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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71267
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We educated our three children in a private school in

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We educated our three children in a private school in Somerset, we have paid over time around £290,000 to this school and we also benefitted from a bursary that we negotiated through means testing. We always struggled with the school fees but have been passionate about giving our children the best education we could provide so have made many sacrifices. A few years ago they reduced the discount we recieved on the busrsary which did not help us. Anyway to cut to the chase our children have now left and moved on to University and my daughter goes to a sixth form college and my youngest is now in the local school so we are no longer in the private system. Due to my losing my job last year and then taking 6 months to find a new job we fell behind in the last term with the school fees and owe them £16,000 still which I have promised to pay when I get my first bonus, the bonus has slipped for commercial reasons within my new employer and looks like I will get the bonus in October however the school have said they are going to go legal now to recover the costs. In addition I have been paying them £200 as a token payment to show my commitment to paying the fees. They have been very aggressive with me and threatened legal action ets. My wife and myself financial position is we have no money, we have a large mortgage that we pay at 5.39% due to a 10 year fixed rate we stupidly committed to 9 years ago and we sort advice from stepchange a debt advisor. They advised that we pay the bare minimu certainly not £200 per month however the school bursar has just said he will go legal to get the funds. We have no money and cannot pay till my bonus comes in. Can youy advise as to what our positio is please?
John Collett
In confidence and without prejudice.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo, No I know i am liable but I just cant pay till I get a bonus and have every intention of paying, this is why i have made payments of £200 per month to them, they have been very aggressive even though I have paid over £260K to them. What I want to know id how far they can take it given my intent to pay them. By the way I am based in UK and this is a school in Somerset.
Well, you are in breach of contract. There's no way around that will stop they are in titles to be paid upon the dates in question and you have not. If they went to courts they would win and get costs.
The question is whether or not it is worth their while going to court. It depends how much you do but the practical reality is that it is quite unlikely that they would get any more than £200 a month if they did get CCJ. Although a CCJ would entitle them to be paid within 28 days you could apply for a variation order to pay in instalments which would be granted. Generally speaking courts will accept offers of £100 a month for every 10,000.
They may well be incredibly aggressive but that just comes down to their manner of debt collection and doesn't be token any intention to go to court necessarily.
They may go to court and if they do they would get a CCJ against you but since you would end up basically in the same position that you are in now and you would not have a duty to repay when your bonus comes in they would be worse off if they did. Of course, that doesn't mean that they won't. Sometimes people do behave in a self-defeating way.
From your point of view though not much will really change in the long run except that you would have a CCJ.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo,Thank you for that clarification. I have tried on many occasions to tell them roughly what you have detailed above as this will be the best way for them to recover the monay. I was unfortunate in being laid off last year and I did explain this to them although I have got my job back and will be in a position to pay them when my bonus gets paid which is based on performance, ie me bringing business in to the organisation, otheriwse i just have money we need to live on. I do feel they are being self defeating with this aggresive manor as I have every intention of paying them, after all I have paid around £750,000 over the years for my childrens edcuation.Thanks for your advice and I will just re state to them that I will pay when I can, but they can take there preffered route which looks like legal. Can you suggest what I can or cant say back to them in response?Thanks
Well, they may well be being either self-defeating or unrealistically aggressive but there's no way of preventing them from doing that.
In terms of responses, there's no way of waving magic wands around obviously. If they are being unreasonable then there is not very much you can say or do you that will turn an unreasonable company into a reasonable one.
I would just set down in writing your offer, keep paying, send your offer to them by some recorded means and then ignore them unless, of course you receive a court summons. The court would only expect you to negotiate to a reasonable extent.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you
No problem and all the best.
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