Author Topic: Terrible Timing!!  (Read 2843 times)


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Terrible Timing!!
« on: Feb 10, 2008, 07:34:53 PM »
This is my story, a slightly unusual case that has had me stressed for 8 months now.

The first part of this tale begins with my Fathers death in 2006 - due to a series of unfortunate events (some of it my own silly fault), I was unable to get probate until March 2007.

My husband, and his business were made bankrupt in January 2006 - without my knowledge at the time, but eventually my husband and I discussed it, and we knew we'd get through it all.

We had a visit from a bailiff connected with the council tax in March 2007, who announced that although my husband had been made bankrupt, I was still liable to pay the overdue council tax, but we thought very little of it at the time, because I have no income of my own. But we also knew that I'd be granted probate shortly, which would supply us with money from both my Fathers life insurance, and the sale of his house.

In April 2007 I put a cheque in my account, and left to Cornwall to put my fathers house on the market. On my return at the end of that week, with a cleared cheque, I opened a letter to find that 2 days prior I had been taken to court and declared bankrupt. I was devastated, I had over £13,000 in my bank account, that was no longer legally mine and debts that I was intending to pay the following Monday that totalled £4000.

I had my first meeting with the OR on May 2nd 2007, who was very sympathetic and understood that this was a case of horrendous timing, but because I was clearly solvent he felt that this was a case that could be completed within 4 months.

All my money was removed from my account on June 13th, and at the beginning of August 2007 I received a letter to tell me that my case had been transferred to the RTLU and I felt that this was a good sign that my case should be dealt with quickly, and I would soon see any remaining money returned to me. I spoke to an apparent manager at the RTLU Croydon, she was a woman, who seemed particularly abrupt, and very unhelpful.

I then received a letter saying that because the council tax had over 50% of the debt owed they were appointing their own IP. I didn't understand what this meant for me case, and after a few nervous conversations with this woman at the RTLU found that she no longer had any control over anything, and could tell me nothing. All she could advise was that I went to the Citizen's Advice and get them to find out what was happening, which I duly did.

The result of which was that the council appointed IP had already stated a week before he wanted nothing to do with it, as the funds were clearly there to pay all debts in full. The lady at CAB however did complain to my OR's managers about her rude and unhelpful manner.

I received a phone call from the this lady at the RTLU that afternoon saying that she'd (supposedly) spent that afternoon talking the IP's out of taking over the case, because they had been upset by the CAB person. (why they would be I have no idea, she was polite, and OR didn't seem to realise I had been sitting in the room with her the whole time, and had heard all the conversations she'd had, including the one where she made a complaint against her!!) I believe that she'd had a severe dressing down from her superiors and had decided to talk herself up to me!

She then told me it would take a further 10 weeks to complete my case. About a week after this I received a form to see if I was able to get an early discharge, which I filled in and returned within the time frame.

I spoke to my OR 9 weeks into my "10 week" time period (last week), only to be told that because the credit card company had finally filed a proof of debt (on November 16th - the day after I received a threatening letter claiming I owed them money still), that he had to wait a further 4 weeks, to make sure nothing more came in.

I received a letter on 12th December telling me that I had been granted an early discharge on the 5th of December, which made my heart fill with joy, as I thought that this was finally the end of the road, and all money could now be paid out without problems, and I would receive the remainder back.

Having spoken with the OR today, and he claims that this isn't the case, he still has to wait 2 more weeks until the 6 month advertising period is up, to make sure that no more creditors come in, and then it'll take a further 2 months to pay them out, and make sure all fee's are paid before I will see any return at the beginning of March.

Unsurprisingly I am disappointed by this, as I cannot believe it takes 2 months to 2 companies £4000 between them from £13,000 which was taken from my account.

All in all to date this has been a very frustrating time for me, deadlines ever changing, and an OR who I believe likes to "bend the truth" with me.

I'm still unsure why it's taken so long, and why there have been so many hoops to jump through when all they had to do was pay company a and b from the £13,000 in my bank account. Hopefully I'll see a resolution in the near future.


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Re: Terrible Timing!!
« Reply #1 on: Feb 11, 2008, 12:36:42 PM »
Hi Cagey. Thanks for sharing your sorry story on the forum.

I find it remarkable that you should have been made bankrupt without any warnings within a month or so of learning about of your debt. It is also a mystery to me why all your money was removed from your account when you were clearly solvent at the time.

Firstly you should have issued a 'statutory demand' in writing for the money due. This is not just verbal statement from the bailiff that called, but a formal document handed to you in person by an official. This would have explained the demand including I suspect the consequence of bankruptcy if not settled. You should then have been given 21 days to agree a settlement. Only after that should you have then been served with a banruptcy petition, again in writing from a person, requesting you attend the court on a particular date. You would then have the opportinity to oppose the petition, change the date, etc. Normally there must be at least 14 days between the petition being served on the debtor and it being heard in court. Then at court you would have able to explain about your inheritance and your bankruptcy would no doubt have been deferred.

If any of the above procedures were not correctly fulfilled then your bankruptcy may be unlawful. In which case not only should the remainder of your funds be returned, but also the fees and loss of interest on your funds (probably amounting to a couple of thousand).

Also, whether your bankruptcy was unlawful or not, it is not just a discharge you want, it is a full annulment. This will put you back in the position before you were made bankrupt as if the bankrupcy order was never made. Otherwise you will have the stigma of previously being made bankrupt hanging over your head and you will suffer when applying for jobs, insurance, credit etc when they ask if you have ever been declared bankrupt.  You can apply for an annulment at any time if:

A. the bankruptcy order should not have been made, for example because the proper steps were not taken when
obtaining the order; or
B. all your bankruptcy debts and the fees and expenses of the bankruptcy proceedings have been either paid in full or secured (guaranteed) to the satisfaction of the court;

B certainly appears to be the case, and possibly A as well. So you should definely apply for this whatever the case.

I suggest you speak to a solicitor with experience in bankrupty procedings about recovering your fees, loss of interest etc. and restoring your status. Your 1st meeting should be free, and ask for 'no-win no-fee' which they should readily accept if you have done nothing wrong and your losses are clearly recoverable. On a succesful outcome your solicitor’s fees would then be included in the costs awarded.