Dealing with the debt collector

It’s because it’s personal it’s getting under my skin.  I’ve had letters from a debt collector before, wrongly address to our home, but this is our debt and they obviously want their money back.

Background.  I have many postings on the dreaded Legal Aid applications.  It was a nightmare completing the forms during a nightmare time.  We were honest and declared everything we could think of, we were naive I now discover.  Eventually Legal Aid was granted a matter of months before Mike’s court appearance and we were jointly assessed as having the ability to pay nearly £10,000.00 for the privilege of a barrister recommending he plead guilty to everything.  Oh, that came as a shock.  Mike was in a mental position to disagree with just one charge, which was dropped, the rest he confessed to, even though the amount was inaccurate and grossly inflated.  The advice was that no jury would have sympathy given his significant salary.  We had thought a jury might question why he was the only person in the whole company who did not receive bonus payments for the last 8 years of employment.  Anyway, it was over and done with.

Before Mike even went to prison, before he had even been sentenced, the Legal Services Commission had sold our debt to Rossendales, a debt collection agency – you can read about them on the web, they have many commentators.  We started to receive letters demanding payment, although we had pointed out our bank accounts were still frozen and we had no means to pay.  They chased until Mike was sentenced, then there was a lull for 13 months.

Now he’s been out for two months and obviously loaded – they are hungry for their money.  This is what happens, this is the reality of crime.  Mike repaid every penny of what he was accused of stealing, well, we do not know the actual figures he repaid because we were not privy to the amounts the investments had accumulated, but the pots of money were all returned.  He served a prison sentence, he is currently “out on licence” meaning he is subject to a curfew until February 2013.  He has a criminal record and no job.  I earn above – just – minimum wage, so we have no help from the state (rest easy there) I provide the food and shelter.  He has no bank account and no money to put into one anyway. He is trying to find work and is hopeful his situation will change in the New Year.

And now Rossendales have taken to calling every morning, in the latest call advising they would phone every day until the debt is paid.  How helpful.  Rest easy, we have now written advising them to cease and desist.  We wish to enter into a payment plan, but this needs their agreement.  But what a situation to be in.  For us, we are educated, we can research and discover that we should not be bullied and as a registered collections agency they have a code of conduct to comply with.  We wish to pay our debt, but threats of a legal charge being put on my home really doesn’t help the matter.  What villains they are but more depressing is the fact that the Legal Services Commission can sell such a debt on.

My feelings after watching “Everyday” a film by Michael Winterbottom

Yes, Julie, I did watch it…… grizzling at first at the reminder of the red bibs and having to sit on a set chair, this is what I thought:

 

I don’t quite know what I felt about “Everyday”.  It was a raw subject, different to mine in that I have no children and my husband was only a 40 minute car journey away.   So in comparison I was lucky.  But the loneliness was mutual.  Having to carry on your life on your own, having to pick up the pieces left behind once the legal proceedings are over and done with, the vacuum you live in whilst your other half is away.

The film was nothing more than a study of waiting.  There were no major dramas that go along with having a husband (and I specify husband, because they are usually the breadwinner) inside.  Yes, “the wife” had a pub job to either make ends meet or to deal with the boredom, but other families suffer the loss of the breadwinner more deeply.  Christmases seemed to come and go without the anxieties of debt piling up, the children got older and their dad missed them daily growing up.  But there is so much more to being the wife of a prisoner, and I appreciate that’s not what Michael Winterbottom wanted to focus on.

As a study of the lonely mundane life of the wife of a serving prisoner, the film worked well.  But we know that is only part of the journey – serving the sentence is the middle, going in and coming out are traumatic challenges in their own right, the sentence does not end on release.

Whether you would have the patience to watch to the end having no first hand experience is another question.  Towards the end, I too got bored as I did in real life.

Everyday – Channel 4 tonight at 9pm

Will I be brave enough to watch “Everyday”, the Michael Winterbottom film that follows the life of a prisoner’s family over five years as they stay in contact with their family member in prison?  It’ being screened tonight on Channel Four at 9pm.  I’m going to try, there will be tears I know, but its something I think I should watch.