The End and A Fresh Start

April 14th, 2013 by skippy13

Well I seem to have come a full circle.  My credit files today are now clear – no bankruptcy, no defaults and no late payments.  According to Experian I now have an excellent credit rating!  It’s been a long time since I can say I don’t owe any money (probably since I got my first credit card when I was 18!) but it’s a nice feeling.

If I hadn’t made the decision to do something when I did I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in now as I would still be struggling to make payments and trying to keep my head above water.  While I have always said in the past I wish my IVA had been successful I am now glad it failed when it did.  If I’d been able to carry on I may have been caught up in the Grant Thornton closure fiasco as they took over Accuma IVAs.  My IVA would have finished in October 2011 and I know some posters are still waiting for their certificate after two years.  That in turn would have meant that the money my aunt left me last year would have been due to the IVA even though I’d finished paying – I would have fought tooth and nail to keep it as I would have complied with my side of the IVA but who knows what would have happened.  I’m a great believer in everything happening for a reason even if it doesn’t seem obvious at the time and I think this proves my point.

I’ve learned a lot over the last few years.  Although I still use a credit card as I am a named cardholder on my husband’s account but I now only spend what I know I can pay for.  I prefer using cash but sometimes it’s easier (and safer) to pay by card but I like seeing the full payment go out of my bank account each month – I get a strange sense of satisfaction!

I have now upgraded my Nationwide bank account to a FlexPlus account and get travel and mobile phone insurance, breakdown cover, extended warranty cover and commission free cash withdrawals abroad.  This costs £10 a month and, while I always said I wouldn’t pay for an account, I will be able to make use of everything this one offers and I’m actually getting something for my money.  Obviously I hope I don’t need to claim on anything but you know what I mean!

I have also been accepted for a Nationwide Select credit card in my own name.  This will mean I will also have commission free spending abroad which will come in handy when we go to Florida next month for our belated honeymoon.  I have the money saved but it will mean we don’t have to worry about carrying cash.  I’ve also applied for a joint account with my husband – I’m really grown up now!

There have been a some good things to come out of my IVA and bankruptcy.  I have made some very good friends (I won’t embarrass you, you know who you are!) and my life has changed dramatically – I am now happily married, debt free and looking forward to the future.  This will probably be my last blog entry as I think my story has now run its course.  I would say to anyone who is struggling with debt – make the phone call.  It’s a scary thought but speak to two or three companies and you will be on the road to sorting everything out.  There is a solution whether it’s an IVA, bankruptcy, DMP or DRO – it’s just a case of finding it.

Good luck everyone to everyone who is BR or in an IVA, DMP or DRO – there might not seem as though it will end but it will do x

Credit Files and Vanquis

November 18th, 2012 by skippy13

Well I thought it was about time I updated my blog as things are happening!  It’s 6 years since I applied for my IVA and the defaults are slowly but surely dropping off my credit files.

Call Credit – I now only have Prudential (Egg Loan), Natwest and Littlewoods to drop off.  Britannica (they bought the Egg loan from Prudential) has dropped off early which I’m not complaining about!

Equifax – There’s now only Egg loan, Next, Littlewoods and Natwest to go.

Experian – I can’t check this at the moment as I made an error when I applied and applied in my married name.  Of course it hasn’t linked up to my maiden name so I’ve got some forms to fill out.  If everything has gone to plan there is only Britannica and Next to drop off here.

I’ve also decided to close my Vanquis account.  It has served me well but hubby has made me a second card holder on one of his credit cards and I don’t want to have two cards available to me!  I have learned my lesson but I don’t see the point of putting temptation in my path!

Another reason I cancelled Vanquis is I found the customer service quite poor – my previous card expired at the end of September but I couldn’t use the new one until the 1st October.  Every other card I’ve had has a cross over of dates on it.  This caused me a problem as some places wouldn’t accept the old one with such a short date on it – the most embarrassing time was when I used it to pay for my Uncle’s hotel room after the wedding!  I told him not to worry, we’d pay for his room as a thank you for helping us with the wedding.  It was a bit embarrassing when he checked out and they told him there was a problem with the payment!

