Serious one, I’m afraid

Sorry to bore you all on a Sunday but this one’s slightly lengthy. It’s something that’s been doing my nut for weeks and it’s to do with someone who used to post on here. Apparently legal things are going on, but I want to detail everything and do so publically as I’ve got nowt to hide. Which is why it mystifies me that there are legal things.

No names changed to protect the innocent / guilty, although I (obviously) will not give out contact details and I’m avoiding surnames etc. I just want to get the facts out, not cause any backlash. What I’m seeking here is a chance to set my facts straight and (possibly) get any advice from you lot. I have no idea if she still reads this blog, but as I’m posting nothing but fact (and, admittedly, some of my opinions of what’s gone on) I don’t really care. There is nothing here to hide.

Brief back story:

I used to be friends with a girl called Elly. She has posted on this blog before, but basically went mental a few months ago after I posted another of my semi-regular anti-speed camera articles, sending me a mail saying she wanted me out of her life entirely and I wasn’t to contact her again.

Basically, we’d gotten a little closer than friends should, only I didn’t want to (or couldn’t) take it any further. I tried to keep things friendly, backed off and Elly said just to talk to her if I wanted / needed to. All I can assume is that because I didn’t feel the need to contact her directly for a while, she decided to end the "friendship" forthwith and in dramatic style.

Fair enough, and her prerogative. Only I’d loaned her £150 on the 9th of June 2004 and thought it fair to ask for it back. Over an exchange of emails/MSN/text messages she basically said that the only way she would pay me back the money would be if I gave her my bank details and she’d pay it in directly (this is how I paid the cash into her account in the first place).

I don’t want to sound paranoid – and people who know me know that I do a vast amount of my shopping online where I dish out my credit card details willy nilly – but I’ve been stung before with someone getting my bank details online. It was my old NatWest account – which I’ve since closed – and I’m not risking it happening again. It’s nothing personal against Elly, just a rule I’ve set myself. Bank details only ever go onto Direct Debit forms and the like.

So, I asked if she could send me a cheque. I was told that wasn’t acceptable. The reasons started with "I don’t trust you to cash it"! Now, why on earth would I want to ask someone for a cheque for £150 and then never cash it? The other reason was that she’s apparently taken out an Egg loan (online banking) to pay me back and as the money was in an electronic account, she had to transfer it electronically to pay me. I was told I had a time limit otherwise she would spend the money on the car. I did query why she couldn’t transfer the cash from Egg to her current account and then send me a cheque, but was told "You paid the cash directly into my account. I want to return it the same way."

Again, the paranoid bit of me woke up screaming. Every time I came up with a method of her paying me, she came up with another reason for me giving her my bank details.

The only thing I could think of – I don’t think this was ever clarified – was that I could get the cheque, wait ages and then cash it once she’d forgotten about it, thus possibly causing her problems if her balance had gone too low. Of course, I know I’d not do that but by this time, I’m evil personified to Elly so of course she doesn’t trust me.

I said I wasn’t giving my bank details out for those very reasons and was told therefore that I’d not receive my cash. I waited a couple of weeks and sent another email asking for the money, and received short shrift in reply.

Message Sent:

Hello? Cheque? Bundle of used fivers in an envelope? Some kind of response to say “you’ll have to wait, I’ve spent it”? Or do I have to write off another wodge of cash I lent in good faith to someone I thought was trustworthy?

Reply:

write me off, your not getting the money now because you refused to give me your bank details… i tried… you wouldnt answer my calls or reply to my texts with the bank account details so your not getting it… leave me alone… dont contact me again… your out of my life

i would rather be deemed untrustworthy by you than give in to your stuborn ways… stay away from me… your not im my life anymore… and u wont be hearing from me again…

True, I didn’t respond to her calls. It was costing me a fortune in text messages (still is) and I’d made it clear I wanted a cheque. It got to a head in December when I wrote a letter to her father. Now, the letter itself (which follows) makes it clear that I’m only writing to him to ensure that the message gets through to her and isn’t just binned without someone else knowing about it. I do mention Small Claims, but have again made it clear that I would much rather avoid this path and wish this to end amicably.

