Monday, December 03, 2012

Waiting For The Bailiffs

It’s the knock at the door we all fear.

That and the Jehovah Witnesses.

The three men in three quarter-length coats and porkpie hats come to help themselves to whatever they fancy of your stuff with the government’s full permission in recompense for an unpaid debt.

My wife and I have received 2 warning letters now. The last one was a red one. Unpaid traffic fines. Just under £500. What’s that in Guy Ritchie-speak? A monkey? 5 ton? Whatever, if they gain access to the house that’s the TV and X-Box gone. Or maybe they’ll be kind and just take our sofa?

I live in fear for my Lego collection. They can take my kids but my mid eighties classic space collection is definitely off limits.

I wouldn’t mind but the debt isn’t even ours.

A previous occupant of our house – please bear in mind that my wife have been living here since 2003 and have a mortgage and everything – has been running up some mid-range debtage and not updating her address with the creditors involved. Normally when we receive post for this ex-inhabitant I sling it back into the post with “return to sender (address unknown, no such number, no such zone)” scrawled all over it. Occasionally, when a particular company has been particularly persistent, I have opened the mail, read it and written a reply along the lines of: “Carrie doesn’t live here anymore, Carrie used to room on the second floor, I’m sorry but she left no forwarding address that is known to me...” but best of luck tracking down the dirty little welcher anyway.

We haven’t received anything for “our Carrie” for a while now. Until a letter last week from a company that shall remain nameless chasing down £450+ in unpaid traffic fines, that is. We had 2 weeks to cough up or the bailiffs would have leave to unburden my household of some choice goods and chattels to the aforesaid value aforementioned – they kindly pointed out that we didn’t need to be present for due process to take its course. A polite threat if ever I read one.

I rang them up. Annoyingly the automated message-bot tried its best to chicane me to its automated payment department and I had to cling on for dear life just to speak to a flesh and (cold) blood operator. “Oh yes,” they intoned, “You’re ringing about debt reference blah blah blah, aren’t you? Is that correct?”

I told them it was half correct. And then pointed out that their debtee was unknown to me and hadn’t lived in my house since 2002 at the earliest as my wife, two kids and mortgage lender would gladly testify if given the opportunity. The operator then deferred to a higher authority and I suffered piped Christmas tunes until she returned, suddenly a little warmer, a little more humane, and explained that her supervisor had given her permission to insert more up-to-date address details on this particular account and we wouldn’t now be bothered again; we could ignore the letter and put it all behind us. How kind.

Except it all left me mystified. They plainly had Carrie’s new address elsewhere in their company; they certainly didn’t ask me for it (I don’t have it anyway; besides which Carrie made me promise not to squeal) so why didn’t they just update their records as a matter of course in the first place? Why chase me for Carrie’s debt, eh? How does that work as an effective business plan?

Hmm.

And then I received the second letter from them – the red one – on Saturday.

The bailiff’s will be donning their lippy and their sling-backs and gearing up for a home visit unless the money is paid ASAP blah-de-blah-de-blah.

So you see, all this being the case it makes me think that, despite phone-lady’s warm assurances, the bailiffs are still coming. It makes me think they think I am actually Carrie - only I’ve had a sex change op in the interim and I’m trying to pull the wool over their eyes with some sick tale of fake domesticity.

Wife and two kids? Yeah right. Mortgage? A bloody fairy story.

They’re coming for my PlayStation! They’re coming for my set-top box with series 2 of Fresh Meat indelibly ensconced within its electronic innards! They’re coming for my wife’s Kindle Fire HD still unopened in the box (it’s OK, she already knows, it’s not a surprise).

Well, they’re not touching anything of mine! Not without a fight.

I’m defending my kid’s (and my) Christmas presents here! If I have to ventilate the lot of them then that’s precisely what I’ll do. And if a few Jehovah’s Witnesses get taken down in the confusion, well, just consider it a seasonal bonus from me to you.

A Christmas gratuity.

A yuletide freebie.

Totally debt free...

20 comments:

Readily A Parent said...

