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A question of money: RIpped-off by credit card debt clearance firm

Question: I paid several hundred pounds to a company that told me it could clear my old credit card debts, as these are legally unenforceable. I’m worried I’ve been ripped-off.

Answer: You probably have been. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment issued a warning in December about this scam.

It warned that people were phoning round, cold calling, offering to wipe out old credit card debts in return for an advance fee of £1,000.

Without knowing the detail of your credit card contracts it is not in a position to know whether your debt is legally collectable.

There is an ongoing legal question of whether credit card companies can collect old debts if they no longer have a copy of the contract with their customers.

But it is unlikely that the debt can be written-off unless there are clear grounds for believing that there is an error in the way the debt was calculated; that the person billed is actually liable for the debt; or that the bill is for a service, such as payment protection insurance, that was mis-sold.

If you paid the fee to the caller by credit card or by Visa debit card you should request a chargeback to then have the payment cancelled and your account refunded.

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