Question

Hi, and I hope you can help.

In 2015 I worked in Dubai, moving there from England. I had a job offer, it paid well, and I was excited about the change.

I worked in Dubai until 2019, then one day my employer said my services were no longer needed, and I was out of a job. I tried to find work, but nothing was available. I also defaulted on a car loan and a credit card.

A friend told me that in Dubai defaulting on a loan could get you tossed in jail. In speaking to the bank I owed, they would not give me time to find work, they wanted payment in full, and threatened to have me arrested and jailed. So I left the country and came back here to the UK.

Now 2 years later I get an email from a law firm here in the UK stating they are collecting the accounts I owed back in Dubai.

Can they do that? They are threatening to make me bankrupt.

What are my options?

Robert

Answer

Robert,

Not that it makes you feel any better, but you are not alone in the set of circumstances. Many UK Citizens return home with debts in other countries, and are being chased for those debts.

In some terms and conditions for a loan or account, there is a “non-jurisdiction” clause. This means the account can be collected outside of where it originated. In your case, a debt in Dubai, can be collected here in the UK, if the account is assigned or sold to an agency here in the UK.

So yes, they can collect the debt(s), and use all the collection tools at their disposal to collect the debt, and one of those tools is to make you bankrupt, if you owe £5,000 or more.

While the debts can be collected here in the UK, they must be collected in accord with the rules and laws here in the UK. This also gives you all the debt management and insolvency options we have in the UK to deal with the debts.

If you have no property or major assets, making you bankrupt will get the collection or law firm nothing. So they may not know if you have property or not, and could just be using the threat of bankruptcy as just that, a threat.

If you do own property, then you may want to look at other options, such as debt management plan or even an IVA.

How much in total do you owe?

Do you have any debts/accounts here in the UK or elsewhere?

Are you working, and can you afford to pay anything towards the accounts?

If you get back with me, we can look closer at this and what is your best course of action.

Regards,

Jon

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