There are very few people in the world who have a perfect credit history, and a few blips on your record are expected in the course of normal life. A few late payments, or accidentally exceeding the limit on your credit card are mere oversights or hiccups, and not likely to land you in any big trouble, providing you correct the mistake.
There are some credit mishaps however, that can stick with you, and certain types of black mark on your file can cause lasting damage and should be avoided where possible. One such mark is a CCJ, otherwise known as a County Court Judgement. Below is some information on CCJs, and how best to deal with them to avoid a big drop in your credit score.
What is a CCJ?
A CCJ, or County Court Judgement is a court order that is issued against you by a creditor. If you fail to pay a debt or reach a repayment agreement despite numerous reminders and collection attempts from those you owe money to, then you can be subject to a County Court Claim, or as it used to be known, a Summons. Should the claim go through the court successfully, as is usually the case, you will have a mark on your credit file for 6 years from the date it is heard in court, and you will be issued with repayment terms.
How can I avoid a CCJ?
You will always have forewarning that you are going to be issued with a CCJ. This is usually the last port of call for creditors if you haven’t responded to earlier letters, or haven’t managed to come to an arrangement of repayment with them. The last letter before you receive a claim form will be a default notice, notifying you of your creditors intent to go through court to retrieve their money. At this point, if not before, you must contact your creditor to see if an arrangement can be made without the involvement of the court. You might save yourself court fees this way, and you will also be able to negotiate more.
What do I do if I’ve already been issued a claim form?
The claim form from the court is your chance to put in an offer of repayment that you can afford. The court reserves the right to accept or reject this offer, and put in their own terms if they see fit. From this point on you will receive a CCJ whether your offer is accepted or denied, and the only way to avoid this is to pay the full balance of the debt within 30 days of the CCJ being issued.
If you are unsure whether you have any CCJs on your file, or have paid off a debt in full within the 30-day period and want to check it’s been erased from your record, you can run a credit check online. Be careful to ensure you are using a reputable service to avoid being ripped off by a credit cleaner scam. If you have any queries on your report and CCJs that are held against your name, you can then find the details of the issuing court and query it with them.
Bill Turner is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. He spends a lot of his free time marathon training along the beach front and enjoys travelling to mountain-packed countries to hike.