"Joint and several" = discrimination?

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I have been fighting my partners shortfall case with AN/Eversheds for the last year and am delighted with the advice on this site and replies to my previous posts. We are currently in round two of our fight with them and I think we're ahead on points !!!

Anyway, an interesting development has occured and I am interested in any opinions regarding it.

Unlike many other unfortunate contributors, my lady and her ex are on speaking terms and he too is actively fighting this. Neither party has had any correspondence for eight months or so - mainly after following the advice on this site - but we've just received another round of letters from the 'Sheds central command in Cardiff.

The strange thing here is, according to him, his letter says "you owe us nothing, we won't bother you again" whereas ours still makes the tedious offers of massive discounts if we offer to settle.

Now I understand they can choose to pursue both or either over the alledged debt as they see fit. I also realise that they often chase the lady as they're more likely to cough up. But surely in a case where both parties have been contacted and are in discussions regarding the alledged debt, they must act in an even-handed manner ???

By telling one party "we won't bother you again" and yet still hassling the other for money, they must be guilty of some form of discrimination or harrasment...surely???

Is this fair and/or legal???

Or is the fact that he is on benefit and unlikely to ever be able to pay anything, while we enjoy an above above average income (mainly my money though, so they can't touch that) a motivating factor here?

Assuming he's telling the truth (I've told her to ask him very nicely if we can photocopy his as yet unseen letter) does anyone think we have a discrimination case (sexual?) here?

Your advice/comments, as ever, gratefully appreciated...

Andy

-- Andy Robson (andyrobson@route21.freeserve.co.uk), February 10, 2004

Answers

I'm not an expert but the sex discrimination issue is I would say a non starter in a case like this. The lender is going after your partner because she has more assets and her ex being on benefit isn't worth pursuing. That's what they usually do.

Certainly there seems to be a lot of women who do feel they are being chased more vigourously than their men but that might be because men do a better job of hiding ( and I don't mean that in a sexist way!!).

But there would be no harm in raising the issue with the Equal Opportunities Commission to see what they think!

Good Luck

Moira

-- Moira (Anderston828@aol.com), February 12, 2004.


Hi Andy,

Similar position to you but in reverse in that B&B are chasing my fiance and his ex and her husband, don't work, live on benefit and basically don't do much all day whereas my fiance has a good job and, until we found this site, they were harrassing him on a daily basis!

What we have done, and I think you are already on the right track, is to keep everything in my name and, even though getting married can change the law, we have made a point of having 2 separate bank accounts, one in joint names and one in my name. Luckily I get paid in the middle of the month and he at the end, the mortgage money and anything connected to the house comes out of my salary and gets paid into my account which then proves he has no claim over it.

We also followed the advice on this site. We wrote a letter last November saying that as we consistently receive the same letters and it is now approaching 12 years since the alleged debt came to light we would be grateful if they would stop contacting him. No doubt we'll have the usual letter in about 6 months time.

My own personal view, as above, is that they do go after the one they feel has more to offer regardless of sex.

-- Chris (chris@anon.co.uk), February 13, 2004.


I'm with you on this but in a slightly different light. B&B are chasing my husand for a shortfall debt of 42000, they will not answer my queries and will not negotiate. They have confirmed they know the whereabouts of his ex but are chasing him purely because of the equity in his/our house. I feel he is being discriminated against because of his financial position. I understand the joint and several bit but in the end she is not dead, living in another country or clinically insane, THEY KNOW WHERE SHE IS! In all honesty she is living a more affluent lifestyle than us only has been careful to have nothing put in her name. However B&B do not want to know, they have already commenced legal proceedings against us, and have confirmed they will apply for a charging order and order for sale of our home which will leave 3 innocent people severly affected as in myself and my 2 young children as albeit we have equity in our house we can not get to it. We cannot remortgage as we can't afford to. Our only option is to move house. This is all whilst his ex wife will continue to live her life as if nothing has happened. In honesty you won't know whether a discrimination case will hold up in court, we are soon to find out - I will keep you posted.

-- (jmj260101@aol.com), February 14, 2004.

Be careful Andy, I am in a similar situation with AN/Eversheds and have been advised by my solicitor that even if I settle now for a nominal amount. They could go after the other party again if their letter was under a 'Without Prejudice' heading and if successful, the other party could come after me for a contribution towards their settlement figure.

Always make sure that if you intend to try and resolve the matter with either of these companies, get hold of a recommended solicitor (it's worth every penny, if affordable for piece of mind & resolution) and spend a couple of quid for them to fire a letter off outlining any forced circumstances at the time that might bring the case to a grinding halt. You might have to pay something to get the debt cleared but if you have provable reasons that this debt could have been avoided, they might stop chasing you all together, possibly.

I had a deadline of the 13th of February from Eversheds or else court beckoned and attachment of earnings would be put in place but we sent a letter on the 4th Feb, outlining all the problems from the case's history and have since heard nothing.

I know the situation has not gone away entirely but it makes them very uneasy having other solicitors on the case talking the same language and pointing out failures from the lender at the time.

I don't know if this helps your cause but shows there are so many people in the same boat

Mr Well and Truly

-- Mr Well & Trully (tuckedupbytheabbey@yahoo.co.uk), February 20, 2004.


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