Returning to the UK after approx. 6 years and 7 months abroad. Debts owed approx. GBP12K (at the time), approx. 5 different lenders (overdraft, loan and credit cards (mbna, egg) etc. (max. is GBP 3K)). Some long-standing arrangements and others entered into shortly before hastily leaving the UK.
A few months after defaulting I received a couple of letters from debt collectors via my mail forwarding service but did not reply. Also, my parents and one of their neighbours got a couple of calls but that was it. [I am not really sure why they were contacted because I didn't list their address or phone number.] When I first left, I did let my bank know the situation via a letter but I never sent the letters to the other lenders informing that I had lost my job and was not in a position to pay the money back just now. During my time abroad, I was not contacted and also made no contact.
Life has changed since moving from the UK
and I certainly have regrets about simply burying my head in the sand and walking away. I wouldn't recommend the same course of action...its just not worth it in the end…peace of mind is worth a lot and hindsight is a great teacher. Its amazing how many other posters on this site say the same thing. I have decided that the best course of action is to face the music and I have some monies to settle legally enforceable debts, as promptly as possible.
I am sure that "they" either know where I am or that shortly after returning to UK, I will be contacted, not least because I will need to be on the electoral roll, and provide traceable things such as my old National Insurance number (which I have lost but will hopefully find again on an old pay slip) etc…..all of which, will re-open the old can of worms….
In light of the above I have the following questions and I would be grateful for some answers. I have read through the forums and past great advice. I would just now appreciate some prompt answers tailored to my situation:
1) What are the steps you would recommend in order of priority that I, as someone returning to the UK with a highly likely bad credit history, now take? I don’t know my credit history but need to know this ASAP. I don’t have a UK bank account but need one ASAP. I don’t have an apartment but need one ASAP. I am not on the electoral roll but need to be ASAP.
2) What are the chances of having CCJs on my file. I cannot make a search of my credit file because I am not yet back in the UK. What is the best way to deal with this? The job offer I have will certainly frown upon CCJs being on my register and therefore it may be unwise to even accept the job offer, if there is a high probability of having CCJs on there.
3) If there are CCJs, then what is the date they were most likely filed? Is it possible that they were only been registered in 2004 or even only in 2007 or is more likely that they would have been registered in the first six months of my defaulting i.e. if I left the UK for example in approx. Nov. 2001, then it would mean approx April 2002 as the likely registration month, which would then mean that the CCJ would have dropped-off my register in April 2008, unless the court reinstated it at the creditors request. For me, its better that they drop-off as I intend to settle with a creditor on my return to UK and I do not want them to re-register the CCJ for another 6 years i.e. from approx. April 2008 at the latest. If there are no Cocks then I understand that the debts are statute barred. In this respect, I intend to arrange an amicable settlement with the creditor, so as to avoid being harassed upon my return.
4) I also need a bank account. If I cannot open an account then basically there is no point me returning to the UK because I will not be able to pay my salary into it. Given that I may have Cocks and a bad credit history am I correct in thinking that the Co-op Cashminder account is probably the only best option. Is it likely that I would get an account with them? I will only be able to know for sure once I have an address in the UK which I do not have just now. My problem is that I do not know how bad my credit history is. No bank account means no job basically.
5) I need to rent an apartment. As I have been away for 6 years I understand that rental companies will insist on making credit search as part of their due diligence even though I have not had an address in the UK for the last 6 years. I suspect that I should just rent privately. Has anyone any experience on this? No apartment means no job basically.
6) What about gas and elctricty? Although I do not owe utilities companies any money, will they not also see if I have a bad credit history and simply refuse to do business with me. I do not want to go through the hassle of arranging a pay-as-you-go type meter but perhaphs this is the only option, no?