Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Debts and rubber ducks

Why is it some people, finding they do not know the answer to the question you have asked, simply make up questions they can answer in order to give a reply? I have just spent twenty minutes on the telephone to someone within the debt advisory services who has chosen to do just that. My difficulties seem to arise because I am quite often more knowledgeable than the people from whom I can afford to seek expertise yet I still feel it is necessary to take advice because I don't feel knowledgeable enough to be confident in my decision making without have a sounding board.
This morning’s frustrations have stemmed from my Heritable Hero’s offer to “encourage” the Bank of Scotland to accept an Individual Voluntary Arrangement. This IVA would include my husband’s remaining personal creditors of £73,000, business creditors of £75,000, together with some non hostile credit card debt which is not being pursued as well as our mortgage shortfall of £217,000. Heritable Bank have already agreed to write off our shortfall of £209,000 but have suggested, as an alternative, I consider whether it would be beneficial for me to use Heritable’s offer to force my hostile creditors (Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Nat West, MBNA, Abbey National, Cahoot and Capital One) into accepting an IVA. This will not require a monetary outlay, but instead could be a method by which to render them powerless to pursue me.

While putting an end to the financial pressure is a very attractive proposition, I desperately feel the need for an expert to go through the nuts and bolts of it with me so I can make an informed decision.  My layman’s understanding of the rulings are that as long as 75% of my creditors agree, I can pay whatever is acceptable to them (rubber ducks was one suggestion) and be home and dry without any more postal panic, doorstep claw hammer threats or armed police responses ever again.

But is this the best course of action for me to take right now?

With this question in mind I made National Debt Line my first stop.  After updating my financial fact find and fending off the advisor’s urges to launch into a discussion on bankruptcy with me, I was told I could not consider an IVA without doing an income and expenditure analysis to assess my disposable income. When I explained  they had completely lost sight of the fact I may well be paying in rubber ducks, their rather shirty reply was this was not the normal way to approach an IVA and it was their opinion most people would look at something in the region of twenty pence in the pound.

Having finally got him to accept rubber ducks were precisely the kind of IVA both I and Heritable Bank had in mind, he had to concede this was indeed, technically, a possibility but felt it was imperative I go on hold while they checked with their legal department whether it would be possible for Heritable Bank to make me do this!  It took me several minutes more to convince him nobody was attempting to force me to pay them in rubber ducks, or anything else for that matter.  Finally, broken and confused, but still trying to save face, my advisor agreed to allow me to ask him my question.

“Now you are in possession of all the facts,” I said, “is this a feasible way forward for me right now?”

Of course his answer was, “I couldn’t possibly answer a question of this kind. You will have to ask an insolvency practitioner but remember you will have to pay.”

I have always been aware that the odds of going into a supermarket for a loaf of bread and coming out with just a loaf of bread are three billion to one.  I had foolishly hoped that National Debt Line would have at least allowed me my loaf of bread but I suppose I shouldn't have been looking at a bakery for pearls of wisdom. 

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