The letter:

Can I first start by apologising about having to send this letter, partially as I expect I’m not the favourite person in the [SURNAME DELETED] household right now and this probably won’t help. Please appreciate that I’m trying to keep this as amicable as possible and just sort one thing out.

I don’t know whether you’re aware, but I loaned Elly a substantial amount of money some months ago. Elly decided recently that for reasons best known to herself, she didn’t want anything to do with me and promptly vanished. She won’t answer emails, texts or phone calls from me. Prior to this (or over the course), she stated that she would only return my money if I gave her my bank details so that she could arrange an electronic transfer.

Again, I apologise, but right now I’m not in a trusting mood with her. Regardless of this fact I quite simply never give those details out to anyone unless it’s a direct debit form, credit check, etc. Instead, I asked for a cheque, but was rebutted twice and given various flimsy excuses as to why it had to be electronic. Frankly, every one of them started to sound more like an excuse to get my details than to return my money, but maybe that’s just me being paranoid.

Anyway, Elly finally replied to one of my mails this weekend stating that I could forget it and just write the money off as I’d had my chance. Well, I’m not prepared to write off such a large sum. While I appreciate Elly isn’t earning a great deal, and I’m happy to wait a short while for the cash, there is simply no way on earth that someone is going to walk off with almost £200 of my cash.

I loaned Elly £150. On top of that, I bought her a £35 ticket for a football match that she refused to use after asking me to get it for her. I would appreciate the money back for that as well, though I feel this will fall on deaf ears. I won’t even get into the wasted cost of the hotel and will just write that off.

As such, I would be grateful if you could tell Elly that if she doesn’t return the money – as a cheque – by the end of January, then I will be forced to lodge an issue with the Small Claims Court. Given that I have emails from Elly and bank records of the money moving about that prove she admits that she owes me the cash, I’m more than sure they will judge the matter in my favour. This will increase the sum Elly owes me by the cost of the court action which is likely to be over £100.

I would much rather this didn’t become the case. I can’t be bothered with the hassle and I appreciate Elly would feel the same way. Again, I apologise for dragging you into this, but I feel fairly certain that if I sent a letter directly to Elly then it would be ignored. She can be quite stubborn (and that’s not an insult – I can be just as bad!) and as I said, I’d rather this didn’t go as far as the courts as that could also affect her credit rating in the future.

Thank you for your time and my apologies for the way things seem to have worked out between your daughter and myself. My best wishes to all of you and I hope we can resolve this rather silly matter amicably. By all means, if yourself or Elly wish to discuss this please feel free to call.

Re-reading it, I think paragraphs 6 and 7 are maybe a little heavy but it’s very clear that I’m only using her dad as a channel for the message, and that I really, genuinely just want my cash and to be on my way.

Anyway, into early January and I’d not heard anything so I thought I best check just to make sure the letter arrived. I didn’t want to start anything with Small Claims only to find that the letter hadn’t been delivered. I decided to call her father at work – don’t ask why, it made some kind of sense at the time. I think, basically, I didn’t want the risk of Elly answering the phone and going off on one. Her dad always struck me as more reasonable.

A quick phone call, a 2 minute conversation. I apologised for ringing his work number and just said I was calling to ensure the letter arrived. He said yes, it had, and I’d know their response by the end of the week. I thanked him, and that was it.

Very shortly afterwards, I get a text from Elly. There now follows a listing of all the texts I’ve had from her in the last 2 weeks or so. I apologise that I can’t give my verbatim replies to all of them (though I know she has them stored herself) because of the way my phone’s “sent mail” folder overwrites stuff after a while. I noted the first three down and I have the most recent. In between, I apologise for any inaccuracies but I’ve tried to get the gist and be as honest as I can, even if my tone/wording may have been ill-advised.


Elly: Stop ringing my father give me your bank details and u will get the money we are all agreed and no small claims court will support ur claim once they find out i have agreed to pay

Me: As I said in the letter, I want a cheque and regard your insistance on bank details as suspicious. You can transfer the cash to your cheque acct electronically then post a cheque as I’ve been asking for weeks. I don’t regard this as unreasonable as the cas was a loan in good faith, which you’ve not shown

Elly: as i said on many occasions i dont trust u with a cheque so give your bank details to my parents as you choose to involve them i will wait untill then

Me: How the hell can you not trust me with a cheque? What on earth can I do with that?!

