When did writing off your debt become acceptable?

Our approach to the recession, so far, has been denial – hoping and praying the problem would go away all on it’s own.  Unfortunately, not.  So now, we are months into the situation and finally accepting it’s here to stay – at least for a while.  Despite this, what is now being questioned, is not our level of acceptance to it, but our approach and the responsibility we are willing to accept towards our own debt.

Over 100,000 debtors plan to take advantage of a loophole in credit card agreements from the 1974 CCA Act.  Aiming to have their slates wiped clean, without having to pay back a penny.  Working with claims companies who believe they can manipulate the Act which was originally worded to stop lenders exploiting as they put it, “unsophisticated borrowers”, it seems now, the tables are about to turn.  A case already won last year, via this very logic, found one couple winning the right to wipe away £65,000 of debt…and now, everyone wants a slice of the cake.

Marc Gander of the Consumer Action Group explained to the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8037983.stm that if your agreement is under the 1974 CCA Act, you can “write to the lender under the CCA and ask for a “true copy” of the loan agreement, if they are unable to supply it in the required time, then it becomes an unenforceable agreement.”

For people so far in debt, they see no way out, many consider this the quick fix they’ve been looking for.  If you’re one of these people, I’m sorry to say, you’re wrong.
My father always told me, in life, nothing is worth its’ value if you haven’t earned it.  Freedom from debt, applies the same way.

Acknowledging and facing up to your debt takes great courage and shows a certain level of respect for yourself and those you owe money too.  Working hard over a period of years to pay off the debt, and re-educate yourself in what I call intelligent money management, is not an easy task but one which offers rewards money can’t buy.  This whole process isn’t a punishment, but in essence, for some, a rite of passage which enables them to evolve a better and wiser person than before; more equipped to create a financially stable future for themselves and those they care about in the future.

With so much demand for unenforceable cases to be considered, the High Courts have put the breaks on, and instead decided to, at their own pace, run a few test cases before giving this “loophole” enough string to hang the lenders heads on.  With this in mind, I raise the debate that, with so many people hoping to get their debts written off through unenforceable claims, where exactly have our morals have gone?  Does accountability count for nothing or did some debtors never intend to pay the money back anyway?

I’ve always made it very clear that I understand the weight of stress and strain anyone in debt may feel; but to try and wash it all away as if it never happened, is something I feel needs to be questioned.  It’s a question of ethics, conscience and personal responsibility – accountability for your actions; respect for those you bought off, and those who in turn, trusted you to pay what was and still is, due.

If you loan someone money, and they don’t pay you back, wouldn’t you feel they were acting dis-honourably?  Even if they said they had found a loophole in your agreement – wouldn’t you feel cheated if they refused to pay you back?  Particularly if it was money lent in good will?  Of course you would – and rightly so!  Why then, I ask, do we feel it’s acceptable to do the same to companies who have loaned us money or credit on the understanding?  Are we no longer good for our word? Is that the value people place on their own name worth nothing if it means getting something for free?

I know for most, this is not the case, but for some, it sadly is.  Help me champion this message and set an example of how debt can be conquered in a much more honourable, deserving and honest way.

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