I have cancer and when I was going through chemotherapy, receiving only sick pay, I found myself in a sticky financial situation which resulted in me not paying back an overdraft with HSBC which totalled £2,016.77.

The bank assigned the debt Mortimer Clarke Solicitors, who kept calling me despite acknowledging that I had made a reasonable adjustment request.

I agreed to a payment plan of £50 a month but this was suspended due to Covid. 

After the hold was lifted, I asked if the original amount could be restored. It told me that I needed to fill out another form. I filled out the form, but no response.

A cancer patient found herself in debt and is now being threatened with court action

A cancer patient has fallen into debt and is now facing court action

Mortimer Clarke stated that it was now going to enter a CCJ împotriv me, which means that I will lose my job while I recover from radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

I can’t afford to take them to court and just want to reinstate paying £50 a month. Can you please help me? R.C., via email

Grace Gausden is a consumer expert at This is Money. I am sorry to hear about diagnosis and can only imagine that being in debt made the situation much more difficult.

Unfortunately, you had to stop working for a year as you were receiving treatment and only received basic sick pay, meaning inability to pay back the £2,000 overdraft. 

Cabot Financial, a collection agency for debt, was contacted by the bank. They then passed the debt on to Mortimer Clarke Solicitors who act as debt buyers. 


Grace Gausden, This is Money consumer specialist, addresses reader problems and shines a light on companies doing good. Grace Gausden is our weekly columnist

Do you want her to investigate a particular problem? Or do you want to praise a company for going the extra mile? Get in touch


Initially, all parties agreed to a payment plan that was fair.

However, the pandemic struck quickly and you were unable to return to your job, which means that money was tight.

The solicitors suspended the payment plan knowing that times were difficult, but removed the hold several month later.

Although you asked to reinstate the original £50 a month deal, the solicitors said there were a number of forms you needed to fill in first.

While you were doing this, Mortimer Clarke lost the information and shortly thereafter raised a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against your.

One reason was that it did not receive the correct forms. You were not informed of this until it issued proceedings.

Another issue is that the company claimed to have called you to inform your position, but in one your complaints responses, it indicated it had removed you telephone number dues to your reasonable adjustment request. This confused you. 

You feel that the solicitors have been aggressive in their behavior and are frustrated at the lack of response to your correspondence.

More concerning is the possibility of a CCJ. If you are convicted, it could lead to your job being terminated.

A payment plan of £50 was set up but this was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic

A payment plan of £50 was set up but this was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic

You have spoken to a solicitor which it advised it will cost you at least £800 to defend this matter and bring Mortimer Clarke to court – an amount you cannot afford. 

I contacted Mortimer Clarke as, even though you will certainly need to pay back your debt, it didn’t seem fair you were unable to continue on the agreed £50 payment plan.

A spokesperson for Mortimer Clarke stated that: “Mortimer Clarke Solicitors prides themselves on doing right for the customer and want all customers to receive the appropriate outcome for each individual circumstance.

“When our client took on the debt, there was no evidence to suggest that the customer had any health problems.

‘Mortimer Clarke solicitors did not have any information that would indicate that Mrs C had any current health problems which might have affected her ability to repay the debt. 

“Mrs. C has since provided information regarding her current condition. We asked Mrs. C for more information to get a complete understanding.

“We have acted correctly and reasonably. As a gesture of goodwill however, the court claim has been withdrawn and the matter will be referred to Mortimer Clarke Solicitors.

‘We have spoken to Cabot Financial who is willing to agree a new affordable repayment with the customer, once they have ensured that the £50 is indeed going to be manageable for the customer.’

Mortimer Clarke’s telephone contact was halted after you requested it. It then tried to reach you by phone only when it had not received a response to its letter. 

It was only after several attempts to agree on a reasonable and sustainable payment plan, which is consistent with standard practice in order to resolve a matter without resorting first to litigation, that court proceedings were issued.

However, fortunately, you have confirmed it has now been possible to reinstate the £50 payment plan and you have now started paying it back.  

Anyone else in trouble with debt can visit StepChange, which provides free expert advice. 

A Vauxhall customer was angry after the firm said it would be impossible to update his sat nav

Vauxhall customers were furious after being told it was impossible to update their sat-nav.

Hit and miss: This week’s naughty, nice and naughty list

Every week, I review companies that have not met expectations and those that have gone the extra mile for their customers.

MissCar company VauxhallAfter it was revealed that it would not be able to update David’s sat-nav, customers criticized them.

He stated, “I have a Vauxhall Mokka Technologyline that is 5 years old and fitted with a Navi950. I called my local Vauxhall dealer a few months ago and asked him to book my car in for an update of my sat-nav.

‘I was told it no longer offers this service. I should go to Navteq and order the appropriate memory sticks.

Navteq informed me that the update was withdrawn and that I might not be able carry out an update. I returned to the dealership, who advised me to contact Vauxhall customer services.

‘I was offered a complimentary service as an apology for my incontinence. However, if accepted, the case would be closed. It wasn’t about the money, so I will decline.

“There must be thousands of Vauxhall owners with this Sat Nav system and I am amazed that a company like Vauxhall can continue to allow this situation to exist. It is inconvenient and will devalue the car.

Vauxhall was very unjustifiable for not being able to update your satnav.

It realized that this was not good enough and ordered an update for you and other customers.  

Vauxhall spokesperson stated that David and all other customers who have a sat-nav can order a navigation upgrade from the supplier starting 1 November 2021.

“In addition to that, I am glad to say that we have offered to reimburse David the cost for his navigation update. This offer was accepted by David and he is happy with it.

Not only was your sat nav updated but you received £80 as a gesture of goodwill.

This was a complete turn from Vauxhall, and you have negotiated a great deal – with many happy customers. This is how you turn a loss into a win. 

Hit: Reader Karen, who was praised for her company, has some good news. Rituals.

She said, “I ordered two luxury adventcals from Rituals. An error in my address meant that it wasn’t delivered to me. The person who it was delivered to wouldn’t give it back to me.

“I contacted the company through WhatsApp. They asked me if I could retrieve the parcel, and if so, how do I get back to them?

“I contacted them immediately and they offered to resend me the calendars at no additional charge. The calendars were worth £120.

“I think this customer service is outstanding and definitely worth a mention.” 

It is nice to know that the firm is making a ritual of providing good customer service.  

This article may contain affiliate links. Clicking on these links may earn us a small commission. This helps us to fund This Is Money and keeps it free of charge. We don’t write articles to promote products. We don’t allow any commercial relationship to influence our editorial independence.