Vanquis then annoyed me again when I changed my card into my married name.  I was assured that the card in my maiden name could be used until the new card was activated – yeah right!  When I phoned up to find out why they had stopped my card I was told it was an error but there was nothing they could do about it!  Add to that the continuous phone calls and I’m quite pleased to get shot of them!  Not that I know what the phone calls are about as, if anyone actually bothers speaking to me, I won’t confirm my security details!  Half the time I only know it’s Vanquis thanks to Whocallsme!

A Bitter Sweet Year

November 9th, 2011 by skippy13

I don’t really have a lot to add about my bankruptcy now. It’s been 16 months since my last IPA payment, so the next milestone will be on 29th March 2013 when my BR drops off my credit files along with the defaults.

Speaking of defaults, Tesco Finance are still defaulting me each month, so I’ve got to get a letter sent to them, and if they still refuse to comply I’ll refer them to the Information Commissioner. When I’ve done this I’ll post how I get on.

My main focus now is our wedding. I’m enjoying trying to do things on a budget (although it’s still expensive!) and I’m making all the stationery myself and so far I’m quite proud of it! The one thing I’ve gone over budget on is my dress but I’ve decided that I’m allowed to as it’s my big day! Even that was half price though so it could have been worse! I’d bought a dress from a friend but decided that I was missing out on the dress shopping experience, so Mum and I went shopping and I found one I fell in love with.

This year has been a horrible year, so I’m glad it’s coming to a close. As well as my mum losing her sight my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and died in July. It was a huge shock as she seemed so healthy, but it just makes you think that you can’t take anything for granted. Life is short so make the most of every minute, make sure your loved ones know you love them and be thankful for what you have in life.

Moving On

May 1st, 2011 by skippy13

Since I last posted we’ve had some bad news about my Mum – she has been told she has got to stop driving and can now register as partially sighted as her glaucoma is now so bad.  She seems to be accepting this reasonably well, but it’s made me realise how important it is not to take things for granted.

Once the bank holiday weekends are over I am going to be trying to sort out attendance allowance for her, as she still wants to be able to go out and can then use the money for taxis.  I’m encouraging her to do this as, while I don’t mind doing things for her, I want her to keep her independence for as long as possible.  I’m also going to have to get rid of her car, so I’ll have to find out what to do – all this is new territory for me!

Everything that has happened to my mum over the last few years makes me realise that no matter what happens in life, your health is the most important thing.

On a brighter note, the wedding plans are coming on well!  The wedding and reception are now booked, and I am now the proud owner of a dress, jacket and tiara, all for less than £100!  I wasn’t intending to get my dress this early, but with my mum’s sight problems I wanted her to see me trying on some dresses.  I ordered a few from Debenhams, but they didn’t suit me, but one of the girls I work with had talked about selling hers and asked if I wanted to try it – as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one for me!  I’ll need to get it cleaned and I want some alterations made to it, but it’s still a bargain and I’m proud of myself – a few years ago I would never have considered a second hand dress!

4 Years On

March 14th, 2011 by skippy13

On 29th March it will be 4 years since I went bankrupt and I cannot believe how much life has changed since then, all for the better.

If you’ve read my other posts then you’ll know that I had automatic discharge a year after going BR, and I paid an IPA fpr 3 years, which finished in June last year.

Since then, I have got engaged and will be getting married next year, which wouldn’t be happening if I was still struggling with my debts as I would never have been able to afford to pay for a wedding.

I’ve been shocked at the cost of weddings, and how, when you mention the ‘W’ word, the cost of things suddenly shoot up!  We’re getting married on a budget, but that’s not going to stop us having a good time!  My mum is paying for my dress, which will probably come from Monsoon, or, if possible the local hospice charity shop – they have a dedicated bridal section with dresses donated by local bridal shops.  I’d feel happy knowing that I was helping a good cause.

My neighbour has offered to make the cake as my wedding present – do people really pay £400+ just for a cake?!?!  We’re not having a photographer – I’m going to ask people to send me their pictures afterwards.

My IVA and subsequent BR gave me a fresh start, and I hope anyone reading this will realise that it’s not the end of the world, it’s a second chance.  Sorry if that sounds corny!

The End!

July 20th, 2010 by skippy13

Well it’s finally over!  Nearly 4 years after I faced up to my debt problems I made my last IPA payment on 28th June.

