ASK TONY: Can I protect my home from bailiffs who are after my son's debt? (2023)

I have tried -unsuccessfully- to teach our son to economize and live within his means. He is 19 years old, works full time on a zero hour contract and lives at home.

My concern is what could happen if he goes into debt. For example, let's say you default on your cell phone contract and this eventually (if the claims are ignored) leads to bailiffs showing up to demand payment.

I do not have receipts for much of my property and therefore cannot prove that it belongs to me and not to our son.

How can I make sure I'm protected and only your assets are removed?

Family crisis: How can parents protect themselves from their children's debts?

My other concern is that if my son moves out but doesn't notify creditors, those court orders of removal will be sent to our address.

Is it enough to say that you no longer live with us or will proof be required?S.C., by email.


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I suspect your letter will draw sympathetic groans and nods from parents across the country.

Since adult children do not leave the nest, there is a natural concern that their financial concerns may affect us. I sent your letter to Experian, one of the big credit checking firms.

He tells me that while it might have been different in the past, today your credit rating can only be affected if you are financially connected to someone.

This means that your finances are linked through a joint account or loan, so generally only married couples or registered partnerships.

Simply sharing an address doesn't count, so it's unlikely that parents and children are linked.

Sharing a name or initial with your child shouldn't be a problem either, since their date of birth will be different.

As I read between the lines of your email, I wonder if your son isn't already a little in debt and reminders are falling on his doormat.

When your final fear comes true and the bailiffs show up, the main point is that you don't have to let them into your house unless they have a warrant. They cannot push you further.

If your son moves, send him any letter and tell him to change his address at the company. When he calls, explain that you have moved.

You are not required to say where you went and if the collection service continues to harass you, you should complain to the company to whom the money is owed.

However, your child is an adult and needs to take responsibility instead of letting you do it, and that may mean giving your address to the collection agency if you don't.

(Video) Do NOT Pay Collections Agencies | Debt Collectors EXPOSED

If a collection agency is pressuring you to pay your child's debt, you can file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.

The Citizens Advice website ( has a wealth of information on dealing with bailiffs.

Free credit checks are available through Experian's CreditMatcher service ( or at


Money Mail every weekreceive hundreds of youLetters and emails aboutour stories Here are somethe best of our latestoutstanding historysmart sales tacticsused by banks. . .

This is private money from people who have worked their whole lives to retire.

They should be allowed to do what they want with it and not be forced to do anything by big corporations.

R.H., Chester.

It's the law, but can it only be used if the company agrees? Well, there are a lot of laws I don't agree with, so I guess I'll just ignore those too.

MB, Gloucestershire.

Pensions are a scam for most of us. The companies that operate the systems benefit, and most of us will die before we see all our money.

AP, Warrington.

All of this was allowed with the condescending assertion that workers could not be trusted to manage their own savings.

SP, Portsmouth.

No wonder insurers get in the way. Why would they want to dole out lump sums?

They can make a lot more money by paying a lousy pension and hoping that the savers die soon. Then they can pocket the rest.

AM, Cumbria.

Some retirees still have mortgages and debt. You could use that money to pay off the debt, which will have much higher interest rates than the annuity will pay.

DV, Brighton.

My pension pays me £360 a year. He would have to live forever to recover what was deposited.

(Video) Bailiff At My Door Stuart Wright

A. T., Sunderland.

Annuities are the ultimate scam. These companies make a fortune from your retirement contributions and then give you a portion of the interest they earn on the principal.

Then when you die, they keep it. No wonder it's nearly impossible to get people to start saving for retirement.

H. G., Preston, Lancs.

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The company took £240 without permission

A few months ago a company took £240 off my Barclaycard without my permission.

I now find the arrears of £240 on my bank statement and, to underline, interest has been charged.

I have written to Barclaycard about this but have received no response. I called to complain but interest is still being added. I am 92 years old and I am confined to my house and I refuse to be treated in this way.CC, Leicestershire.

When I contacted Barclaycard and told them about your situation, the staff sprang into action.

After verifying your account, no recording of your call regarding this matter could be found.

There are many ways money can be fraudulently withdrawn from a credit card.

Barclaycard fully understands your situation and has not hesitated to reimburse you in full. It also ensures that the company cannot withdraw any more funds from your account.

A Barclaycard spokesperson says: "We have listened to the concerns of your readers and, after discussing the matter with them, we have agreed to refund the amount in question as a gesture of goodwill.

“We also blocked the card as requested. We hope this has resolved the matter to the satisfaction of your readers.'

You apologize for your handwriting because you have severe arthritis in your fingers.

I can tell you that your letter, and the thoughtful thank you note you sent, was much clearer than many I receive!


I was left with a terrifying message on my answering machine saying that HM Revenue & Customs would be taking legal action against me and asking me to call a number to speak to my employee. Should I be worry?JF, London.

Ignore this voicemail, it's a scam. If you call, you will be connected to an overseas call center where scammers will try to trick you into handing over cash claiming it is money you owe to HMRC.


I am an 85 year old widow living in a nursing home. A few years ago I bought some Premium Bonds and won £25 five times. I deposited these earnings into my bank account.

Does this have to be counted towards my nursing home fees or can I spend it however I want?ME, Norfolk.

Your local government will count your Premium Bond earnings as part of your cash balance when determining how much you can afford to contribute to your own care.

If you think you spent the money specifically to get rid of your property and avoid paying for your care, you will be billed as if you still had the money. For example, if you gave a family member an unusually large amount of money.

However, if the expense is considered reasonable, you should be free to spend as you wish. Age UK can give you further guidance on this - call 0800 169 2081.


(Video) Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! S3 08

I gifted my daughter tickets to Simply Red at The O2 in London later this month.

I paid £200 through a site called Viagogo. Got an email saying my tickets have been delivered but I don't have them. No one listens when I call.AV, Casco.

The delivery company appears to have lost your tickets, but you are covered by Viagogo's guarantee.

Not only are replacement tickets in the mail, but Viagogo has upgraded you and your daughter to seats with a better view as a goodwill gesture for your inconvenience.


My wife and I were almost five hours late on an Air Transat flight from Canada to Manchester.

I called Air Transat and they said we were not entitled to any compensation. What I can do?J. M., Lancashire.

Air Transat is a Canadian airline, so it is not registered in the EU. That means you're not covered by European regulations that force airlines to pay you compensation for delays.

Check with your travel insurer, who may be able to offer you something if you've run out of pocket.

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When my parents moved into their house in 1970, my mother didn't want the phone in her name, so we put it in mine, even though they footed the bill.

My father passed away and my mother's health has deteriorated in recent years, so she paid for a year in advance so she would have one less thing to worry about.

He died in June and I called BT for a refund. But since he is in my name and I am still alive, he refuses to return the money.

I have told BT that we can send the death certificate and evidence to show that I do not live there. But BT has insisted that there will be no refund.SF, Hampshire.

It should be a fundamental principle of doing business that surviving family members of deceased customers are treated with care.

If someone from BT had done this, they wouldn't have had to write to me, they wouldn't have had to call the press office and they wouldn't have had to investigate.

Apparently, your mom didn't pay for Line Rental Saver, the program that pays line rental upfront annually for a discount. The letter sent mentioning that it was a mistake.

BT has apologized and you have accepted a £50 goodwill gesture.

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