question category: Friends, Family, Loved Ones

can debt collectors chase a 16 year old.she signed up for a free trial now owes £100


my daughter was 15 and signed up for a months free trial for aol. after the first month they took the payments out of her bank even though she didnt have any money going in. so now the bank are writing to say she owes £60 and aol are saying she owes them £40 because the bank have not paid the last two months. She is 16 now but still in her last year at school i cant afford to pay this but i dont want her getting into trouble. I now she was stupid but how far can the debt collectors take this can they wait until she is 18 before taking her to court

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Re: can debt collectors chase a 16 year old.she signed up ...

Well this isn't a normal debt question since credit agreements are regulated under the Consumer Credit Act and they can't be made with people under 18. In fact I don't believe any contracts can be enforced with an under 18. But I am not a lawyer.

My concerns would be if your daughter had supplied a false age, or if she had named you as a guarantor. Assuming neither of things are true, you need to speak to the debt collectors yourself as a parent and point out that the contract with AOL should not have been made. It was a kid messing about on the net. For £40 it's very unlikely any further action would be taken. It is an offence under the Administration of Justice Act for debt collectors to harass a debtor, doubly so in the case of a minor. I'm sure they will see reason. If you are uncomfortable on the phone, write them a letter remembering to write "Without Prejudice" at the top of the page.

Your daughter's bank account is probably frozen now since she can't be offered an overdraft. You should speak to the bank, with your daughter in tow and make sure there are no other direct debits on the account. In my opinion it's important that she pays off the bank debt but at a rate she can afford. Ask her if any of her friends have Saturday jobs. Find out where? Ask relatives. See if you can turn this nasty experience into a positive.

 

Re: can debt collectors chase a 16 year old.she signed up ...

Hello,

I believe that a person definately has to be over the age of 18 to enter into a contract.

Therefore there is no contractual obligation on your daughter to pay anything - as she shouldn't have a contract at all.

AOL is pretty stupid if they're chasing this up, as they have no leg to stand on legally.

Follow the advice as listed above by Darren.

 

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