Thursday, 17 December 2009

First milestone

One month down, a maximum of eleven months to go.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

MBNA - please get the message!

Another exciting letter from MBNA - even though I think I've now told them twice that I'm bankrupt. Highlights of the latest letter:

If you do not contact our office within seven days on 0800 389 XXXX so we can discuss a repayment plan, we may recommend that our solicitors commence legal action. Depending on your locality, this would result in the following:
  • A county Court Judgement / Sheriff's Court Decree being registered against you, which may affect your ability to obtain future credit.
And then one of the following actions:
  • Your employer being ordered by the court to make deductions from your salary through an Attachment of Earnings / Earnings Arrestment.
  • A Bailiff / Officer of the Court / Enforcement Officer being instructed to execute an attachment over goods that you own to reclaim the value of outstandings.
  • A Charging Order / Inhibition Order / Order Charging Land being placed on your property which could result in any available funds being distributed to MBNA (a Bank of America company) following sale of your property.
Do not ignore this letter; call us immediately to make a debit card payment or advise us of your intentions.

Nice eh? So I called them up.

"I'd love to pay you, but as I've already told you, I'm bankrupt."
"Yes, sir. That's on our records. So just ignore the letter."
"But it's pretty threatening, can you stop more letters?"
"Yes sir, I realise."
"So will these threatening letters stop?"
"I can't stop them, we're Customer Relations. you need to talk to another department."
"But the letter said ring you."
"Yes, sir."
"I'm bankrupt, you've got a note of that. I'm not allowed to even try to pay you anything. So why the threatening letters?"
"Sorry sir, you'll have to talk to the other department."

So, another letter for the shredder. And I'm expecting more.

Our house is worth nothing - great!

The Estate Agent today gave a lower estimate of the value of our house. Perversely this is a good thing - it shows us clearly in negative equity. I'll send this off to the Official Receiver and wait and see if they accept this valuation. Fingers well and truly crossed.

Monday, 14 December 2009

No news ... is still no news

A letter from the Insolvency Service, but still no information. They want to know about the sale of my previous car, some of the details in my outgoings (that I couldn't describe in the online Statement of Affairs as the box was only 200 characters) and other odds and sods. No news on what is happening with the new itty-bitty car - I'm learning to be humble.

Getting another Estate Agent to view the house tomorrow - hopefully they'll have a more realistic figure for the worth of the house (and even more hopefully - a valuation that is in our favour would be nice).

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Ambulance chasers

Another ambulance chaser - Turnaround Finance - sent a very nice brochure offering a solution to all my problems. Scumbags.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Failure rates for IVAs - nearly 1 in 3

I found a very useful link on the website posted by a user called DebtInfo (thank you my friend). The link is to the official figures for IVAs, including all failures (it's in spreadsheet format). Basically it shows that the typical failure rate for IVAs runs at about 30%. That's almost 1 in 3.

With my situation I discounted IVAs relatively easily. These figures should be examined by anyone wanting to take up an IVA - I'm not against IVAs, but I think people should know what they are getting in to.

Egg cares

I want to report a great letter from Egg where they confirmed my bankruptcy details. There is a nice paragraph near the bottom:

"We will be seeking payment from you for the full amount that you owe us under this agreement as at the date of your Bankruptcy / Sequestration and we will be negotiating with the Official Receiver for payment of this sum."

Friendly of them, eh? Look, I'm bankrupt. Quite frankly I rather wish I
wasn't bankrupt, but that is the situation I find myself in. I would have liked to have paid them in full! How the bloody hell do they think that such a paragraph would help them get more money off me?!

Left at the (sacrificial) altar

It's been a heck of a few weeks. The actual process of getting prepared for bankruptcy, attending court and then talking with the Official Receivers office was hectic and very stressful. Two weeks on and I feel a bit like I've been forgotten, like I'm in a sort of bankruptcy limbo.

My only assets are a house (that I had believed was a long way into negative equity) and a cheapish car. I still don't know if we will lose the car or not as I've never had anyone come back to me to tell me what they think it's worth at auction. This isn't a dig at the Insolvency Service, I bet their workload is enormous.

As to the house, the first valuation I received (admittedly with an Estate Agent, who tend to talk properties up) was a whole lot higher than I expected. Good news in one sense in that I'm not in the huge property hole that I thought I was, but on the down side I'm on the verge of having a property that is worth something to the Official Receiver. Not that I want to hoodwink anyone, if it's really worth more then it's worth more and the Official Receivers Office can do what they wish with my assets - they control them. I guess I'm learning that I have to be flexible.

My old 'friends', the credit card companies and banks, call occasionally but only to confirm that they have to call me occasionally until they hear from the Official Receiver. Yesterday it was Nationwide, today it was MBNA.

I still smart occasionally at the sound of phones, but it's getting better. Why am I left feeling like a bride at the altar?

Debt collectors hit out at advice websites

I find this comical. Debt collectors are getting upset with us! Who would have thought that debt collectors are a persecuted minority? Bless!

"Debt collectors are planning ways to hit back against online consumer forums allowing people to share advice about dealing with debt problems and taking on financial institutions.

The Credit Services Association (CSA), the main trade body for debt collectors, has held workshops for its members to explore ways of "combating" organisations such as the Consumer Action Group (CAG), a forum with almost 250,000 members.

A CSA PowerPoint presentation, seen by the Guardian, claims such sites are guilty of "encouraging" people to evade debts, provide "breeding grounds for misinformation" and "insult" banks and debt collectors."

Read the whole thing at : (The Guardian, 2nd. December, 2009)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Update on my only two assets

No news is good news, the saying goes. No news for us means still not knowing (after almost a week) if we will lose our car or not. I don't want to hassle the Insolvency Service, but I am surprised I haven't heard anything by now.

On another note, my wife and I had our home valued by a local estate agent today. To our utter surprise, the answer was around £200K. We thought it would be much lower - the upshot of this is that we are on the borderline whether will be offered to buy the interest in the house from the Official Receiver or not. Needless to say we will get valuations from other estate agents and if they are all in the same ball park then we need to get a proper bank valuation. This will cost us yet more money we haven't got but might give a more accurate value (and show what we believe - that we are still in negative equity). I never ever thought that I'd
want to be in negative