I've been going through the forum and noticed people in a similar situation as me. In short, I have unpaid debt in the UK, relating to overdrafts and credit cards. I am now living outside of the UK and I have no idea what the status of these debts are. I was wondering if you could help me find out.
Here's the story in more details.
In 2008, I lost my job with the recession and things quickly unraveled. I ended up splitting with my decade long girlfriend and moving out, first to a family member, then to a room used by someone for storage and finally into a rented bedsit on the outskirt of London where it was cheap. I was pretty depressed but rebounded slowly, earning a modest income playing poker on the internet. This activity being classed as gambling, it is tax free and does not need to be declared, which in effect meant I flew under the radar.
3 years later, I left the UK and started a new life abroad, first in Romania then recently, in France. Since the money I was winning online was barely enough to live in London, I decided to move to Bucharest where a grand a month is quite a bit of cash. I was able to earn more than enough money to live on. I was channeling all the money through eWallet accounts so I never used my UK bank accounts again. I had two, the Lloyds account with the overdraft (not used since early 2009) and an Egg savings account which was later transferred to another bank (not used since mid 2012).
As a result, I am unsure about the status of these debts and don't even remember the names of the DCAs. This is from 8 years ago so things are starting to look a bit fuzzy. On top of that, with all the chaos in my 2008-09 life, I pretty much lost all paperwork related to this... alongside all my worldly possessions. But here is what I know:
- I think there were only 3 debts: One relating to my bank overdraft (I believe in the region of 2K but unsure) and two with credit cards companies (one for 2K, the other for an unknown amount, but I think in the low hundreds).
- In late 2008, I entered into a debt consolidation thing with the bank. Can't quite remember what it was but I think Lloyds consolidated my overdraft and credit card into one, not sure how the procedure works. My life was collapsing elsewhere so I didn't really pay much attention to the details, and with the passing years, all I remember is being on the phone with the person arranging the plan and I think I was making repayments at the beginning.
- Also late 2008, a CCJ was issued against me relating to the 2K credit card debt.
- I believe I made a couple of payments for one or both of these debts in late 2008 before everything collapsed and being forced to move out. I believe I never made repayments towards the smaller CC debt but I do remember reducing it to a small amount and telling them I wouldn't repay the rest because the many crippling late charges I totaled up on my statements (there were tons on my other two accounts).
- After the chaotic moving out period (early January 2009), I never made any more payments and never had any more contact with my creditors or the debt collection agencies. I didn't have any money anyway. They probably sent letters to my old address but since I had moved out and I didn't officially live anywhere until early 2011, there was no more contact between us.
- In 2012, I moved out of the UK and lived in Romania for several years. Being away from the UK offered some peace of mind but I occasionally wondered what had happened to the unpaid debts. I began integrating into Romanian society and life became quite fun again.
- Recently, I have moved to France because I have the possibility to temporarily live somewhere rent free. I intend to stay here temporarily (I speak fluent French) and raise money to start a small business since, administratively speaking, it is now very easy to do so (there are virtually no complex procedure for any business doing less than 82K per year in revenues).
- I have been living all these years using an eWallet accounts with a Mastercard associated to the account as well as, occasional cash withdrawals from a French bank account (that I opened in the late 90s, back when I spent a year at a French Uni, that was dormant for the decade preceding "the troubles" and for which I do not hold a debit card).
- My Egg saving account was transferred to the Yorkshire Building Society in late 2012 but I was never able to make the switch and activate it at the new bank. I needed to enter a code sent by text and I could never receive it from Romania. I recently inquired about it online and received an email advising me to verify my identity and address by visiting a Yorkshire branch, which I obviously cannot do since I have not set foot in the UK since 2012.
So that's about as much detail as I remember. These debts were always in the back of my mind but, when the years pass, you tend to forget about them, especially if you live abroad. I am now trying to piece things together but I am unsure how all this works. But from what I know reading this forum and others:
- The 2K CC debt, for which a CCJ exists, is not status barred and stays on my credit reports and registry for 6 years. Since it was entered late 2008, this will is no longer be accessible by checking the registry or credit agencies. But the debt still exists and a creditor may still be pursuing it, or will in the future. And if I open a new bank account or request a debit card, this CCJ will not show up. Is this correct?
- I have no idea what happened to the bank overdraft/CC consolidated loan. If there is an in absentia CCJ for this debt and it has been entered before September 2010, then I or credit agencies can no longer trace it. If no CCJ, the debt is status barred and the creditor can no longer pursue me in court. If the CCJ was entered post Sept 2010, then it is still on my credit file. Is that correct? How likely are the 3 scenarios I've outlined?
- The same goes for the smaller CC debt but is it possible that the creditors wrote it off since it was in the low hundreds?
Finally, I find myself wondering if it was safe to open a new bank account or order a debit card in France. It would be easier for my future business if I could. Since CCJs only last 6 years on your record, what do you think my credit file looks like right now? Given the fact that my known CCJ is 8 years old and I have not made repayments or had contact with my other creditors for more than 7 years? Is there a way I can access my credit file from France?
Ahh sorry for the long post, I'm trying to fill in the blanks here so I tried to give as many details as I could. I would be grateful if any expert out there could give an assessment of the situation and the likelihood of various events so I can proceed accordingly.
Many thanks in advance.
InTheDark (about a lot of things but especially about my old debts)