Question

Hi Jon and hope you can help.

I left South Africa 2 years ago and left about 12,000 rand in various accounts unpaid. The banks there are contacting me and making threats and trying to collect the accounts. I am now living in the UK and am worried as to what the banks can do to me here in the UK.

Can the SA banks make me bankrupt in the UK? I do not own any property, but my partner here does own her home.

Do the SA banks have any real power to collect an account in the UK?

Hoping you can help.

Marcus

Answer

Marcus,

It can be unsettling having banks from other countries contacting you and making threats after you have moved away. A lender in South Africa has no authority to collect a debt in the UK. In addition, if my currency exchange rate is accurate, 12,000 rand (ZAR) equates to almost £600 GBP. In order for someone to make you bankrupt in the UK, you need to owe them £5,000.

A few points to be made:

Do you owe any other debts anywhere in the world or UK?

Can you afford to set-up a repayment plan on the account(s)?

Your partner’s property is her’s and would not be an issue in collecting your debts, unless you paid the deposit, or contributing to the property in a major way causing you to have a beneficial interest.

My thoughts are that for the amount you owe, the accounts would not be assigned to an agency here in the UK to be collected. My advice would be if you can afford to set-up a payment plan, do so and pay the accounts.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Jon

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