There is a big difference between being threatened with a County Court Judgment and actually receiving one.

A lot of creditors use the threat of legal proceedings to get you to pay more towards your debt, especially if you are not paying anything at all. Creditors/solicitors may use words like Bailiffs, Attachment of Earnings and Enforcement.

Default Notice

If creditors/solicitors threaten legal action is aware it may be a warning of their intentions. If this is the case firstly they have to issue you with a default notice. This is a formal notice that states you are in breach of your credit agreement, as such the creditor/lender will be able to take legal action if they feel it is appropriate. It does not automatically mean they will pursue the debt in this way. The default notice will stay on your credit file for six years and it may have an impact on you getting further credit. If you are in a position to pay the amount outstanding it would be in your best interest to do so. If however you cannot afford to pay the debt it would be advisable to speak to the creditor and come to an arrangement to clear the debt at a monthly payment you can afford. The creditor/lender would prefer that you contacted them to say you are struggling rather than just ignoring the problem. If you have not had any contact with a creditor for over 6 years, the debt may be Statue Barred please see below for more information.

Statute Barred

The Limitation Act 1980 – This act only applies to residents in England and Wales, under the act, creditors have a six year period to chase you for payment, if you have not had any contact from them in any form in the last six years it means they may not be unable to pursue the debt or enforce the debt through the Court system. It does not mean the debt will be automatically written off. You will still owe the money and they are still able to chase you for payment, they are just unable to issue you with legal proceedings.

The Claim Form

Claim forms have a time limit set on how long you have to respond, it is usually only 14 days from the issue date on the Claim Form for it to be valid. It must have an issue date, a claim number and be officially stamped by the court. Check the post mark on the envelope the claim form was received in as the date may be taken from the postmark date. Of course this is a shock to have received a claim but there are steps you can take. For more information please click here to Payplan’s website. If you do not respond to the claim form the court will enter a Judgment without your response anyway. The Judgment made may not be in your favour, so it is best to reply at this early stage to stop further enforcement methods.