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?
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...