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Judge’s debt enforcement ruling condones Identity Theft

January 27, 2013

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The BBC report that the OFT has issued guidelines to lenders and borrowers about when their loans and other credit may, and may not be enforced. The guidelines come in the wake of OFT fears that some debtors may be misled into their ability to have debts written off.

The OFT draft guidance focuses on rules laid down by the Consumer Credit Act and draws on recent rulings by Judge Waksman at the High Court in Manchester. In his ruling the judge ruled that it was acceptable for lenders to produce reconstituted copies of original loan agreements which contain all the original information, apart from the few exceptions that the law allows (which include the signature, signature box and date of signature for the purposes of providing the borrower with information about their debts when challenged to provide a copy of an alleged debtor’s credit agreement.

The OFT believe some debtors are being misled into believing their credit agreement is unenforceable and can have debts legally written off if certain information is missing from the agreement. Debtors have typically sought to challenge their lenders to meet strict criteria as led out in the Consumer Credit Act. One such clause challenges lender to produce a ‘true copy’ of the loan agreement – ie. one that has been signed by the debtor. It is argued that if a signature, date or terms of credit aren’t present then the agreement could be deemed unlawful.

However, the judge also stated that the agreement should contain the borrower’s name and address at the time of signing, while in the case of an amended agreement the lender should provide copies of both the original and amended agreements.

While the Money Lion doesn’t advocate debt avoidance, it can’t help but feel there is a fatal flaw here in that ownership of debt can surely only be determined by the presence of a signature, otherwise it can only be implied? If a reconstituted credit agreement can be considered legal in absentia of a debtor’s true signature, what safeguards does the average person have in these times of identity theft against any enforcement action where a fraudulent credit agreement exists?

As usual the law will give the benefit of the doubt to the lender, leaving innocent peoples’ financial affairs in tatters and that’s wrong. the Money Lion wonders if the Judge and Office of Fair Trading have thought of the implications of giving Identity theft a green light?

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  • http://www.unfaircreditagreements.info Steven J Kosin

    Does any person know anything extra about unfair credit agreements? The papers in the UK are carrying many adverts for these and they reckon they are better than IVA’s. Surely a big company like Capital One would not allow for any documents to not be legal?

  • http://www.fishoilfaq.com Bradley Thomson

    Identity Theft is so rampant these days because it is quite easy to harvest information from someone else.-’,

  • http://www.pinewardrobefurniture.com Edward Young

    identity theft is very common on the internet so be careful about phising sites’~’