There were a few hiccups at the end as the OR decided I hadn’t made a payment in September 2007, and even when I sent the bank statement showing that the payment had been made they weren’t happy.  They are going to take it up with Clarke Willmott (who were collecting the payments at the time) so hopefully that’ll be the last I hear about that.

The best part was that on the same day as the OR was querying the bank statement Moon Beever sent a letter confirming that I only had one more payment to make at the end of June!

It was a strange feeling when the last payment went out.  I was obviously pleased, but in a funny sort of way it was an anti-climax.  I don’t know how I expected to feel though!!!  I always said that I would buy myself a present to celebrate, and I think that’ll be a watch as I’ve managed to jam the winder on mine!  That and another tattoo!

It’s been a long 4 years with a lot of ups and downs, but I think it’s changed me as a person.  I still want things straight away, that’s just me, but I realise that I now have to wait!  I also appreciate what I have more than I used to.  I’m lucky as I’ve got a nice home, a lovely partner and the one and only Harry Puss.

I’ve also made some brilliant friends thanks to this forum.  I’m not going to mention you all by name as I don’t want to upset anyone by missing them out!  You know who you are though, and thank you for everything.

I would say to anyone thinking of bankruptcy that it’s not as bad as people think, but it’s also not the easy way out.  Talk to 2 or 3 IPs and make sure it’s the right decision for you.

IPA and Beyond!

March 25th, 2010 by skippy13

Well as of today there are 95 days until I make my last IPA payment!  I have to say that the last 6 months seem to be going a lot slower than  previous months, but I suppose that’s only to be expected!

It’ll seem strange when all of my money is mine as for as long as I can remember I’ve been paying my debts, an IVA or an IPA.  I have a few things in mind to celebrate, one of which is a new tattoo!

After posting on the forum that I’ve got nothing to write in my blog Julie suggested I post about doing the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK.  This will be the 5th time I’ve done it, and as usual I’m doing it in memory of my Dad and Uncle, both of whom died of cancer.

The difference this time is that I want to run it.  It’s only 5k so it’s not far, but please bear in mind I’m 1 1/2 stones overweight and hate running!  My training so far has been hit and miss, but I went out for a little run (sorry trot whilst gasping for breath!) last week, I ran on the treadmill at the gym on Tuesday and I went for an outdoor run again yesterday.  Today was a day of rest!

I really want to do this, so feel free to shout at me every now and then!

Update

November 6th, 2009 by skippy13

I haven’t updated my blog recently as to be honest not a lot is happening on the BR front.  I’m struggling with my IPA payments at the moment but I’ve only got 8 more to do so the end is in site.

I did get accepted for a Vanquis credit card a couple of months ago.  It was scary to use a card again, but it felt good when the balance was cleared in full!  It has an interest rate of 34.9% apr, but as I’m paying in full each month it doesn’t matter.  Hopefully it’ll help my credit rating in the long term, which is all I really wanted it for.

Thanks to everyone who has left me comments on my blog, and especially those who were so lovely when my mum was ill.  I’m sorry I never approved or replied to them, but it was as much as I could do to keep up with the forum.  Mum is much better now, almost back to her old self.

On the subject of blog comments, I’d just like to say thank you to the idiot who has left rude comments on my blog.  It’s given me something to laugh at, and made me realise that my life really isn’t that bad – at least I’ve got more to do than insult other people.

Credit Files

July 10th, 2009 by skippy13

All of my files are up to date now apart from Tesco, and I’ll probably let that drop off my file in it’s own time.

There have been a lot of posts recently about ‘cleaning’ your credit files, so I thought it might help if I posted what I’d done in a bit more detail.

Before you start the clean up you need to get copies of your credit files from the 3 main agencies, Experian, Equifax and Call Credit:

Experian Ltd
Consumer Help Service
PO Box 8000
Nottingham
NG80 7WF
Tel: 0870 241 6212
http://www.experian.co.uk

Equifax
Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140
Bradford
BD1 5US
Tel: 08705 143700
http://www.equifax.co.uk

Callcredit PLC
Consumer Services Team
PO Box 491
Leeds
LS3 1WZ
Tel: 0870 060 1414
http://www.callcredit.co.uk

I found the letter below on another forum, and it definitely works.  The wording is for after bankruptcy, but it wouldn’t be difficult to alter it for after an IVA:

Your address:
XX XXXXXXXX XXX
XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX
XXXX XXX

Data Control Officer
e.g. Next Retail Limited
Desford Road
Enderby
Leicester
LE19 4AT

Dear Sirs Re:

Account Number xxxxxxxxxxx After consultation with both the Information Commissioner and the Credit Reference Agencies, I am writing directly to you to request that you formally update my credit files in accordance with the Data Protection Act. I was declared bankrupt on <Date of your bankruptcy>and subsequently discharged on <Date of Discharge>, and <name of creditor> was included within the Bankruptcy. For your convenience I have attached both my bankruptcy Order and Discharge Notification.

