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Creditors and Bankruptcy/Foreign Debt - Can they collect?

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Question
Hi. I have student loan debt that originates in the U.K. I live in Florida now. I defaulted on this foreign debt earlier this year because I cannot afford to pay it. I have been contacted by a debt collection agency based in California and I want to know how far they can pursue this matter considering they are out of state and the debt does not originate in the U.S.A. Can they report to credit bureaus? Will a judge entertain this in case they tried to sue? The amount right now is less than $1500 but if I paid that, they would just keep coming for the rest. The total amount is probably around $15k. I have no assets (joint mortgage upside down, no equity) and I currently work just a few hours per week so have barely any income (husband is bread winner). I have no plans to acknowledge the debt or respond to any calls/letters. The loans are originally from the late 90's but I last made payments on them in 2008, then deferred them until I gave up and defaulted this year. I have ignored all correspondence from the original creditor so theoretically they don't really know where I am as I have never confirmed it. I am not from the U.K. and recently became a U.S. citizen. I have no plans to ever return to U.K.

Answer
I have been contacted by a debt collection agency based in California and I want to know how far they can pursue this matter considering they are out of state and the debt does not originate in the U.S.A.

Since it is a foreign debt (i.e., out of the country) and since the USA has a treaty with the UK, it is possible that they could get a judgment against you in the UK and register it here in the United States to enforce it.    That doesn't happen all that often, and it is also possible that they could sue you here in the USA because that is where you are presently located.   It just depends on how aggressive the collection agency wants to be.



Can they report to credit bureaus?

No question about that.   It probably has already happened, and if it hasn't, it could be put on the credit report by  the American collection agency.



Will a judge entertain this in case they tried to sue?

Yes -   You can be sued where the cause of action arose or where you live, which is in the US, so definitely, you could be successfully sued in this circumstance.


The amount right now is less than $1500 but if I paid that, they would just keep coming for the rest.

You are probably right about that.


The total amount is probably around $15k. I have no assets (joint mortgage upside down, no equity) and I currently work just a few hours per week so have barely any income (husband is bread winner). I have no plans to acknowledge the debt or respond to any calls/letters. The loans are originally from the late 90's but I last made payments on them in 2008, then deferred them until I gave up and defaulted this year. I have ignored all correspondence from the original creditor so theoretically they don't really know where I am as I have never confirmed it. I am not from the U.K. and recently became a U.S. citizen. I have no plans to ever return to U.K.


I doubt that this will go away any time soon.    What you can do or not do in this situation depends on some facts you don't state in your question.   How important is this to you to resolve this?  What is your present financial situation in terms of income or potential future income?   Depending on those issues, I might be able to help you further if you wanted to call me.  I will not charge you just to talk on the phone.   You can call me anytime at this number:    915  261-3893

Jack Hall,   J.D.

Creditors and Bankruptcy

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Can answer questions about bankruptcy, lawsuits or judgments that have been filed against you. Also can answer questions about tax issues, property that is facing foreclosure, repossession of vehicles, and wage garnishments. 915 261-3893

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