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Good news: by proposing to take the court bit out of consumer led bankruptcy procedures we are now a step closer to making it easier for overstretched consumers to go bankrupt.

I welcome the proposed removal of the court process as  I feel it is an unnecessary requirement, reducing  the stress and financial demands faced by already overstretched consumers, and the time spent, especially of those living a considerable distance from the courts, some of which will only allow bankruptcy petitions by appointment and on certain days of the week.

Read more: Court process to be removed from bankruptcy procedure but will it help those that need to go...

 

Yes, unsecured debt, as in credit and store card debt, a personal loan, an overdraft or even a catalogue debt, is not unsecured if you own your own home. A secured debt is of course your mortgage.

Fall behind with say, your credit card payments and the lender, bank or credit card company can now apply to the court, as from 1 October 2012, to put these debts on your house, a bit like a second mortgage, at the same time applying for the County Court Judgement (CCJ). Think not? Then read the small print, and at the very end of several pages I daresay there will be some reference to it.

Read more: House owners be warned - There is now no such thing as unsecured debt!

 

The three concerns raised by the OFT about Hermes are pretty damning.  They are the key points in determining whether the customer can afford the repayments and fully understands the implications if they miss any payments. Read the full requirements (pdf 608kb)

I wonder what information was found to be held back?  Was it information such as non-payment will result in the borrower losing the vehicle? That it will be repossessed and sold to cover some of the debt outstanding?

Read more: Are some Log Book Loans now unenforceable following the latest OFT requirements placed on Hermes /...

 

I am well aware of some people’s views on consumers who are in financial difficulty. “ It’s their own fault, they could have said no and they are responsible for their own demise” They then boast, “I have  a current account, why should they be entitled to have one if they can’t be trusted with money?” Trouble is, some banks may take the same view as  until now the Co-op Bank and Barclays were the only ones prepared to offer bank accounts to bankrupts.

Read more: Do the UK Banks see Bankrupts as pariahs of society?

 

Credit Today posted an article on the 23 July called ‘CSA anger at debt and mental health guide.’

On the same day I replied with a comment that supported the Guide To Mental Health Debt that was produced by Martin Lewis.  My comment was initially sanctioned and then later removed.  I posted a copy again on the 24th but so far this has also not been accepted. Credit Today have as yet not responded to my query regarding their action.

Read more: Debt collectors brand MSE mental health guide 'harsh'

 

The bailiff Robert Marshall was both lucky and unlucky, his luck was in when his video camera, which he used for filming debt collections, stayed on after it was dropped in the assault but unlucky to meet a man that was angry at being called upon to pay up on his debts who then tried to strangle him. Read - Debtor goes to jail for beating up a bailiff

Read more: Bailiff films himself getting assaulted whilst collecting on debts

 

But just why are house repossession figures stable and about to be revised downwards? Madness or genius?

Are you as amazed as I am that in the grips of this ‘double-dip’ recession, with high unemployment, household budgets under attack and wage freezes that house repossessions are stable? I have been astonished to read that the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) are thinking of revising downwards their forecast that 45000 homes will be repossessed this year.

Read more: Have House Repossessions Stabilised Enough to Warrant A Revision Downwards?

 

No one really knows how many debt advice websites there are on the net and whilst most adhere to the strict OFT guidelines on debt management, too many don’t.

There is nothing wrong with debt provided it is well managed and it has become a perfectly normal part of everyday life. For those that become ‘over indebted’ however, it can become a serious problem.

Read more: 7 point guide to spotting a dodgy debt advice website!

 

A guest blog by Katie Ford

All five epidodes of the new BBC 1 morning show My Worst Deal.

The series looks at the surprising financial dealings of financial bodies from the Big Banks to loan sharks. On Twitter, a lot of people were commenting on just how absurd it was that people were fooled by these deals, but when people are in the deepest, darkest of places, these deals can seem like the silver lining they’ve been hoping for.

Read more: My Worst Deal

 

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