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Dec 2015

Credit card debts mounting? You need not suffer alone!

If ever there was a case which underlined the benefits of legal advice it must be that of a householder who represented himself in a marathon legal struggle over a credit card bill and ended up bankrupt under a cascade of debt and legal bills. The High Court described the case as a cautionary tale reminiscent of Hilaire Belloc’s poetry.

The events which the man said had ruined his life began when he used a credit card to purchase replacement windows for his home. He was dissatisfied with the goods and did not pay off the credit card debt. A brief consultation with a lawyer would have revealed to him that a payment protection policy was in place which could have come to his aid.

However, matters moved on when the debt was assigned by the credit card provider to a company which launched debt recovery proceedings against him. The company obtained a judgment against him for almost £8,000 in 2011. Abjuring legal advice, he had since made numerous abortive attempts to overturn that judgment, appearing in person before judges on more than 20 occasions. A number of legal costs orders had been made against him and he had ultimately been declared bankrupt.

The Court expressed considerable sympathy for him. The running sore of the dispute had wrecked his health; he had lost his job due to his bankruptcy and there was little prospect of him being able to pay his debts. In dismissing his latest application, however, the Court found that he had some time ago exhausted all viable avenues of appeal and that there was no point in postponing the inevitable.

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