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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I had a letter from a dept collector l informed them l had

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I had a letter from a dept collector l informed them l had no idea about the dept from 13yrs ago she seemed to know alot about my old address.s from over 4 yrs ago so l said the dept must have been mine so made arrangments to pay l have made 2 payments of £80 do l realy have to pay a dept back from 13 yrs ago that l have no memery of plus l have been told since the firm is abit shadey

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

how can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I need to know if after 13yrs of hearing nothing about this dept do l have to pay it as every thing l read on the net says it is quoshed after 6 yrs and l realy dont remember the dept had a marrage break up and a break down since then

Thanks for the information.

It is likely to be something like that. Of course, it is possible that they have made a mistake and the debt is not yours. If so, then you can defend that court on that basis.

At this stage though you should probably presume that the debt does belong to. The amount might be relevant to working out the nature of the debt. It might be something like an overdraft or any defaulted mobile phone contract or something of that kind.

In any event, if you have not acknowledged this debt within the last 6 years then, on the face of it, the time barred under the Limitation Act 1980. This is essentially a breach of contract and they only have 6 years to sue for breach.

There is an application that they can make to extend time. That is under section 32 of the Limitation Act. They usually have to show literally that there was fraud or concealment. The have been cases where they have successfully achieved that when they can show the defendant was abroad.

That said, it really doesn't make sense to apply those cases to this situation. The 1st point to make is that you were always available to them to sue. Most of the cases involve people who have literally been hiding in countries, such as Africa or South America, where it is hard to be traced. Also, the test cases tend to involve debts that run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. What this comes down to is that it was such a low sum of money that they couldn't be bothered to trace you and that will not fall under section 32.

Also, this is likely to be Small Claims Court sum and so they are not going to spend huge resources recovering it.

What will have happened here is that the original creditor will have sold this on to a debt collection agency to see if they can recover anything by harassing you. All they can do is write to you and telephone occasionally.

If they do sue they will need to overcome limitation and that is unlikely.

You can always ignore the letters.

If they start telephoning then there is a simple trick to get rid of them over the phone. They will ask you a series of personal questions, such as your date of birth mother's maiden name. Just refuse to answer those questions and then they cannot talk to you any more because they can't identify you under the Data Protection Act. They do keep phoning but it cut shorts the conversation every time and, in the end, they do get the message.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

SSo can l just stop paying them as l have made 2 payments

When did you make those payments?

Were they recent?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yeah feb and march this year after they contacted me as l didnt know wat else to do they made me think l had to pay it

They could argue that amounts to an acknowledgment so time begins to run I'm afraid.

Whether they would or not is another matter.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Would that meen a baliff would come to the door as my partner knows nothing about this

Not without a CCJ.

But they could sue out of time on the basis of the acknowledgment.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So l should just keep paying even tho the dept is 13yrs old ok thanks for ur help one more question sorry do u think they would if it was only 3000

Well, it would have been better if you hadn't paid at all

Having done so, it depends how much risk you want to take.

For £3k its quite unlikely that they would sue but nobody could rule out the possibility.

The debt may be 13 years old but time runs from the date of last acknowledgement and you last acknowledged this earlier this year.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok many thanks for ur help enjoy ur evening

No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Will do thanks

All the best.