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'‘statute barred' debt, should I pay the small settlement the collections company are offering?

(17 Posts)
SparklyUnicornPoop Fri 10-Nov-17 12:15:49

TLDR version - I disagreed that I owed the £1000 debt 10 years ago, I thought it was wiped 8 years ago (never paid a penny and never acknowledged the debt in writing.)
I've not heard anything for 8 years and then I get a letter a week ago from a collections company saying they have taken over the debt.
They have made me an offer of less than £100 to clear the debt completely.
should I pay it?

Full version -
A bank think I owe them nearly £1000 from nearly 10 years ago, at the time I disputed the debt. It was all charges on an old account that I had asked to be closed, there was no money in the account, no DDs etc.
The debt is all bank charges from them taking a monthly fee for premium account services, (on the account I had asked to be closed). They took the fee, despite the balance being £0.00 making the account overdrawn, they then charged fees for being overdrawn, this went on for months before they wrote to me about it.
I went in and spoke to various people in the bank many times over a year or so, I never accepted the debt. Eventually, the bank manager agreed the debt was a ridiculous and I thought it had been wiped as I didn't hear anything more about it after that.

I've moved twice since then and until last week I had heard nothing about the debt.

last week I received a letter from a debt collection company telling me they had taken over the debt and that I should call them to arrange a payment plan.
I didn't, I called Citizens advice who said regardless of whether I think I owe the debt it will now be classed as ‘statute barred' so they can not take me to court or force me to pay it and they can not log it on my credit file, so I should write to them and tell them the debt is statute barred.
They did say that the debt won't just go away and they can still continue to ask me to pay it but they cant make me.

so I've been thinking about what I am going to do and trying to work out if I should just tell them its ‘statute barred' and I won't be paying it or not, honestly I was leaning towards doing it as I genuinely don't feel like I owe anything.

Today I have received another letter from them inviting me to pay just under £100 (a tenth of the debt) to clear the debt completely.

I'm torn, my first instinct was "fantastic, I can just pay £100 and never have to worry about it again".... but then I started thinking, they obviously know the debt is now statute barred so are they offering to clear the debt for such a small amount because they know I'm under no obligation to pay anything but think a small 'full and final' payment is a good way to get some money out of me.
Then I started wondering if this is a common ploy and I would be paying £100 I don't really need to on a debt I don't believe I really owe.

Does anyone have any advice?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 10-Nov-17 12:20:08

If you haven’t acknowledged or paid the debt in six years; and it wasn’t secured on anything; and they haven’t got a CCJ, it is statute barred. That means they cannot take any action against you for not paying - they can’t affect your credit report or take you to court. They are allowed to write to you in the vague hope that you’ll pay.

It’ll be a moral decision as to whether you repay it; as legally you no longer have to, whether or not you borrowed it. They had ways to prevent it becoming statue barred and didn’t take them; so I suspect they can’t prove you owe it anyway.

If you don’t pay it; get a template statute barred letter from the internet so they stop writing to you.

Note3 Fri 10-Nov-17 12:25:54

Oh my goodness no don't acknowledge the debt! The minute you acknowledge it you restart the clock. Go to Martins money saving forum and post on the debt board for specific instructions as you need to take careful steps now to make sure you don't open yourself up to the debt again

MrsMoastyToasty Fri 10-Nov-17 12:27:55

Get further advice from CAB

GinisLife Fri 10-Nov-17 12:33:00

And what Note3 says is probably why they write asking for a much reduced payment cos as soon as you pay it it starts the clock ticking for the lot all over again. Or am I being cynical ????

SparklyUnicornPoop Fri 10-Nov-17 13:31:25

Quote: AnchorDownDeepBreath
If you haven’t acknowledged or paid the debt in six years; and it wasn’t secured on anything; and they haven’t got a CCJ, it is statute barred. That means they cannot take any action against you for not paying - they can’t affect your credit report or take you to court. They are allowed to write to you in the vague hope that you’ll pay.

That is exactly what CAB told me.

and Note3 That is exactly my fear, if I agree to pay the £100 I will be acknowledging the debt and they will be able to chase me for the rest of it.

It is a moral dilemma.
I always felt justified not agreeing to pay the £1000 because it was a ridiculous amount and i always felt that since I had asked for the account to be closed and told them in writing that I did not want the premium account I was no longer responsible for paying the monthly fee for it and had they not taken the fee when there was no money in the account and forced the account overdrawn there would have been no charges incurred. So i felt as though it was all debt that they caused and I didn't really owe it.
But the settlement of less than £100 is a much more reasonable amount so even though I don't feel like I should owe anything I feel slightly unreasonable refusing to pay £100 if it means the £1000 debt is wiped, IYKWIM.

£100 is a lot of money to me though and I don't just have £100 spare to give away at the end of the month so to pay it will mean cutting back on things for the next month or so.

thefutureisours Fri 10-Nov-17 13:37:30

I wouldn't pay it. Try a claim for missile packaged bank account if you ever used it too.

Battleax Fri 10-Nov-17 13:37:44

They will completely drop it the moment you utter the words "statute barred". If you disputed the debt anyway, I don't see that there's a moral dilemma about doing so.

They are essentially "trying it on".

thefutureisours Fri 10-Nov-17 13:39:08

Mis sold even!

glow1984 Fri 10-Nov-17 13:43:27

It’s not a moral dilemma, just don’t pay it. The company provably bought the debt for like £1 which is why they’re prepared to let you pay so little.

AdoraBell Fri 10-Nov-17 13:46:49

Do you have a copy of your letter closing the account? Not that is needed after this time.

I wouldn’t pay. Banks are selling debts to collection companies. They buy the debt for minuscule amounts, so almost all that 100 is profit for them.

Stick to your guns and do not agree to paying.

AdoraBell Fri 10-Nov-17 13:49:19

Also, there is no moral dilemma for you.

You instructed the bank to close your account. They failed to do so.

Note3 Fri 10-Nov-17 19:39:59

Sorry had to reply quickly earlier as at work. I'm a bit rusty but I spent a lot of time in Martins money saving reading about this and I recall there can be a problem with companies buying the debt for small amounts, trying to get you to pay to close the debt for a reduced amount but then it transpires they don't close it and actually just keep your money as a perk to them.

That's why u said you need to go to the money saving expert debt forum and get specific instructions on how to handle it

Note3 Fri 10-Nov-17 19:40:08

I not u!

19lottie82 Fri 10-Nov-17 22:33:40

As already advised, don’t worry about “morals here”, the company chasing you for the debt prob paid pennies for it.
Look on money saving expert for a statute barred letter template and use it to write to them to tell them to bog off!

FlappyRose Fri 10-Nov-17 23:00:29

Once a debt is statute barred, it can’t become ‘un-statute barred’ if you make a payment to it, or acknowledge it. But it’s up to you if you want to do so. I would send them a template letter (there’s one on the Stepchange website) advising that the debt is statute barred and you won’t be paying.

SparklyUnicornPoop Sun 12-Nov-17 20:46:25

Ok, I will send them the letter.
Thank you all.

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