Since Lockdown 1, we have seen some creditors take a more realistic approach with respect to their demands and debt collection appetite.

In our e-mail today, we used the old adage ‘cash is king’. This is definitely the case, as things are not going to get better any time soon.

Cases and actions to support this claim are shown in the following settlements achieved by Bell & Company in the past few months.

Statutory Demand (UK loan sale case)

  • £500,000 J&S Personal Guarantee issued at end of 2019,
  • Bell & Company worked with Counsel with an Application to Set Aside,
  • This was then listed, with the Court requiring better particulars, in terms of the Creditor’s Claim,
  • This was a Joint and Several Personal Guarantee – with assets of a value c£100,000 still to be realised,
  • So, with no Court date, a strong Defence filed, and multiple hearings required going forward etc – we quite quickly settled on a Full and Final basis of £200,000 and our client retained the assets in question.

Personal Guarantee called upon

  • Litigation started in 2019 for €600,000,
  • We were appointed alongside our client’s solicitors and Counsel,
  • Our argument and Defence Served, whilst not ‘water-tight’ were enough to continue negotiation on a Without Prejudice basis,
  • As the case developed, we found some more issues and relayed these to the other side, and
  • The stark choice they faced with the current situation lead to the following ‘take it or leave’ option, namely:
  • €80,0000 full and final offer, or
  • We deposit the funds with our solicitors to defend the action, and
  • Then see you in Court in three years’ time.

Full and final settlement achieved at €110,000.

County Court Summons Lead to a Judgment in Default

  • Our client missed a deadline required after the creditor issued a County Court Summons,
  • Judgment in Default granted for £72,000+ on a Peer-to-Peer loan and Personal Guarantee given thereon,
  • The Judgment was pursued and then Bell & Company became involved,
  • Heated discussions ensued including the option of Setting Aside the Judgement,
  • We are not Solicitors nor purport to be, but technically know our way through and around all aspects of debt and Insolvency, and
  • Long story short – settled full and final basis and renewal of Judgment at £28,000 on a Full and Final basis.

The Courts are now effectively closed – process here would have taken 18+ months to sort for the Creditor.

Client cannot afford to maintain her FRI Lease – Gym franchise failed

  • The landlord issued a Statutory Demand,
  • £81,000 + costs sought on a Guarantee given by another associate, asset-rich company, and
  • Technicals of the case:
  • Statutory Demand issued pre-COVID Statute,
  • Bell & Company found some weaknesses in the Guarantee, which would not have necessarily won the case, but acted as a ‘stalling’ tactic, and
  • Whilst not having £81,000+ available, some personal funds were to hand.

The Landlord’s desire for cash and the legal battle that would have ensued, with rising costs and Covid-19 induced delays, saw Bell & Company achieve a Full and Final settlement at £25,000 here.

Trustee in Bankruptcy – Home and Business Saved

  • Bell & Company were appointed when a Trustee looked to sell our client’s home and business. They demanded £220,000 to settle which then rose to c£270,000,
  • Bell & Company revalued the assets and made a fully substantiated offer of £125,000,
  • This was initially ‘laughed at’ by our rather rude and unprofessional opponents,
  • We stepped up our action and started asking awkward questions, not least about of client’s wife’s position and rights,
  • This would have required Court action all round. Then COVID-19 came along, and
  • The case was agreed and then settled at £125,000.

Key features in the above cases:

  • All clients were asset rich v the debt level.
  • Our involvement in the legal advice process brought more focus to the cases in questions. Solicitors do not always like or appreciate this input, but it is vital to consider any economic factor in a case.
  • COVID-19 has to all intents and purposes blocked the Court process for a while.
  • We, the legal teams and Counsel we work with directly, were adamant on the legal routes here being the best way forward and the only alternative if offers made were not entertained.

Sounds simple, yes if you really know what you are doing – thus our very existence!

This legal quagmire, which we believe will last until very early 2021, give the client in debt an opportunity.

Things are not going to get better here and whenever the recovery does come and in whatever form, what shape will the recovery take?

V, U, W, K OR SWOOSH??

As ever though it’s the same message…if you know of anyone struggling here, urgency is key and get rid of the real scourge of DEBT problems…the unknown!

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Bell & Company is not allied to any financial institutions, agencies or outside bodies. This is one of our greatest strengths. It means that, unlike others, we are able to provide impartial advice that is in each client’s best interest and to operate scrupulously on their behalf, free of outside interference.

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