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Well this was a of a belter of a show, not just because it was a hot day, more as a result of the first and last callers. See link at foot of page to listen to free podcast with topics and timeline.

Payday loans spiraling out of control

First up was Cara who said she took out three payday loans last Christmas, just signed the application forms as she was so desperate and didn’t really read the small print. Cara now says the £3,000 debt has spiraled up to £13,000, this in just a few months! I was able to spend more time than usual with Cara as there was quite a lot I could do to help her.

Read more: “My £3,000 of payday loans are now £13,000,” and “I have £60,000 on four credit cards paying just...

 

Many vulnerable members of society need credit for essential items, this could be for clothing, white goods such as fridges and washing machines but it is just not fair and responsible to charge these people sky high rates of interest, set up fees and warranty insurance. The example the FCA gave of one electric cooker from BrightHouse could cost £1,500 over their credit term when compared to the same item available in the High Street for just £300, sets it out clearly, the vulnerable in my view are being exploited.

Read more: My thoughts on the FCA proposals to reduce high cost credit and unarranged overdraft fees

 

Mike & Clive in the LBC studio

My blog on the LBC Money Hour - Sunday 15 April 2018.

This Money Hour on LBC was really rewarding and yet challenging for a variety of reasons, one was the desperation I picked up in the calls as well as the total lack of awareness of how to get out of the debt. Two of callers had around £100,000 each, on credit and store cards!

I was told my debts would be gone in six years

It was caller number 3 John who said he had 100k and was paying just £95 per month and someone had told him the debts might be gone after just six years. Unfortunately for John this was rather misleading. He said he was in a debt management plan, DMP, but didn’t really know what he could do. I went through all his options, explained alternatives such as consumer bankruptcy or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). It was a fascinating call and I felt he is now far more knowledgeable of his debt options, albeit we only spoke for around eight-minutes.

Read more: "I'm paying £2,500 a month on my 100k of credit card debt and can't survive" - Just one of the...

 

Mike & Clive in the LBC studio

These were just a taste of some of the callers to the popular LBC Money Hour on Sunday, 18 March 2018.

This show was not unlike many of the others I’ve done with Clive Bull, busy, a wide variety of callers with debt problems but what stood out were two things, first was the different attitudes of callers Steven and Kit, who both owed around £10,000 of unsecured debt, second, was Chris who said he went so wild in his early days, (he’s now 23) he can’t remember who he owes money to and how much, what a predicament to be in! Then we had Theresa, being charged £360 per year for a £1,000 overdraft.

I’ll go through those callers below and have added a link to the free podcast with a timeline at the bottom of this blog to help you find the exact moment they come on air along with my response.

Can’t payer V Won’t payer

Read more: 'Can’t payer v won’t payer’ / ‘I just went wild with 10 payday loans and haven’t paid them back’ /...

 

Had a really good time with Mr Ed Nestor MBE a few days ago when I popped back to the BBC studios for his Drivetime Show on Radio London.

Although I’ve spoken a good few times with Ed in the past it was only my second time in the studio and we had an hour to get into helping his listeners with debt issues, we started the show with what happens when you don’t pay your council tax, more pertinent as the envelopes have just started landing on our door mats. We also had time to help Carl, another caller, who has £45,000 of debt and was confused about bankruptcy, more on Carl later.

The show opened with a chap who said he was in the throes of being made bankrupt for non-payment of his council tax over a period of three years. Bankruptcy is a serious move for anyone and there has been condemnation from many debt advisers of councils using strong arm tactics of bailiffs/enforcement officers and the threat of bankruptcy to get people to pay the council tax. For this chap though his problems are only really just getting started...... because he is a HOUSE OWNER!

Council tax arrears of at least £5,000

I didn’t know how much this chap owed in council tax arrears but it has to be a minimum £5,000 as the threshold at which a creditor/lender can make you bankrupt changed around a year ago.

Read more: How council tax arrears of £5,000 could easily cost the home owner £20,000 in as little as three...

