General Question

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread

Does anyone know if any borrower has been sucessful in getting Legal Aid to defend a court action brought by a lender, for the shortfall, years after the reposession.

I have been told that the legal aid board will not grant such Legal Aid, as they have little chance of recovering these costs after any court action.

If this is the case what happens to someone who cannot pay the costs, and have to defend the action on their own, against the there powerful Lenders. How can this be justice.

Lisa

-- Lisa (stamfordlisa@hotmail.com), February 13, 2001

Answers

You will not usually get such legal aid for this kind of action.

However, if you look like a fighter and cannot pay the costs (ie, have no valuable assets and relatively low income) it is unlikely that the lender will sue you. Your fighting will raise their costs without providing a way to pay those costs whether they win or lose.

Read the Repossession and Do's and Don'ts section to see more detail on this.

Lenders take quite some effort to make sure that they only sue people who are worth suing (hiring private detectives, etc to watch you for a few days to see if you work, if you have a car, etc).

A few months ago a repossessed Abbey National customer who spotted her watchers in cars outside her house several times. Today she spotted another but when she sneaked up on the car to check out the occupant she saw a sheet of paper on the passenger seat headed "Paragon". Paragon is a lender whose activities have and continue to cause concern for several people associated with this website.

The driver of the car saw the Abbey National customer looking through the passenger window and quickly drove off.

The customer concluded that one of her neighbours is going through the same Hell with Paragon that she is going through with Abbey National.

The rest of us can conclude that it is common for lenders to employ private detectives to stake out people out before deciding whether it is worth sueing them.

There is more information on this buried in the Lender's log at: http://www.home-repo.org/reposses/mindset.htm.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders issued this statement about the practice to Mortgage Introducer magazine last month:

"Under the Mortgage Code, lenders must look at the individual circumstances of a borrower who is unable to repay a loan and try to work with them to find a solution to the problem. Help available can include arranging advice from a professional debt counselling agency, if the borrower requests it. In some cases, however, borrowers can make it hard to contact them to discuss realistic repayment proposals. It is sometimes difficult for lenders to establish whether information being given is correct, particularly when borrowers are reluctant to provide evidence to support statements. In some instances, borrowers may simply not respond to attempts to communicate with them. In these circumstances, lenders may resort to using a tracing agency. However, they usually require that agents are members of a professional body like the Consumer Credit Trade Association, the Institute of Professional Investigators or the Association of British Investigators and uphold a code of conduct controlling the way in which they operate. Agents must also operate within the law, particularly the provisions of the Data Protection, Consumer Credit, Criminal Justice and Public Order Acts. (itals)Bernard Clarke, spokesman the Council of Mortgage Lenders"

Lee

-- Lee (repossession@bigfoot.com), February 13, 2001.


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