Perth Citizens' Advice Bureau
This client came in to see us, supported by a worker from the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) as he has a form of schizophrenia. He was on benefits and managed ok when he was feeling stable, but when he was on a particularly low ebb, or a big high, he compulsorily bought things. He ran out of money, then he inherited a car which was quite valuable, but unfortunately got in tow with a low-end company, sold the car to them and they immediately bought it back so they could do finance on it. This car finance was on “payday loan” levels – he borrowed £5,000 and was due to pay back £20,000 over a 4-year period.
Soon the client couldn’t afford his loan repayments. But he relied on the car because he sometimes felt the town compress on him, and he needed to go out into the countryside, but couldn’t go on buses or afford taxis.
We got evidence from the SAMH worker, his consultant and his GP, and contacted the finance company a few times. There was no response at all, and meanwhile they were hassling him for the money, and threatening to take his car away (which they can’t do in Scotland without taking him to court). We were able to inform of his rights, and what they could and couldn’t do. Then we managed to get another address for the loan company and spent a good deal of time writing a long letter, putting in the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules and guidance about lending to people with mental health problems, demonstrating the proof of the mental health problem and quoting the law.
Eventually the company got in touch, and they agreed to write off £16,000 of the loan. (He’d managed to pay some of it already.) And he now has no debts, and he’s happy. If we hadn’t been able to help, the company would have raised a court action and they’d have taken the car away from him. He would have been isolated and felt trapped, and his mental health problems would have spiralled. The worker from SAMH has told us that the client is feeling a lot more stable now, because he’s free of those worries.
To make an appointment please call the Positive Futures team on 01738 450581 or email:
The Positive Futures programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund, Perth & Kinross Council and The Gannochy Trust.