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Help With Debt
 

Clarissa’s Story

Clarissa was 38, a single mum living in rented accommodation.  She was diagnosed with a Grade 4 Glioblastoma and as a result of her condition she became obsessed with buying anything and everything online which she was unable to control.  When we met with Clarissa she showed us how easy it was for her to set up accounts with various companies despite the fact she was had no job and was receiving no income.

 

Because of Clarissa’s condition, she was cared for by her father who became more and more anxious about the amount of debt Clarissa was generating. Clarissa understood that she should not be buying stuff but because she was housebound and had really short concentration span she could focus on watching television, she got pleasure from perusing websites and that enticed her to buy. Despite the fact she had no control over her compulsion, she was incredibly anxious and got depressed because of the knock-on effect it was having on her father, and her relationship with him.

 

With her consent, and the assistance of her Consultant Neurologist (who kindly wrote a letter confirming her diagnosis and prognosis) we were able to write-off a significant amount of the debt and the companies involved kindly agreed to cancel the contracts and note their records not to offer new contracts to Clarissa.

Jack’s Story

Jack was 33 when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).  At the time he met one of the Legacare Solicitors he was unable to work and was unsure if he would be able to return to work even for a short spell.  He explained that he had recently got married and got into substantial debt for the wedding because he was young, had a good job and thought he was invincible and that he would have plenty of time to pay off the loan, but sadly that wasn’t the case.  On top of the debt, he had a mortgage and his wife had recently given birth.

 

He told us that he was unable to sleep at the thought of not being able to pay the debt off and thought the loan company would be able to force a sale of his property.  When we told Jack that his house wouldn’t be repossessed and the steps we would take on his behalf, he said weight that had been lifted from his shoulders was immense.

Jim and Sarah’s Story

Jim was diagnosed with cancer and as a result of losing time at work he began to struggle to pay his mortgage.  He contacted the mortgage company on a number of occasions but felt that they were very unsupportive and didn’t care about his situation.  All they cared about was receiving the monthly payment.  So that he could continue to make the payments Jim and Sarah stopped heating their home during the winter and tried to cut corners.  Sadly, Jim was told that his condition was no longer treatable and that he would receive palliative care.

 

The mortgage company continued to harass Jim by telephoning him at 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock in the morning as well as 8 and 9 o’clock in the evenings.  In one call, Jim explained to the company that he had been given a palliative diagnosis and the response from the caller was “but when are you going to go back to work?”  This was the final straw and he discussed with his palliative care nurse his feelings of depression and lack of control.  His nurse referred him to Legacare.

 

Legacare wrote to the mortgage company to remind them of their duties pursuant to the ICOB which was to treat customers fairly.  We also threatened to report them to the Financial Conduct Authority for their breaches. They had failed to offer Jim a payment holiday or the opportunity transfer the repayment mortgage to an interest-only mortgage and/or to freeze the interest element – all of which they could have offered but failed to do so. We asked the mortgage company to provide a payment holiday of 3 months and then to transfer the repayment mortgage to an interest only mortgage.  This meant Jim and Sarah could have short breaks at caravan parks and have quality time.

 

[Please note: taking payment holidays means the outstanding debt gets bigger and so too does the amount of interest you’re charged]