Can UK Debts Be Reported And Collected In The USA?

Question

I happily stumbled across your website and need some advice.

I lived in Wales and England for about 8 years and moved back to the United States last year when the pandemic began. I am a US citizen and had been living in England as a spouse of a British man, and when the marriage broke down, we divorced and I got an ILR.

Back here in the USA, I had credit from years ago, and I also had credit in England. I still owe a few accounts in England, a mobile contract, a credit card with HSBC, and I signed as guarantor for a friend of mine for a loan, which she has since defaulted on.

Can the banks collect that money here in the USA? And what about my USA credit report?

Laura

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Answer

Laura,

I am glad you made it back to the US before we went into total lockdown. Travel even now between the US and UK is difficult at best.

Your accounts in the UK will not be reflected on a credit report in the USA, as the countries use similar credit bureaus, but they do not share information. Should an account you have here in the UK be sold or assigned to a collection agency in the USA, then it could be reported to a credit bureau in the USA.

Banks in the UK have no real authority to collect an account in the states, however, HSBC is a global bank, they have branches in the US and UK and across the world. You would need to seek legal advice and review the terms and conditions for that account as to if they have any authority to collect a UK account in the US.

As you have ILR or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you can return at any time. Any unpaid accounts alone, will not stop you. You may wish to keep in mind if you stay outside the UK for over two (2) years, it can cause you to lose your ILR. You would need to confirm this with the Home Office.

Regards,

Jon

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