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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Not sure this is the correct section as it relates to debt

Customer Question

Not sure this is the correct section as it relates to debt repayment.
However, cannot find a section for that so, I have been paying MINT so much a month for about 9 years to clear a credit card debt. Because of domestic reasons I could no longer pay the usual monthly amount so came to an arrangement to pay so much, according to my Income and Expenditure Form, until it was cleared. Every 6 months they ask for more. Once a year, I pay extra.
However, the last time I filled one in, and offered £5 a month extra, the person reading it mistook my offer for a smaller payment and wrote and told me I could afford £39 a month and could pay that for a year. I was paying £47 a month, so accepted this, and continued to pay £47.
Then, last March, they asked for an increase, so I made them an offer of £1500. Less than half the amount owing. The idea being to get them to make a counter offer which I could pay to clear the debt.
They came back with a request for - An Income and expenditure form AND details of any other companies with whom I had made a smaller settlement.
I was suspicious that they were in fact holding the carrot of acceptance out but intending to say No and then ask for more money, based on my I & E form.
As for the letters to andfrom othercompmaies - that surely is confidential between those companies and I?
I contacted FCA about this, and they say they can do nothing.
However, I know from dealings with another debt collecting company, that telling me how much I can pay, is illegal. The FSA were contacted when that company persisted on changing the amount and the payment date each month, and it stopped. Later, I cleared the debt, for less than was owed without any I & E form being required.
Since March last year MINT have increased the minimum payment to £47 a month, even though I have not agreed to this increase and not filled in an I & E form.
This action I know is illegal. They also have varied the amounts. Sometimes £78 to be paid next month, a few times £2,000 plus due to be paid next month. Not, the amount still outstanding, but the next payment to be made. Again, I know this is illegal, from my previous experience.
Now, I am hoping you can tell me exactly what the legal situation is, and what I should reply to their request.
My thoughts are to give them three options
1 Accept, without any other considerations like I & E forms or letters to other companies.
2 Make a sensible counter offer.
3 Send me a Deadlock Letter so I can take this to the Ombudsman to be resolved.
Once I provide the Ombudsman with copies of the invoices and letters, I think I shall be successful. However, having a legal/financial expert opinion to back me up would be most useful when I reply to their request for more money. To be able to quote something to them may make them agree.
I did provide FCA with copies of all the invoices, but, as I said, their reply was that they could not do anything.
I hope you can answer this problem and provide the advice so I can write the letter and, finally, get this company off my back.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
How much is outstanding please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi

Been away from the PC this week.

The latest statement arrived yesterday, dated 28th April 2015.

New Balance £3,154.37

Minimum Payment £2,737.56

Pay overdue sum £2,666.58 now and remainder of minimum payment by the date shown below Minimum payment should reach your account by 23 May 2015.

Payments to your account £47.

Again, this £47 is the amount I pay by Standing Order each month. And is more than the £39 they said I should pay per month.

And, they have increased the minimum payment to £47 without any Income or Expenditure Forms being completed by me since the offer of £1,500 was made by me.

Hope this is what you need.

Geoff.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Have you continued to pay £38 a month regardless ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, I SHOULD pay £39 - according to them - but I AM paying £47 a month. Because they kept asking me for more money, and I kept increasing it.

Then they made the mistake of telling me how much I should pay, based on the last Income and Expenditure Form that I filled in for them.

At present, it has gone quiet.

Sorry for the delay, have been off sick and not able to sit at the PC to answer questions.

As I said before, they have increased the minimum payment to £47, from their own stated £39 a month, without my consent or a new Income and Expenditure Form being completed. Having dealt with a number of other creditors, I know this is NOT legal.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
How much do they owe you in total then?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry!

What do you mean - How much do they owe me in total?

I owe them.

I want to pay off about half to close the account, and they are being stupid. Or devious.

I thought you understood that.

My original question was - When they ask for an I and E form and details of other creditors who had accepted less when I offered them a partial sum to settle it, do they have the right to ask for this, or are they being devious in order to get an I and E form so that they can say NO to the offer and demand another increase.

Even though they have already given away the game that I should in fact be paying them less per month than I am paying. And now they have increased the mininmum payment to what I have been paying, in error because of their grasping ways, without my agreement.

Simple question - simple answer surely?

Is it legal to ask for an I and E form and details of other creditors who have settled for less than the full amount owed. And, if so, why?

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Yes but you have been paying more. What is the difference in total between what they should take and have taken?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have no idea!

The difference between £47 and £39 is £8 a month. Over two years?

£192 maximum.

I owe it all anyway. I just want to clear them off my back for as little as possible. In view of the interest they charge everyone, way above the base rate of half a percentage plus a fair amount, not clearing it in full is my way of getting back some of the interest they have taken from me in the past. No, they are not charging me interest now.

I have seen recent amounts of 17% up to 23% on new credit cards. Not for me, but as advertised for others. And B of E base rate has been half a percent for years - to try and help people manage.

Frankly, I do not intend to argue with them about recovering a few pounds a month when I merely want to get rid of them so I can have a little peace and a lot of less stress. It is the stress, over the last 9 years, that has made me unwell. And no, I do not intend to claim for that either.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
What is it you want to achieve please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I would have thought that was obvious from the very beginning. I asked a question. And I have repeated it today.

If you do not understand, then you are no use to me.

I repeat - from my original email:

Then, last March, they asked for an increase, so I made them an offer of £1500. Less than half the amount owing. The idea being to get them to make a counter offer which I could pay to clear the debt.

They came back with a request for - An Income and Expenditure Form AND details of any other companies with whom I had made a smaller settlement.

I was suspicious that they were in fact holding the carrot of acceptance out but intending to say No and then ask for more money, based on my I & E form.

Now, I am hoping you can tell me exactly what the legal situation is, and what I should reply to their request.

I repeated this request in the last email.

You have gone round the houses asking about how much I owe them and then How much they owe ME.

Just answer the question - Is their request legal? Yes, or No.

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