Endless calls from creditors can get you down. Picking up the post and recognising their envelopes is not a great start to the day, either. But when screening calls and you hear “this is such-and-such debt collection agency press #1 to take this call” you can’t help but laugh.
The debt collectors chasing me are now overwhelmed with the number of people that they’re routinely threatening with “a bad credit rating”. They seem unable to recognise that not having a penny to one’s name to repay any credit is more of a problem than an inevitable poor credit rating.
The letters are copied, pasted and sent out in their hundreds too. What happened to personal service? They’re littered with modal verbs might, may, could, knowing such veiled threats would upset some. Many people fear being in debt: what will the neighbours think? They worry about a poor credit rating, believe if you owe money you should pay it no matter what.
I’m not thinking like that at all. I refuse to. When your job ends the bills don’t so, just as I have to make adjustments to the way I live because I am a victim of a recession, so should the banks recognise I have no money to pay them. I literally have no money to pay them.
If I had anything resembling “disposable income” I’d top up my gas meter and put the heating on full-blast all day, or I’d treat myself to a bottle of Marques de Caceras Rioja (preferably 2005), or I’d go to the cinema, or I’d buy some DVDs and CDs. I’d do any number of things.
The assumption seems to be that those in debt are fibbing about their poverty. I’ve said, “I acknowledge the debt, I do not dispute the debt, I do not have any money to pay the debt,” so many times it’s stuck in my head and I’m thinking of adding music: something upbeat rather than with a lot of booming bass.
I found that the Payment Protection Insurance I was mis-sold was of no value to self-employed workers and was told it was void. The debt collectors aren’t chasing those who ripped me off, but I’m now, of course, trying to get my money back. Beware, though, freelances with PPI.
The debts are sold from creditor to debt collector to debt collector with such speed it’s hard to know who is hassling you. It also shows what little intention they have of genuine legal proceedings. If they can scare you into giving the money back they will – or they will sell the debt on. Do they not realise that as children when our mums threatened slapped legs for being cheeky and it didn’t happen we learned about bluffing?
I’m warned failure to respond “may result in being refused simple credit agreements such as mobile phone contracts”. This is especially amusing as one of them is for an unpaid mobile phone bill.
The letters continue “a more serious consequence may be when applying for mortgages with acceptable interest rates, credit cards or cheap loans.”
With the average house price in my home city at £145,257 and my income at £67.50 per week I can’t see this being an immediate concern. With the average salary in journalism being £24,500 it’s unlikely to ever be a concern.
It is hard enough to get credit these days for everyone, and I wouldn’t get a sniff of a loan, cheap or otherwise, while on Jobseekers’ Allowance.
I’m not likely to contact a loan shark or go to an awful GetALoanAndPay1000%Interest companies but I can understand how people with children might be considering this as Christmas swiftly approaches. I’ll just have to sit here, fend off the harassment and hope I get a job soon.
The polite, petit bourgeois, fear of debt leaves those without work taking the blame for their situation – and recently led the PM to gaffe when he compared his urgency to clear the national debt to us paying off our credit cards. The government often like to tap into this fear, pretending state finances are the same as household.
I’ll await my County Court summons which I might, may, could get and will attend, if needs be, knowing I’m not (as yet) likely to be sent to debtors’ prison. I’ll tell the court what I tell the debt collectors – “I acknowledge the debt, I do not dispute the debt, I do not have any money to pay the debt”. I’m thinking I should go with a disco track.
Owe much I owe in total: About £8000 in total, which could pay for me to enjoy a cruise to volcanoes the world over. Sigh
How many calls I get a day: Too many to count and, besides, I now unplug the phone