 

A few days ago, I was invited to speak with Roberto Perronne on BBC3CR Drivetime about police officers having debt problems, probably because Roberto knew I was a former Metropolitan Police officer and have vast experience of dealing and helping police officers with debt issues.

I’m actually quite surprised that debt problems within the Police have not been raised in the media more often so we have the recent screening of the BBC program ‘24 hrs in police custody’ which featured the arrest and jailing of Police detective Gary Suffling to thank. Apparently, Suffling blackmailed a prostitute’s customer because he had debt problems.

Following the show, I began to reflect on some of the cases I have been involved with helping police officers, support staff, traffic wardens and PCSOs overcome their debt issues, with all these cases the main aim was, and still is, to get their debts under control with more manageable monthly payments and to keep them in their jobs. My first real experience of a police officer having a debt problem was way back in 1977.

Police officer dismissed for bouncing a cheque

Read more: It’s not a crime for a Police officer to be in debt, it’s how you go about resolving it, is the key

 

These were just an example of some of the calls I received on my most recent LBC Money hour on Sunday 8-9pm, 11 February 2018. (Free podcast link at bottom of page).

Although all calls to the show are important and very much appreciated two did stand out, they were caller number four, Yvonne from Stepney, who said her £20,000 of credit card / catalogue debt meant she was not sleeping and basically sinking. The other caller five, Caroline from Guildford, being so desperate after receiving a lot of post and following a visit from bailiffs to her home she decided to open her ex-partner’s mail. To her horror Caroline discovered he had been hiding £88,000 of debt.

Read more: “I’m sinking in £20,000 of credit card & catalogue debt” / “I opened my ex partner’s post and...

 

Do I tell my partner about my debts?

Hiding debts is something we tend to not think about too much when living with someone but it happens. It’s difficult to come up with an accurate number of those hiding the amount they owe creditors but falling on my experience in debt management I would suggest it can effect anywhere between 30-50% or all relationships. It’s life and some people can be very secretive.

I got a stark reminder of this on my most recent LBC debt phone-in show 1 January 2018 (10 mins) when the first caller Marie shocked the presenter by saying she had been hiding her £30,000 plus credit card debt for over a year from her husband. To make matters worse the family home was jointly owned. This means the other half will find out sooner or later, more on this below.

A classic example where debt can be hidden in a relationship is if both parties have separate bank accounts. That way neither one really knows the true extent of each other’s finances as they will not have access to the credit agreement, bank account or credit/store card.

Signs that someone has a debt problem

Read more: Are you hiding your debt from your partner?

 

Giving debtors breathing space is not something new so don’t be fooled into thinking this was the idea of the Conservatives when it featured in their manifesto in the election earlier this year. It really started back in 2006/7 when Enforcement Restriction Orders (EROs) were considered. EROs can still be brought in as it was included in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill see chapter 2. 

The idea of an ERO was to provide a short term legal way of relief to a debtor that finds him/herself unable to meet their obligations through a sudden and unforeseen change in their financial circumstances from which they are likely to recover.

The key points of the then proposed ERO;

Read more: Giving debtors breathing space is not something new, so don’t be fooled

 

Everyone is talking about the effect of Brexit on the economy but very little is being said about the potential impact on consumers who are in either a Debt Management Plan (DMP)Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or even bankruptcy

It’s too early to say whether consumer insolvency will be affected in particular tourism bankruptcy and COMI (Centre of main interest). Tourism bankruptcy is the phenomenon whereby residents of one country move to another jurisdiction in order to declare a personal bankruptcy there, before returning to their original country of residence. This is done in order facilitate bankruptcy in a new jurisdiction where the insolvency laws are deemed to be more favourable. It is most prevalent in Europe where EU laws allow the free movement of residents to other Eurozone countries. More on Tourism bankruptcy here 

Read more: How Brexit could effect consumers in debt management plans, IVAs and bankruptcy

 

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