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17 January 2020Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

On 19 November 2019, Stephen Cowan presented a CPD webinar with The Sheriffs Office on the topic of cross-border enforcement between England & Wales and Scotland.

18 December 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

MMP Financial, trading as "My Money Partner" and "Swift Sterling", has gone into administration. Both businesses offered loans of up to £1,500 over periods ranging from two to seven months, with the entire process being completed online. "Piggybank" another short term lender, collapsed 24 hours prior to MMP Financial’s administration, leaving their 45,000 customers in a state of financial uncertainty. Piggybank offered loans of up to £1,000 to new customers for up to five months. Interest due on the borrowing would typically equate to an annual percentage rate (APR) of between 1,255% and 1,698%. In addition, in 2019 Wonga and Instant Cash Loans also collapsed.

04 December 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

The Times has reported that some of Britain’s largest retail stores are plunging shoppers into record levels of debt. The paper accuses the stores of allowing many shoppers easy access to credit facilities which charge up to 30% of interest on outstanding balances.

18 November 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

Citizens Advice Scotland have reported that debtors with combined arrears of £6.4 million of council tax debt problems have approached them. This represents arrears for 2018/19 with the level of individual indebtedness averaging £1,900 out of a total of 3,999 people seeking advice.

11 November 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

A Scottish Trust Deed is similar to bankruptcy but perhaps without all the bells and whistles. Once the debtor enters into a Protected Trust Deed (PTD) he is committed to an agreed payment schedule. Ultimately, creditors will receive a small percentage dividend although this can often be lower than what they will receive if the debtor had been made bankrupt.

15 October 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

A Russian utility company has come up with a novel way to ensure it gets paid on time. Essentially, they dump a pyramid, weighing no less than three tonnes, on your front lawn with a variety of messages.

15 October 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

The case of Sell Your Car With Us Ltd v Sareen, decided in the English High Court in 2019, is a timely reminder that insolvency proceedings can be used as a form of debt collection, even although some judges frown upon the practice.

25 September 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

Charles Dickens is a British institution. His serial writings had a significant impact on the social consciences of the day, often highlighting the poverty and other hardships which existed in the early part of the 19th century. This may be hardly surprising as his books often drew from his own personal experiences. Born in 1812, his father, John Dickens, was a clerk in the Royal Navy. Aged only 12, the young Charles was sent out to work at a boot-blacking factory after his father had been imprisoned in Marshalsea debtors’ prison as a result of a £40.00 debt which he had failed to repay. This real life experience was fictionalised in the book, “Little Dorrit”.

22 July 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

You couldn’t successfully argue that Nicholas Wilson wasn’t persistent. That’s because he spent 16 years on a crusade to establish that HFC Bank and John Lewis Financial Services had overcharged thousands of people on debt payments. Both lenders are now part of HSBC.

19 July 2019Written by Stephen Cowan Category: Blog

English local authorities have been criticised for their overzealous debt recovery practices. In an article in July’s edition of “Local Gov”, the extent of the problem was highlighted, with council tax arrears accounting for no less than a third of debt issues which Citizens Advice deals with. This is a staggering figure, particularly when one considers that it exceeds credit card debt problems by 8%.


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