In some instances a CCJ is incorrectly registered but once they have been they are not only detrimental to your credit and reputation but they can be expensive and time consuming to remove.
The best strategy is prevention rather than cure – so we’ve come up with five different ways that can stop CCJs from being issued. If you’re unlucky enough to already have a CCJ registered against them or their business then we’ve got another four ways you can deal with them too.
Five Ways of Avoiding CCJs
There’s two separate and distinct times to act. One is prior to having a CCJ registered, when you’ll receive an application. This is your one and only early warning and a chance to deal with the issue at this stage.
- Pay in full
If you have the means and you decide to pay off your debt in full then you don’t need to worry about sending anything back.
Settling the debt before the one-month deadline means you won’t need to go to court and the CCJ will not be entered against you. Make sure you get confirmation that the payment has been received and make sure that there are no mistakes in the paperwork or incorrect registering of a judgement.
- Suggest a different payment plan
Could you pay the outstanding amount in full but at a later date? Coud you pay it but only in installements?
There is an admission form that accompanies the CCJ that allows you to suggest an alternative payment arrangement better suited to your circumstances.
Warning – even if your suggestion is accepted, a CCJ will still be recorded against you or your business and will remain on your record for six years after it has been paid off.
- You can dispute the amount owed
If you believe that you owe a different amount to the one stated then you can use the admission form to challenge the demand.
You can state what you believe is the correct amount but it has to be accompanied by a payment solution specifying what you can pay and by when.
The court will then decide which party is accurate and decide what the amount is. If they side with the original claimant or you agree to part liability then a CCJ will be issued against you for the amount the court see fit.
This will remain on credit file for six years and unless paid in full could see further action taken against you.
- You can dispute all of the CCJ deb.
You might feel that you don’t owe any money at all.
If that’s the case then you can dispute the claim its entirety. There is a Defence Form included in the court documentation that you can fill in and return.
Again, the court will reassess the claims and decide who is correct. As part of this process you’ll be required to either attend court or put in your defence at a hearing. If the court sides with the original claimant then a CCJ will be recorded.
- You can make a counter-claim
When you receive a CCJ, you might think that actually it’s you that’s owed money from the claimant, not the other way around.
An example of this kind of situation could be if you employ a builder to build an extension for your home. If for some reason they try to sue you for non-payment, you could counter-sue them if you think that they’ve breached a contract.
The court will decide who owes what and, if necessary, issue a CCJ. In order to make a counter-claim, fill in the counter-claim form included in the documentation.
Four Ways of Dealing with a CCJ (once registered)
- Repay it in full
Once a CCJ has been granted against you, if you settle it in full plus any of the other side’s court costs within 28 days, then it will be removed from your credit file.
- Reach Agreement to pay over time
If the claimant allows, you can repay CCJs over a period of time. However, the CCJs will remain on your credit file until six years after you’ve made your final payment.
- Apply to have CCJs set aside
If you feel that a CCJ should not have been made against you, you can apply to have this set aside.
At the time of writing this blog (February 2015), there’s a court filing cost of £155 that you will need to pay the court. Sadly, this is non negotiable regardless of the merits of your case. If you want to apply to set aside any CCJs, complete this form and send it along with the appropriate payment to the issuing court.
- Deal with all your debts in one go
In many cases, when businesses or individuals have CCJs registered against them it’s a symptom of a larger debt problem.
If this sounds like the situation facing you or your business then we might be able to help. Get in touch with us to arrange a free initial consultation.