So, you’ve missed some payments and received a CCJ. Yikes.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those situations where you wait for it all to blow over. Getting a CCJ (a county court judgement) can cause big problems. Without some steps to make it right, it can hang over you for a long time. This can make it harder to rent or buy a house or get car finance, and make it more complicated to do simple things like paying energy bills or getting a mobile phone contact.
Often CCJs can happen because of a mistake or misunderstanding. Or, on other occasions, there may be a good reason for being unable or unwilling to pay what you owe. The good news is that if you are proactive and to make some effort to sort things out, much of the damage won’t be too long-lasting.
What is a County Court Judgement?
A county court judgement (known as a CCJ) is a legal judgement by a court requiring you to repay a debt that you owe.
If you owe a person or company money for an unpaid bill or other debt, they can ask a court to issue a CCJ ordering you to pay back the money. The court will consider evidence that the debt is legitimate. If they decide that the debt is legitimate, they will issue a CCJ. The judgement will state how much you owe, and instruct you to pay it.
You and the organisation you owe money to will need to agree how much you owe. Or, if there is a dispute over this, the amount will be set by the Court.
What to do if you receive a County Court Judgement
It’s not unusual for a CCJ to come completely out of the blue. This can happen for all sorts of reasons. You might have moved house, and missed previous letters asking you to repay. In some cases, you might have already paid the money back and the court just hasn’t been notified yet. In some cases, you might not even be aware of the debt that you owe, due to fraud.
According to the independent debt charity StepChange, you have three options:
- Pay the CCJ as the court has ordered.
- Apply to change the payment terms if you can‘t afford them.
- Apply to have the CCJ cancelled or ‘set aside’ if it should not have happened.
You can learn more about what each of these options mean on StepChange’s website
What to do if you do owe the money
If you owe the amount in the CCJ, you will need to settle it as soon as you can. The CCJ will stay on your credit file until it is marked as ‘satisfied’. This can cause all kinds of issues when applying for credit, taking out a mobile phone contract or buying a car.
If you can’t afford to pay it in one go, you can contact your creditor to arrange a repayment plan. This is nobody’s idea of a fun conversation. But it is a much better option all round than having it hang over you.
What to do if you believe you don’t owe the money being demanded
Sometimes, you may have already paid the amount being demanded. Even if you are sure you are in the right, it is worth getting things cleared up.
To do this, you’ll need to:
- Contact the company who raised the claim against you, asking them to provide a ‘Letter of Satisfaction’. This confirms that you have repaid the money you owe, or that they have cancelled the debt. When you receive the letter, you will want to keep a copy of it somewhere safe. You may need to refer to it in future.
- Then, contact the court to request a ‘Certificate of Satisfaction’. This certifies that the debt is repaid, and that the CCJ is no longer outstanding. The court charges £15 for this. It’s worth the money, because it provides legal proof that you are in the clear and that the matter is resolved.
How to obtain a certificate of satisfaction
How we handle CCJs
Life can be complicated. Having CCJs in the past doesn’t mean we will reject your loan application . However, we will ask for details about the CCJ, including why it was issued. You will also need to have satisfied the CCJ we can consider your application.
Your application may flag up a CCJ issued against you that you weren’t even aware of. If this happens, we will try to let you know as much as we can. We should be able to tell you much it is for, and who you owe it to, so that you can sort it out.