Currently the information that you have recorded against my name with the Credit Reference Agencies is factually incorrect, and despite several written requests to your customer services , as yet your company has failed to correct the entries as required.

It is requested that if you intend to default the account, the default entry must be <Date if your bankruptcy>, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

It is requested that you mark the account in some way as to indicate that it is settled or satisfied, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

If you have sold the debt on, according to the Information Commissioner, you are still liable to ensure that both you and the new holder are aware and that as the originator of the information it is your responsibility to ensure that it is corrected.

The Information Commissioner has indicated that I should allow you 28 calendar days from the date you receive this letter to comply, during this time you are requested either to update the Credit Reference Files correctly (of all three Credit Reference Agencies) or notify me in writing the reasons that you refuse to.

After the 28 days have elapsed the Information Commissioner has requested that I inform them if your company fails to update the records so that they may take any necessary enforcement action against your company.

I have copied the relevant information provided by the Information Commissioner as an attachment to this request.

Yours faithfully

xxxxxx xxxx

Enc:

Bankruptcy Order
Discharge NotificationÂ

Frequently Asked Questions – Bankruptcy

I’ve noticed that an account that was included in my bankruptcy is marked in default later than my bankruptcy. Can I do anything to change it?

Sometimes a lender will not know the exact date you were made bankrupt. This may mean that when the lender registers a default with the credit reference agencies, the date on the default is later than the date on your Bankruptcy Order.

If a particular debt is included in the Statement of Affairs at the time of the bankruptcy, you can ask the lender to change the date of the default to the date on your Bankruptcy Order. To do this, you should write to the lender and ask them to change the default date to the date of the Bankruptcy Order.

Remember to send the lender a copy of your Bankruptcy Order or other documentation which confirms the date you were declared bankrupt.

If the lender refuses to change the date of the default then you can contact us using the enquiry form on our website (http://www.ico.gov.uk). You will need to send us:

a copy of the Bankruptcy Order or document that confirms the date you were made bankrupt;
proof that the debt in question was included in your bankruptcy;
and a copy of the lender’s letter which says it won’t change the date of the default.

What happens to the defaulted accounts on my credit reference file?

After you have been discharged from your bankruptcy you can send proof of your discharge to all the lenders included on your Statement of Affairs.

The lenders whose debts were included in your bankruptcy should then mark the entry on your credit reference file to show that you no longer owe money on that account (perhaps by marking the entry as ‘partially satisfied’ or ‘partially settled’ or in some other way).

Once the lender has changed the information on the entry, if you make any new credit applications the prospective lender will be able to see that you do not owe any more money on that account.

Finally, if you wish, you can ask the credit reference agency to add a statement called a ‘Notice of Correction’ to the default entry. In your statement, you can explain that the entry was included in your bankruptcy which is now discharged.

If the lender refuses to change the date of the default or mark it as satisfied or settled or to indicate in another way that you have fulfilled your obligations to that lender then you can write to us at: Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

To find the address of the data controller (not necessarily the same as customer services) you can search on http://www.ico.gov.uk/ESDWebPages/search.asp

If your creditors don’t or won’t update your files you can report them to the Information Commissioner and he has the power to force them to do this.  Be warned it’s a slow process though!  The website of the ICO is http://www.ico.gov.uk/

IPA

July 10th, 2009 by skippy13

Well I’m a bit late with this, but I thought it was time I let you know that my IPA was reassessed, but only to £161.  Things are a bit tight now as I my salary reduced by £79, but my IPA was only reduced by £25 but we’re managing.

My partner was paying more into the housekeeping that I was, but luckily our mortgage has gone down a little (a new fixed rate) so we’re now back to paying half each which makes me feel better – he’s self employed and his salary varies a lot each month.