Thursday, 7 April 2011

To "B" or not to "B"

The question is have I chosen the best course of action? Was it sensible to fight for my good name while endeavouring to persuade my husband's creditors to see reason rather than succumb to the dreaded B word?

Having been sent an article in the Guardian today about someone who has made the decision to go bankrupt as a way of drawing a line under his debt problems  I can imagine his feelings of relief knowing his days of dealing with angry creditors and dodging their predatory phone calls are now numbered . He unlike me is now free to consider his future. However, for me, this route proved a distasteful, irresponsible and cowardly way in which to move on from the past. I have to add, as my husband, unlike me, appeared to attach no dishonour to bankruptcy himself.

My stance, however, has always been, once a discharged bankrupt, always a discharged bankrupt and I do not ever wish to acquire membership to this club. I hasten to add every professional adviser I have consulted has urged me to elect bankruptcy as a solution but from a purely financial perspective, I cannot understand the reasoning behind this. 

Why pay would I pay £1,200 (which I haven't got so would have to borrow) to achieve bankruptcy status for my husband and I personally, not to mention an additional equally substantial sum to achieve the same status for our company, when I can, if I keep my countenance, advise our creditors of the same sorry tale a receiver would have done, with virtually no financial outlay on my part at all, save the cost of stamp. I appreciate the task is not a pleasant one but isn't this what being a grown up is all about?

While this was the motivation at the start of my journey from hell, two and a half years on and I have identified another far more valid reason for continuing this fight. I have gained an insight into how underhand some money lenders can be and have discovered not only do they regularly flaunt their regulatory authority’s guidelines but are happy to ignore  government directives as well. and corresponding with them in a reasonable and professional manner provides them with the opportunity to put outrageous things in their responses and to my initial surprise this precisely what they do. 

For example, how else would I have discovered the Bank of Scotland openly discriminate against married women? Neither would I has guessed Lloyds Banking Group rarely reply to letters of complaint and on the few occasion they do they fail to respond appropriately because they regularly missunderstand the point. I would never have discovered Lloyd TSB were prepared to concoct a fictitious payment arrangement agreement with regard to my husband’s accounts. Neither would it have come to light Nat West would try to over ride a court decision on an unrecoverable debt by both sending payment demands themselves an enlisting the help of a debt collector.

Had I not chosen to engage in a communication battle with the banks I would have been, by default, condoning the banks tried and tested method of distancing themselves from their actions and neatly sweeping their irresponsible lending and unreasonable debt collecting practises under the carpet. I believe bankruptcy courts are another way to perpetuate a banking culture which is already rife with denial. With 8 out of 10 debt defaults pointlessly reaching the courts, not using the "B" word, and instead insisting the lenders communicate with me in person, I have acquired a voice, albeit a very small one and feel confident one day soon I shall be heard.

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