Elly: ditto to bank details, u can choose not to cash it i want the money and u gone asap,

Me: Why would I get a cheque and not cash it? I need the money. I’ve been defrauded before by someone misusing my bank details and you’re too keen to get them in my opinion. I want you gone as much as you want me gone, believe me.

Elly: great my parents can have your bank details then sorted u know their number

Me: I am not giving out my bank details. It’s not a personal thing, I don’t give them out to anyone

Elly: right i have spoken to my parents and they have said that if u dont wish for them to b a 3rd party then give us your solicitors details and i will pay the money to them that way u cant abuse my cheque and i have a record to prove i have paid, you are not getting a cheque with my details on u dont trust me and i dont trust u so some compromise from u is needed

Me: I don’t have a lawyer and don’t see why one should get involved

Elly: we want a 3rd party involved specially as u have threatened court action, i have to protect myself as do you

Me: (I can’t recall my response)

Elly: because we don’t trust you and u got my parents involved and they agree that i shouldnt hand over my personal details so we wish 3rd party involvement becaue u threatened me simple as that really

Me: (again, can’t recall the response, but it was another option for repayment. Perhaps opening another account for her to transfer to, or her parents sending me a cheque instead)

Elly: its way past that now my parents want solicitors details and to be honest so do i, u where the petty one refusing to let me pay u back in the first place

Me: (I don’t think I actually replied here)

Elly: so your going to get back to my parents with some solicitors details then?

Me: I will sort it, but as you asked for solicitors then you pay the fees involved

Elly: contact my parents via letter and we will not agree to fees

Me: Why not try sending me a postal order? Post Office acts as 3rd party, you get receipts and it’s payable to me only

Elly: all my parents want is details to pay the money to which ur refusing postal order can prove [she sent another message correcting this to "can’t prove"] u got the money so not acceptable form of payment also dont degrade yourself anymore by name calling [I honestly don’t recall the name-calling. By this stage I had, though, thrown my phone across the room in frustration]

Me: So send the POs by registered post. You’ll have a signature that proves I received them

Elly: im not stupid we will have no proof the money end up in your bank as thats where it came from thats where its going end of

Me: [can’t recall again – something about that being unreasonable, probably]

Elly: of course it is i don’t want u threatening me again saying u didnt get it when u did plus my parents want to see it received

Me: I don’t like being branded as untrustworthy as you yourself are proving to be [or words to that effect]

Elly: i have proved no such thing i never wanted u to pay that money in to my account and i have said atleast 2 dozen times im waiting 4 u let me pay it to you

Me: I don’t understand your reasons for not sending me a cheque or a PO

Elly: and i dont understand yours

Me: I have been ripped off by someone else getting my bank details before. I don’t give them to *anyone*

Elly: so we dont have to accept that, if a was going to defraud u or care what u detail are i wouldnt be coming up with other options we just refuse to give in to you when i have done nothing wrong, im not giving u any power over me and a cheque would give the exact bank details ur refusing to give me. i didn’t ask for that money

Me: So use POs instead of a cheque [I think]. And I already have your bank details – how do you think I paid the cash in in the first place?

Elly: which you could hold on to, so no as already said many times

Elly: oh and btw you HAD my bank details

Me: [honestly cannot remember]

Elly: can’t trust you

Me: How about PayPal? No bank details, fully traceable, goes into my bank account

Elly: have to run it past my parents

[the following is a week after the last response and verbatim from my sent message log]

Me: Been another week now. So PayPal?

Elly: i will know by the end of next week what action we are taking against you so hold your horses you will fing out soon enough

Me: Against me? For asking for my money back? Good grief.

Elly: this is nothing to do with the money this is about u threating me and my family

Me: Threatening? Erm, what planet are you on? The only "threat" was of Small Claims, which I made it obvious I want to avoid. Also, that is only you, not family.

Elly: unfortunatly you where the one who involved my parents not only by letter but at dads place of business, when u decide to take me to court let it be known that i have tried to pay you back in various ways and you have refused me the means to do so

Me: The letter clearly stated that I wrote to him to ensure the message got to you. Nothing more. I called him at work to ensure it had got there as I had no reply. You have given *one* option of repayment, not many. I have a valid reason to refuse that method.I however have given several that you have refused.

