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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17445
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I hope you can help, I have a debt company chasing me on

Customer Question

Good afternoon. I hope you can help, I have a debt company chasing me on behalf of DHL courier's for VAT payment from a purchase abroad, I've already received the parcel long before they started chasing me for the payment. Also, they have spelled my first & last name incorrectly on the demands. Where do I stand legally please?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Hampshire, England.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Not that I'm aware of, thank you.
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

I am one of the legal experts on the site and I am a dual-qualified solicitor (UK & Republic of Ireland)

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Sorry to hear of the issue.

Whether you are liable for this depends on the contract you had for the purpose - I note they have not spelt your name correctly so if they were to sue you, the court documents would be defective.

I don't know why VAT was not claimed at the time of the purchase (did they forget?) but in any event if you are liable for the money under the contract when you purchased, they do have up to 6 years to issue a claim at court for this so bear that in mind. I wouldn't know if you are liable to pay it as I only know you made a purchase abroad.

You mention a debt collection company. Debt collectors are not bailiffs - they have no powers as such. They will simply try to collect the money their client thinks you owe. You can turn them away if you dispute the debt and they visit you - they can’t enter your home and take goods. They would report back to their client they were unsuccessful and it’s then up to their client whether to take matters further.

They should send a letter before action to you if their debt collection attempts fail - which is required under the pre action protocol to give you the chance to avoid court action. They usually give you 14 days to pay before they will take civil court action.

It is recommended that you reply to this letter given the courts expect parties in a dispute to engage and discuss their dispute, to try and avoid court action.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help.

You should not ignore the court papers as if you do, the claimant will apply for judgment in default meaning they win and you would not be allowed to defend the claim.

A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived. You should first invite the claimant to voluntarily discontinue their claim within 7 days if it gets to this point - tell them if they don't then you will apply to strike out and seek your costs if you are forced to do so. If you have no response or they reply and refuse then you could apply to strike out. The application costs £275 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record.

I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim.


Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

I hope this helps

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

It was a pleasure to assist you today and I hope this answers the question.

If you have any follow up questions or if you would like me to clarify anything I have said, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

Many thanks,

Jim


Expert:  JimLawyer replied 12 days ago.

Just a final note that if you would like to reconnect with me at a later date, simply add me as a favourite expert and you can then tag me in a question starting off with @JimLawyer.

I look forward to helping you again soon.

Thanks again,

Jim