If you find yourself in debt a company can try to reclaim their money via a CCJ (County Court Judgement). This will always result in the court sending you written notification but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll know about it. For example, many CCJ’s go unnoticed due to changes of address. So how do you find out if you have a CCJ but have not received the courts letter?
Here are 2 quick options for answering your question ‘How do I find out if I have a CCJ?’
1. Check Your Credit Report
This is the fastest, easiest and best way of checking if you have a CCJ against your name. Your credit report will list all your debts and defaults along with any CCJs.
There are three main Credit Reference Agencies in the UK:
Firstly, although they offer a ‘free’service, it’s only a trial. If you fail to cancel your subscription before the trial ends you will be charged. As you’re only checking to see if you have a CCJ however, you can cancel your subscription straight after doing the check. A worthwhile bit of extra effort that quickly answers your question ‘How do I find out if I have a CCJ?’
We work with checkmyfile who offer a service that delivers a report from Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and Trust Online all in one place. There can often be differences with the information that each credit reference agencies hold on you. Click here for a free trial with checkmyfile
The second concern many people have is the myth checking your credit report hurts your credit rating. This really is a myth however as creditors can’t see if you simply viewed your credit file.
So whilst you need to remember to cancel your trial of their services, this is by far the best way of checking if you have a CCJ against your name.
For those who want to monitor there credit status and it is very important for you to have access to financial services regularly, then by far the best value is checkmyfile as you are effectively getting 3 for the price of 1!
If you’re not comfortable using one of the above services but are still asking ‘How do I find out if I have a CCJ’ you can try TrustOnline. This service is operated by the Registry Trust and provides access to the official statutory Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines.
It provides a very reliable way of checking the debts registered through the courts against both individuals and businesses. Typically it’s used by businesses to check if a potential client or supplier has a CCJ so they can assess the risk of working with them. But a simple trick of the trade is running a check on yourself to see if you have a CCJ against your name.
As with running a credit report, TrustOnline leaves no footprint that a check has been performed so there’s no danger of it hurting your credit rating.
The downside of TrustOnline is each check does come with a cost (Currently £6 per search at the time of writing this article). A further consideration is if you’ve recently moved you’ll need to do a search on each address you’ve lived at over the last 6 years.
CCJ’s being sent to the wrong address is the most common reason for them going unnoticed so it’s likely this is what’s happened. Each of these searches will incur an additional £6 fee and remember this is only to see if you have a CCJ, it does not give you a full credit report.
What to do if you find out you have a CCJ against your name?
So you’ve answered your question ‘How do I find out if I have a CCJ’ from one of the two above methods and they’ve shown you do have a CCJ against your name. Now you need to understand what the debt is for. To do this you’llneed to contact the court that issued the judgement. You can call them on the telephone and the court will give you the details. You will need the following information:
- The date of the judgement
- The amount of money you owe
- The name of the court who issued the judgement
- The Claim Number or Case Reference Number
The key information here is the name of the court who issued the judgement.
Contact the issuing court and request more information on your CCJ. This should give you all the details you’ll need including who the claimant is and where the debt stems from. You may also not recognise the claimants name as often these old debts are purchased by a debt collection company such as Lowell, but the original debt maybe from a mobile phone provider such as EE.
Once you know what the CCJ is for you really only have 2 options. Either come to terms that you will have pay the CCJ or contest it in court. You should seek qualified legal advice to establish if you can have it removed from your credit report. Big warning though don’t just pay it straight away as this may jeopardise your chances of having it removed as the court will consider the matter closed and the claimant will have no incentive to cooperate with the legal process of having the CCJ removed.
The importance of this cannot be overstated as CCJ’s negatively impact your chances of gaining finance, a mortgage or even some jobs. Furthermore, as a CCJ stays on your record for 6 years even if you pay the debt, you always want to get it removed if you have a case to do so.
We have written an article on how a CCJ can be removed which we recommend you read next.
What we would never recommend, however, is you ignore a CCJ. Even if you’re innocent, a CCJ cripples your credit rating and has far reaching implications in many areas of your life.