Elly: look im busy, i said i would have news of action by the end of next week, a record of all text messages show i have given you at least 3 options so goodbye

Me: I count 2 options that involve my bank details that I made it clear I won’t give out. Then you started getting silly and expecting me to pay a lawyer to do it.

I’ve had no further replies.

So… what’s this "action" going to be? Restraining order? They going to sue me for non-existant threats?

Over the course of the text exchanges, it seemed that every time I came up with an option, they/she was just waiting there to shoot it down in flames. The final one, PayPal, is ideal – yet I got no response on it at all. By my count, Elly has given me 2 options involving passing out my bank details (to her and to her parents) and involving a lawyer at my own expense.

I have offered cheque, Postal Orders, Postal Orders with registered post, cash and PayPal. I also agreed to the solicitor thing if they paid, which seems fair given that they are the ones insisting on using them when other options exist. I like the way the reason for refusing a cheque has gone from the ludicrous "you won’t cash it" via "you’ll hold onto it and cash it at an awkward time" to "It has my details on and I don’t trust you with them".

I’ve asked around – including one lawyer who’s a friend so I wouldn’t involve him in any transactions – and it seems I couldn’t ask my lawyer (if I had one) to act as intermediary anyway. He’d be acting on behalf of both parties, therefore a conflict of interest arises.

I attempted to call my financial advisor who’s been of great help to me in the past. His response was… well… initially unprintable but summed up how I felt. Let’s just say he pretty much vocalised all my frustrations and settled for telling me to just let Small Claims settle it for me. He also mentioned opening another account, getting her to pay into that and then closing the account, or talking to my bank to see if there was a way they could get the cash without me dishing my details out, or perhaps using a banker’s draft that wouldn’t have account details on.

As for Elly’s claims of threats etc., the only thing I’ve threatened is Small Claims and I stated that I didn’t want to go down that route. The whole point of SC is to avoid court, lawyers and the related excessive costs. It seems from her most recent responses that – and this is a guess – lawyers are now involved.

Now, feel free to comment but please don’t just hurl insults at either myself or her. Advice, ideas, anything like that would be appreciated. So I sit still and wait for whatever is coming my way at the end of the week? Or do I just fill in the online form and ask Small Claims to deal with it (and yes – I would be mentioning that I’d refused payment by bank transfer for the reasons I already gave).

Again, sorry to bore you all.

27 thoughts on “Serious one, I’m afraid”

  1. Small claims courts are designed to as not to use solicitors, you can represent yourself, if she wants a solicitor involved then this is at her expense – she cannot recover costs for this.

    As you made the loan in England, you are entitled to raise the action in the English small claims courts – if she tells you it has to be in Scotland then it does not.

    Some great information here http://www.compactlaw.co.uk/freeinfo/small_claims/smc.html

  2. Just following links.. ended up here. Suppose I shouldn’t really comment, but…

    Sorry to be dense, but I don’t understand your reluctance to provide your bank details. You give out exactly the same details every time you write a cheque to someone, and I think any small claims court judge would pick up on this, and not look favourably upon your case.

    In your position, to try to move this on, and save myself a lot of hassle, and stand the best chance of getting my money back, I would send a letter, by recorded delivery, to her parents (as you’ve already involved them), giving your bank details (your bank may be able to give you a temporary account number for one transaction to be paid into), and saying that if the money is paid in within 14 days (and give the end date) you will consider the matter settled and will have no reason to make any further contact with either them or their daughter.

    Harrassment legislation in this country is complicated – but, basically, you have

  3. (damn Haloscan character limit!)

    … but, basically, you have no defence if they hit you with it. And I have a horrible suspicion that that is where this might be heading.

    Good luck.

  4. Thank you both for your comments. BW, I’m reluctant to pass on my bank details as I’ve been stung by someone getting them before. You mentioned about cheques having the details on – I very *very* rarely use cheques! In fact, I’m about to send one off today, it’s the first I’ve written in 8 months and it’s going to a bank.

