The Mansfields first approached CLB in December 2017 with 11 claims, all of which were no longer in the hands of the original companies. These claims totalled about £48,400.
They first fell into debt when Mr Mansfield was made redundant. All of their spending was on credit cards and had been paid off each month but when they lost this income they started to fall behind on payments and took out further borrowing to cover the shortfall.
The Mansfields had been in debt management with Step Change for over 15 years, paying small monthly amounts. Had they kept up those payments, it would have taken them over 37 years to clear their debt.
This had caused both them and their family a great deal of worry.
They had considered ‘debt solutions’ such as bankruptcy or IVA but as home owners these so called ‘solutions’ would have cost them too much as the equity in their house was in danger of being ring-fenced.
The Mansfields went to Step Change to stop the almost unbearable barrage of correspondence they were receiving on a daily basis whilst their creditors pursued them for money they didn’t have.
The Mansfields then instructed a CLB barrister who agreed to work for the same monthly amount that they had previously been paying to Step Change.
The CLB team were able to stop any correspondence going to the clients directly which took away a lot of the worry that they associated with ending their debt management plan.
Once CLB started acting for the Mansfields, the companies claiming money from them started to sell the debt on and outsource the collections to external debt collection agencies. This was a clear attempt to ignore their duties under the Consumer Credit Act.
Even after three months none of the companies claiming money from them had responded to our letters which demanded proof about the value of the claims and proof that they had title to the claims (e.g. that they legally owned the debts they were chasing).
The companies also failed to comply properly with requests for information under the Consumer Credit Act which meant that, even at this early stage in the case, all of the claims were unenforceable (although this could easily have changed if the claimants provided the information and documentation which had been requested).
We pushed these companies to respond to the requests or otherwise abandon their claims for good.
Another three months later and the and good news started to come in quickly.
Three of the companies conceded that they could not enforce the claims they were making and those claims were abandoned.
This meant that over £22,700 of the original amount the Mansfields were facing was unenforceable and they would not need to pay anything further towards this amount.
As the case progressed some of the remaining companies tried to satisfy our requests. None of these however has provided the information and documentation they are required to provide and the claims remain unenforceable.
Of the original £45,500 that the Mansfields were paying through Step Change, only £7,200 can be enforced. This means that only in those cases has the company been able to satisfy the requirements of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and to establish that it has a valid claim.
If they had not instructed the CLB barrister, the Mansfields would have paid over £41,000 to companies who have been unable to prove that they have a valid and enforceable claim.