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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71041
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My wife is being chased for a debt which her son has run up

Customer Question

My wife is being chased for a debt which her son has run up for a mobile phone with Orange. Orange claim that at the time the contract a credit check was carried out in my wife's name (which she did not authorise) and that she contacted them to add her son and his partner as third parties to the account (which she did not). The account was a business account in the name of my wife's son's business. It would appear he made some payments and then stopped. My wife had no knowledege of this until she recieved a demand for payment of the debt. is She legally liable?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

My name is Jo and I will try to help with this. In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Where were the payments made from?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

a personal credit card but they have not provided the name of the account holder

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Whether she is liable or not depends really on information that I will not have. I suspect I can't tell you anything you don't already know.

Obviously if the account is in his name then she is not liable for it.

If the account is in her name then she is liable for it. If she did not authorise the account to be in her name though then that would tend to suggest he has used her identity fraudulently. That is a defence to liability but she will need to report this to the police and I can well understand why she would not be keen to do that.

The only other way that she could be liable for his debts is if she had guaranteed them but even then she would have had to authorise it and she will need to report this to the police.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do not believe that the account is in my wife's name since the account was opened in 2009 and she has not recieved any bills or correspondence until recently. I order to guarantee the debt would my wife have had to sign anything or would vebal confirmation on the phone be sufficient and should she have recieved written confirmation which would have alerted her to what was happening?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Verbal confirmation would have been sufficient. Most of these contracts don't involve signed writing.