    You’re actually the only person so far who’s said they don’t understand my reluctance. My parents, one lawyer friend, many other friends and my financial advisor have all stated that I’m right – under no circumstances should I give them out.

    As for the harassment thing, I just don’t see the point. After all, surely it’d be cheaper to just pay me the money that go all legal on my ass? I also believe that for a harassment charge to be levied, the police have to get involved, which means them looking at both sides of the story.

    I have thought about the temporary account thing. In fact, I’ve gone as far as starting to set one up. Thing is, they’ve s

  5. *snip*

    I have thought about the temporary account thing. In fact, I’ve gone as far as starting to set one up. Thing is, they’ve sent me a letter letting me know they’ll ring this week to arrange an appointment for me to visit the bank with ID to finalise things. Due to work, the next time I could do this would be a week on Saturday!

    Frankly, I’m befuddled, annoyed and stressed out – but this is most likely what she wants.

  6. Dunno mate. I think the Small Claims court might be the best answer – as your lawyer friend has also recommended this way – and lawyers ought to know best.

    Oh, and beware lending money in the future – I know it’s awful, but I too have been more than generous to people, to have it thrown in my face.

  7. Yeah, Anni. It’s something that really pisses me off. Sure, I can be generous to a fault at times. But I like to help my mates out when I can, and it’s a shame to have to hold back because I’ve been shafted by others in the past.

    And this is seeming like another such shafting.

  8. phew – it’s sad when a friendship breaks down like this & sometimes things just seem to take on a scary momentum all of their own & you get to a place where you look back & think ‘how the hell did it come to this’???

    I think you’re going to end up going in circles on this with the cheque / direct transfer stand-off as you’ve made your position clear for your valid reasons & she’s made hers clear for what to her are probably equally valid reasons; so depending on how strongly you feel about this either walk away and chalk it up to (bitter) experience or go to small claims

    ps. nitpicking I know but might help in a small way if it does go to court – don’t think we have lawyers in the UK – they’re an american thing, we have solicitors and barristers only.

  9. Just do the small claims thing.

    That way you have only done what you said you would do. Also put it in your case that you did everything to aviod this but after threats of “a response” from the other party, you just thought it was the fastest and most official way to sort it.

    C

  10. I’m with twenty on this one. My ex owes my mum £200 catalogue bill from three years ago. I have threatened him with Small Claims, but to no avail so I may have to sell his sister to white slave traders. Its a shame when it comes to this.

    Anyone interested, she is blonde. £250 and she’s yours.

  11. why get the sister involved – can’t you just sell him direct?

    btw, can anyone lend me a tenner, I’m good for it, honest, it’s just my car ran out of petrol and I need to get my pregnant uncle to hospital before our electricity is cut-off. thanks everso.

  12. Hate to say this, but, harassment legislation (unlike any other in this country) automatically assumes you are guilty if someone chooses to make a complaint to the police about your behaviour towards them. There is no requirement of proof (although the text trail would be good evidence against you). It costs nothing to make such a complaint. And you don’t always get the chance to give your side of the story. The police can just issue you with a warning to have no contact with someone on the basis of someone’s say-so. Then, if there is further contact, for whatever reason, you will get a formal caution with no further questions asked.

    If you take a case like this to small claims, where the person has offered to pay, I think you’ll end up losing, and be another £60 (or whatever the minimum fee is at present) out of pocket. I don’t think you have a legal right to specify how you want repayment to be made, unless it was part of an initial contract. As the original payment was

  13. … As the original payment was made by electronic transfer, you’ll be seen to have consented to this form of tranfer, so your reluctance to use it for repayment won’t look good.

    I obviously cannot know why you are reluctant to write cheques etc, but it is a very safe process. And, the onus is on the bank to prove any transaction you query, and not on you to prove it. If you’ve had problems with a particular bank in this resepct before, all I can suggest is change your bank.

    A bank with whom you already have a financial relationship shouldn’t be asking you for an identity check to set up a new account either, as you’re already known to them.

    Sympathies. You’ve clearly acted in good faith and had your trust abused.