That is kind of scary. I mean, what if they do actually show up at your door.
I've been getting the same here. And it's bloody embrassing taking the mail out of the mailbox when others are watching with the big "Pay Now" notices written on the envelopes.
I don't know where the beggers have gone, but if they find them I hope they also get back the window screens they took.
One of them owes $5000 to the cable company. Really, you'd think after the second unpaid bill they would've cut her off...

Steve said...

Readily A Parent: if they want to show up here and help themselves I'll have the cops, the family lawyer and the press down so hard on their arses they won't even feel my court order for compensation being shoved up their sphincters.

English Rider said...

Is this why you were considering going underground? Fess up now.

Steve said...

English Rider: I did consider it but you can't get broadband in a yurt.

Nota Bene said...

Yikes...these debt collection agencies are vermin...I'm sure you have it all under control, but working as I do in Bermondsey, if you need anyone with the surname Kray to give you a hand, just let me know...

Steve said...

Nota Bene: great idea. These Midland ruffians are bound to be scared off by old but menacing homosexuals in matching suits.

Livi TeePot said...

Eep, that sounds scary.
I had problems with an ex-housemate. She ran up a load of debt while living with me and then I threw her out for not paying rent and bills, she went and left all her details all over the shop with my address. Result: shed loads of letters, phone calls, etc trying to get the money she owed them.
Hope you manage to get it sorted.

Gorilla Bananas said...

What you need is a troupe of crazy-ass baboons to rip the pants off any bailiff who dares to knock on your door. A sign saying "Bailiffs will be debagged" would give them fair warning.

vegemitevix said...

It is bloody scary. But I've actually had the bailiffs turn up at the door and it wasn't even my debt, but someone who'd stayed here previously. Sigh. Lock up your valuables, or at least your PS3.

Steve said...

Livi: I wonder if I could start a business taking these kinds of people out (in the hitman sense)? Nah. Nobody would pay me.

Gorilla Bananas: debagging anybody this close to Christmas can only be a high risk manoeuvre.

Vix: I reckon the most valuable thing I have at the moment is my passport and ID. The bailiffs would have to internet savvy to get that.

libby said...

Don't you hate the people that leave you in this situation? and be careful who you open the door to now.....

Steve said...

Libby: I'll have to start asking the postman for identification.

The Bike Shed: message received and understood... but I'm trying to keep that a secret.

English Rider said...

Steve, Almost embarrassed to tell you that I do happen to know a couple who built a Yurt as a weekend home, a bit north of here. It's connected to the www.of course.
You can take the couple away from silicon valley, but you can't take silicon valley away from the couple.

Owen said...

Perhaps you recall the information I passed on to you quite some time back about how to make a very effective flame thrower out of a garden spraying device filled with petrol ? It may be time to put it to use...

How ghastly, our "modern" society !

Marginalia said...

I heard about people like you. Claiming that you know nothing. It's all a big mistake, it's someone else.

Yes and I bet you shop on Amazon and have an Android phone and spend hours in Starbucks.

George Osborne knows your address and he'll be around.

Keith said...

That is worrying to say the least. If you need an army to defend your castle, just call.

I have similar, though less scary. the previous owner of my house was a little old lady with 3 scottie dogs. And it is as much as I can do to convince my snail mail that I don't yet need a stairlift, a Saga holiday , incontinence pads or elderly discount insurance.

All very annoying, especially the stonking insurance rates I CAN'T have for another 20 years.

Steve said...

English Rider: that actually gives me hope that one day I might embrace the "hippy lifestyle with benefits".

Owen: I do indeed. I may have to dig it out and do a bit of specialist online shopping.

Marginalia: you don't fool me with that fake blogging persona, George.

Keith: but one day you might grow into the incontinence pads and the stairlift...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I phone up these debt companies who are chasing our former tenants all the time to correct them and make it clear to them that they cannot lawfully enter a house which is no longer inhabited by those they seek.

Löst Jimmy said...

Have you fended off the Officers of the Court?
Did they look burly like in those dreadful reality TV shows?
Hope you had a quick end to this unfortunate event, and told them to piss off - in legal terms of course!

Steve said...

Laura: if they turn up can I quote you?

Löst Jimmy: no show as yet. I think the sentry guns are putting them off.