whereby proceedings are stayed while the debtor makes the agreed repayments and gives the creditor liberty to apply to lift the stay and enter judgment if the debtors fails to keep up their payments. This is a useful way to avoid a CCJ on record but they should be used with caution, because they could leave the debtor with a CCJ years down the line if they fail to keep up the agreed repayments.

Although the article focuses on small debts, default judgments can be obtained for any sum and, if the debt is over £10k and the judgment is set aside, any new proceedings will be in the fast track rather than small claims. Unlike small claims, in the fast track, courts always award costs in favour of the winning party.
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#5 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Schedule 12 » 13 Sep 2016 09:45

This is debated on the CAG bailiffs board, but its nothing to do with bailiffs. Remember the Dart Charge thread?

Pre-2014 we had a wild west bailiff industry, now we have a wild west private parking industry thanks to Lord Neuberger.

Parliament needs to regulate private parking and create a statutory regulator.

A private company runs the "ombudsman" service. Its not impartial because it is funded by subscription and its directors hold interests in companies that employ private parking management services. One of its directors is registered by a nickname. The company relies on undefended civil claims motivating the use of wrong addresses for claimants.
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#6 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Michelle » 13 Sep 2016 10:19

Parking penalties are just one type of debt referred to, the emphasis placed on them is because the amounts are so small yet the consequences can be so dire. Not sure where to find this online but the paper version had the following:
CCJs.jpg
Parking Eye had just over 60,000 judgments, the top two, Lowell and Cabot, have nearly 675,000 judgments between them, over 10 times the amount Parking Eye has obtained since 2013! :o

Although this is not a fault of the bailiff industry as such, there is no doubt it feeds bailiff companies. Creditors who obtain default judgment go on to apply for a warrant to scare debtors into making a repayment offer. In many cases it doesn't go much further than that but the £75 compliance stage fee still gets added and the debtor has to fork out £50 to apply to suspend the warrant, this is provided they know they can do that, hence the idea of posting it up where people can read it.

Most people will probably make some sort of arrangement with the creditor when they get a notice of enforcement but seven days is not long, in many cases, people will receive a visit with all the stress associated with it, not to mention the £235 fee! :evil:

You have to wonder how many warrants companies like Lowell and Cabot have been obtaining for their over half a million judgments. :? They didn't seem to take this route before the new regs, very likely because they are not really interested in the debtor's goods. Unlike fines and parking penalties, many of these credit debts are several thousand pounds and they'd need to raid the home of someone who's got a lot of valuables (as per my other thread), to make it worthwhile. When the new regs made it a requirement to issue a notice, these creditors saw an opportunity to use that as a debt collection tool and more and more warrants are being issued for credit debts subject to judgment. :cry:
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#7 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Amy » 13 Sep 2016 10:29

I got a private parking fine from UKPS the other day. Apparently I parked in a library carpark in Cullompton.

The only problem is, I haven't been to Devon for a number of years and I certainly was not there on 16th April, neither was my car.

Idiots.

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#8 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Schedule 12 » 13 Sep 2016 10:47

I tell them to ignore everything, then defend it at court in the least possible time.

Apparently, the parking companies don't turn up.
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#9 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Amy » 13 Sep 2016 11:08

Well in my case they're hardly going to believe it wasn't me guv are they? They must hear that excuse several hundred times a day.

I cannot prove I was not there, I can only prove I was somewhere else and that I cannot do.

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#10 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Pote Snitkin » 13 Sep 2016 11:12

Amy wrote:Well in my case they're hardly going to believe it wasn't me guv are they? They must hear that excuse several hundred times a day.

I cannot prove I was not there, I can only prove I was somewhere else and that I cannot do.
Surely they would've taken the details of the car's make and colour, plus photos?
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#11 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Amy » 13 Sep 2016 11:16

Hopefully, I'm going to email them and ask, just for the hell of it.

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#12 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Thegreyman » 13 Sep 2016 13:28

Amy wrote:I got a private parking fine from UKPS the other day. Apparently I parked in a library carpark in Cullompton.

The only problem is, I haven't been to Devon for a number of years and I certainly was not there on 16th April, neither was my car.

Idiots.
Its possible your number plate has been cloned!

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#13 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Thegreyman » 13 Sep 2016 13:31

jasonDWB wrote:I tell them to ignore everything, then defend it at court in the least possible time.

Apparently, the parking companies don't turn up.

Some do actually turn up so its not best to ignore them all. If you get a genuine claim from a court then you will need to defend it!

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#14 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Amy » 13 Sep 2016 15:43

Thegreyman wrote:
Amy wrote:I got a private parking fine from UKPS the other day. Apparently I parked in a library carpark in Cullompton.

The only problem is, I haven't been to Devon for a number of years and I certainly was not there on 16th April, neither was my car.

Idiots.
Its possible your number plate has been cloned!
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#15 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Michelle » 13 Sep 2016 18:10

Thegreyman wrote:
jasonDWB wrote:I tell them to ignore everything, then defend it at court in the least possible time.

Apparently, the parking companies don't turn up.
Some do actually turn up so its not best to ignore them all. If you get a genuine claim from a court then you will need to defend it!
Yes, a claim should never be ignored because it will result in default judgment just like hundreds of thousands being discussed.
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#16 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by delta157 » 13 Sep 2016 21:34

Amy wrote:Well in my case they're hardly going to believe it wasn't me guv are they? They must hear that excuse several hundred times a day.

I cannot prove I was not there, I can only prove I was somewhere else and that I cannot do.
If you have a smart phone with Google being able to access your location, then check your location history, maybe of use? especially if you made any calls during this time frame from your home location then add the two together and you could walk away from that?

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#17 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by Amy » 14 Sep 2016 11:54

delta157 wrote:
Amy wrote:Well in my case they're hardly going to believe it wasn't me guv are they? They must hear that excuse several hundred times a day.

I cannot prove I was not there, I can only prove I was somewhere else and that I cannot do.
If you have a smart phone with Google being able to access your location, then check your location history, maybe of use? especially if you made any calls during this time frame from your home location then add the two together and you could walk away from that?
Thank you, that's a great shout.

x

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#18 Re: Huge rise in default jugments (CCJs) with debtors unaware of their existence

Post by delta157 » 08 Oct 2016 14:57

Glad to have been of service. Have a great weekend!

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