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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Asking on behalf of a friend (JB) advice. When

Customer Question

Asking on behalf of a friend (JB) for legal advice.When JB was 14 years old, he applied for a credit account with a well known catalogue company. He started to order many items, yet at 14 has no means to pay. He took a further 2 credit accounts with sister company's. After 1 year he was in £3000 of debt, yet only 15? When asking him how he had managed to obtain credit he claimed he had just changed his year of birth.Now 21, the debt is on his credit file despite it being in a different year of birth.So, I want to know,
Is he liable to pay the debt?
Is he liable to be prosecuted for use of a different year of birth?
How is it possible for him to have obtained credit at such a young age?Many Thanks PB.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.
Hello, so all he did was provide a fake DOB and that was all he changed on the applications?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Yes just changed the year of birth. For example, his birth date was 01.01.1996, he changed it to 1986.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.
And I presume he received the products?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Yes.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.
He is liable to pay for them.
Generally a contract cannot be enforced against a person under 18 but it can be enforced to the extent that he is liable to pay for products received.
He also has the problem of having committed a fraud which they could report if he starts refusing to pay.
I wouldn't recommend taking them on for that reason.
It might pay off if he does but it is a risk and he needs to understand that. They won't remove the default even if he doesn't have to pay as that is accurate.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
If he was to reported for fraud, what would the proceedings be? If he pays the balance, is he able to get the defaults removed?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.
No.
Even if he pays the balance the defaults would remain as they are accurate. Defaults are not removed although they can be marked satisfied.
He could be prosecuted. I think if he paid then probably they would not as they would struggle to prove dishonesty.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for the help, one last question. I understand he is liable for the debt, but is he liable for any interest?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.
The trouble with this is that you are risking a fraud prosecution.
Since he is under 18 there is an argument that he isn't liable for anything save for the sum of the products.
However, if the contract isn't fully enforceable against him then the reason for that is that he lied and that is fraud.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much, I think I have all the answers I need for him.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.
No problem and all the best.
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