All good things must come to an end, and this includes your debt!
In Scotland, if a creditor has failed to pursue an outstanding debt for a period of 5 years or more then it becomes ‘prescribed’ debt. (subject to conditions noted below). I was therefore surprised to hear from a lady last week who is being chased for Poll Tax from 1992!
The creditor in question, whether this is the original company, a debt collection agency or perhaps the debt has, after lying dormant for a month of Sundays and the rest, been sold to someone else, then the legislation still stands! This doesn’t mean that Mr Collector – who has a penchant for selling his soul for commission wont continue to chase! They just can’t legally enforce a statute barred debt through the courts.
Why is this????
Well, Section 6 of the Prescription & Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 limits the timescale whereby Mr Lender can take legal action for recovery of their debt. The magic number is 5 years, providing certain conditions are met. These are….drum roll please…..
• There are no outstanding Decree’s against you
• No payment has been made by you towards the debt in the last 5 years
• No written communications have taken place acknowledging the debt in this time period
“There’s no pleasure without pain” – yes, that old chestnut.
The debt isn’t actually automatically written off, they just can’t enforce it so although you will never be legally forced to pay it, you may still get calls and letters chasing payment and the creditor is under no obligation to write off the debt so it may stay on your credit file as outstanding for 6 years.
So, you’ve decided “Am no payin’ it!!”, what next?
Confirm that there is definitely no decree’s against you! Contact Experian, Equifax and Callcredit, pay the small charge and double check! This will save a rather forceful kick in the teeth later down the line, if there are any!
Then, send a letter to the creditor concerned stating that the debt in time barred and it is unfair to continue to chase you and could be constituted as harassment.
Finally, if you still receive 8.55pm phone calls and feel like they are sending you a tree’s worth of letters every week, contact them one final time and mention Trading Standards and Green Peace. This should suffice.