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Bajans Living Above Their Means

October 19, 2007

INCREASING NUMBERS of Barbadians from all walks of life are finding themselves in high levels of debt.

They owe on credit cards, hire purchase accounts, rent, vehicle payments, loans, and for other miscellaneous goods and services.

Bianca Williams, managing director of Caribbean Credit Bureau, formerly CrediChek, told the WEEKEND NATION that even though 65 per cent of Barbadians had relatively good credit ratings the delinquency rate was still as high as 51 per cent.

She said there were too many repeat chronic bad debtors in the system.

“They have accounts with several companies and they have learnt the system and they abuse it. There are those behavioural patterns where we are seeing the same offender over and over again,” Williams added, pointing out that there was need for a more effective way of linking the credit check system so that information could be adequately shared.

Williams cited failure to make credit card and hire purchase payments, and a rise in returned cheques as two of the problematic areas, noting that Barbadians seemed more committed to paying their mortgages and vehicle loans.

Dramatic increases

But she said they could get out of debt by improving their ratings through financial counselling and debt consolidation.

Debt collection agencies were also reporting increased clientele as well as dramatic increases in the number of people they pursue for debt payments.

Everton Depeiza, managing director of Creditel Collection (Barbados) Ltd, said his agency had been going after both individuals and business people for defaulting on rent, bouncing cheques, and failing to pay credit card accounts, as well as supermarkets, restaurants and other businesses that failed to pay wholesalers for goods and services.

Creditel’s clients include banks, credit unions, hotels, wholesalers and also overseas entities.

“We go after amounts as small as $100 to thousands of dollars,” said Depeiza, adding that his company had recently sold about five repossessed vehicles and had another three for sale.

He said he had encountered cases where people had reported their cheque books lost but were caught issuing the same cheques, while there were also people who had issued unworthy cheques and had left the island.

Depeiza said while every opportunity was given to debtors to settle, Creditel’s measures also included going to court if necessary.

On disappearing debtors, he said publishing their names was a last resort.

Perennial problem

Depeiza added that payment of rent in particular was becoming a perennial problem and tenants were finding clever ways
of beating the system, such as challenging unregistered landlords.

He said his company would soon launch another service – Landlord and Tenant Bureau Services – to provide both landlords and tenants with information about each other.

Mike Grannum, managing director of Equity Collection Agencies, said there was a desperate need for debt settlement or financial management service organisations to help people to better manage their debt.


One Comment leave one →
  1. concern person permalink
    March 30, 2008 8:07 am

    Some people in Barbados are really having a hard time but there are some who are living above their means to keep up face with the (jones) or the elite.

    my opinion about debt collectors they come off as bullies without a heart and to be truthful many of them there in Barbados are ripping off people with all those high fees, they collect more of the debt than the clients.

    I had a personal experience with a so-call well known debt collection company will tell the tale but not the name.

    the managing director tell this all perfect to good to be story of how he/ his bailiff can recover my fathers’ house and outstanding rent arrear due to him. weeks past nothing keep calling he is never in the lady in the office say all the time finally I went to the office was told he was not there but this female bailiff whom I HAD NEVER MET THERE BEFORE tried to make the situation a little better because I was angry at this time, she helped me well, my father got the house and the rent arrears at least a little from the company but all was paid but was taken out for fees after paying a large sum at the get go to start the process.

    some time it pays to do it yourself or take the loss.

    some debt collection companies just use clients and take their funds for fees.

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