  14. All i have to say on the matter is I never asked for the money to be paid in to my bank account in the first place… It wasnt a Loan because i didnt ask for the money… he paid it in to my bank account to get me to go down to yorkshire which i didnt do… since then he has refused to let me pay him back for almost 4 months now.. i got sick of arguing and told him to fuck off… he forgot to mention that bit.. there was no good faith and he abused my trust by putting the money in to my back account in the first place… No contract no request for the cash… no wonder he didnt want to go to small claims court… and incase your wondering… hes got the money via paypay

  15. First of all mate, forget the daft bint. Write off the debt, and just remember, someone that causes you grief is not a friend in the first place.

    Secondly I agree about the bank details thingy. Did you know that if you give out your bank details and then your account is fraudulantly used, you are liable for a percentage of money lost? I wouldn’t give out the details, after a similar experience happened to my father a few years ago, and I got arrested for it! (I hasten to add the real culprit was found)

    Re the note about Postal Orders. Elly: You have a unique number on both halves of a postal order. That is there so that it can be traced. In the event of a query, you can find out if the person cashed the PO, where and who cashed it, or paid it into a bank, which bank, when and the inside leg measurement of payee.

    I think it is just a case of Elly being ignorant, and using her own (incorrect) ideas to annoy you even more.

    Mosh. Do yourself a favour. Forget the money. Elly sa

  16. a very good and obvious point, a loan is a two way thing. It takes one person to loan the money and another to accept it. At the end of the day i hope it is sorted and both parties can finally go their seperate ways. I think financial planning might help as some people, then there would be no need for loan and this situation would never happen.

  17. As Elly has said, the cash has been paid back (vie PayPal) and I’m happy with that. So happy I didn’t even take offense at the email I received after she’d transferred the cash over (Now Fuck Off from the XXXXXXX Family)

    What bugs me is that no matter how much she says she wants me to fuck off, how much she wants me out of her life, how much she never wants me to text her or post *anything* about her and her family on my blog ever again… she can’t help but come here, read the blog and then post on it.

    In response to what she said, I know she didn’t ask for the cash. As I said, I loaned it in what I saw as a nice gesture to a (at the time) friend in need. It was predominantly for fuel, though I don’t think ever specifically for her to come to Yorkshire (though I confess my memory may be wrong on that). I do know, however, that she said she used it to buy presents and stuff for her ex with whom she was staying at the time. Fine – it made him happy which made her happy.

    I

  18. *snip*

    I agree with Anni’s comments and would ask the same – if you didn’t want it, then why not give me it back immediately rather than frittering it away on baubles? Or flat out refusing to give me your bank details when I asked? I mean, what did you *think* I was going to do with them when the conversation started “Elly is skint” and ended with “well, let me have your bank details”? Sell them to the highest bidder and buy you a small island in the Cayman with my share of the profits?

    I also recall telling you there was no rush to pay me back. I’d hardly say that if it was a gift, would I? I did not forget to mention the bit where you told me to fuck off – that’s in the email quoted on the original post if you’ll take the time to read it. While I “refused” to allow you to pay me back, it was only because you insisted on having my bank details to do so when I told you I wasn’t prepared to give them out. Conversely, I could say that for 4 months you refused to pay me

  19. *snip*

    … back as I’d asked for a cheque and you wouldn’t write one out. That swings both ways, Elly. At the end of the day I asked for the money back and offered you a perfectly acceptable method of repayment which you refused to make use of. You insisted on sticking to one method you’d know I’d not accept and then decided to get all silly with calls to push payments through lawyers instead of simpler methods.

    As for abusing your trust, I ask you again – what did you think I would do with your bank details if not use them to deposit money in your account? Hey, if everyone I knew abused my trust by dropping cash in my current account I’d be crying out for bad friends to abuse me in that way!

    To everyone else – thank you again for your comments. BW, it seems we disagree on some of the matters and so forth, but again thanks for the constructive criticism. It’s always helpful to have someone disagree with you as to have your friends stand up and say you’re right.

  20. BW – to answer a couple of your queries. At one point, I was happy with electronic transfer for two reasons. 1) my bank details weren’t publicised and 2) I trusted the person involved in the transaction. To have Elly repay in a similar way would have negated 1) and her actions/words had already negated 2).

    The bank thing – the one I had the problem with in the past was NatWest. I changed to another bank when I closed that account, and it was NW I went back to to open a “temporary” account.

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