As a self-employed contractor, Mr Ealing suffered a slow-down in work during the ‘credit crunch’ as his customers began to feel the squeeze themselves. To keep work coming he had to reduce his rates and cut his income. He then started borrowing money to make ends meet. As a father of four, there appeared to be no other choice.
Mr Ealing approached CLB to provide an opinion on the claims he was facing under five unsecured credit agreements.
This amount had been building up over a number of years without the client realising until one day the repayments began to put too much pressure on him.
By the time it all became too much, Mr Ealing owed nearly £50,000.
He began to lose sleep and shortly afterwards suffered a break down which lost him work and had a massive impact on his personal life.
Feeling unable to cope, Mr Ealing ignored the debts and stopped making payments. He stopped answering the phone and threw away post without opening it. The result was that the debts grew larger.
Meanwhile, the original companies he owed money too were selling the debts to specialist ‘debt buying’ companies. These in turn sold the debt again, sometimes for as little at £1 for every £100 of debt.
A friend of Mr Ealing, recommended he contact CLB. He stopped paying his debt management company and instead instructed a CLB barrister to advise him on his rights in relation to these agreements and whether he had a right not to pay.
It was a good decision! Within six months, all of the companies claiming money from Mr Ealing had conceded that their claims were unenforceable.
However, these companies still continued to sell the claims on and instruct collection companies (even though they knew they were unenforceable!). It took another two months for us to secure the position and stop any of these companies from contacting Mr Ealing again.
Mr Ealing only paid CLB for the time it took for us to complete our work, which was eight months.
He is now exercising his right not to pay any of these companies.
Whilst our work is finished, the CLB barrister remains on the record as ‘acting’ for Mr Ealing in case any of these companies try to chase him again.