If you’re getting nagged by your credit card company, you might not be aware of the fact that you can stop this by disputing your debt. Here are some strategies and advice that could help you clear the table and give you a fresh start:
The Basic Process
When you borrow money from someone, of course you owe it to them. Normally, you sign a credit agreement promising to repay them for the debt. This agreement is a legal document that sets the terms and conditions for the borrowing and repayment.
Borrowing money includes things like using a credit card, taking out a bank or credit card loan, buying goods on credit or taking a home mortgage.
However, if you didn’t sign an agreement, or it wasn’t clear that you were borrowing money, you may have a claim against the person saying that you owe money. Sometimes, an agreement was signed, but the contract contained unfair or prohibited terms and conditions, or you were tricked or forced into signing it against your will.
You might have also signed an agreement while you were not aware of what you were signing. All of these are valid claims against an alleged debt.
If You Didn’t Sign An Agreement
If you didn’t sign a lending agreement, then there is no way for the lender to prove that you owe the debt. You can make a claim against a lender to have the debt dropped. If the lender persists, or reports you as a bad borrower, you can use a service like Claims Direct to sue for damages or at least to get the creditor to remove any erroneous information about you that’s been reported to a third party.
If you were a victim of identity theft, then you are not responsible for the debt that was agreed to in your name.
If You’re Under 18
If you are under 18, you are considered a minor and cannot be legally held liable for a debt in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, you can’t be held liable if you’re under the age of 16.
If You Are A Guarantor
Co-signing for a loan makes you responsible for the debt, but only if the debtor is still alive. If the debtor has died, the lender cannot come after you for the money.
If You’re A Catalogue Agent
When you’re an agent for a catalogue company, you should set up a separate account for customers. If you don’t do this, you might be held responsible for money that your customers don’t pay. If you have a separate account, you can’t be held liable.
If The Lender Hasn’t Followed The Proper Procedures
If a lender shows the wrong amount of a debt, shows incorrect repayments, or doesn’t contain all the legal notices it should have, then you may not be responsible for that debt.
If The Time Limit Has Run Out
There is a time limit on how long a lender can pursue you for a debt. By law, the lender can only come after you for 6 years (5 years in Scotland) for a past-due debt. If you are contacted by the lender after this time, or if you’re taken to court, you should consult with a debt advisor to see if your debt is statute barred.
Statute barred means that the law does not allow the lender to collect from you – end of story.
Lara Fuller is a financial debt counselor. She likes to share the money advice tips that work best for her. Her articles appear on financial and consumer websites.