She might have become a millionaire in 2011 following the death of her sugar daddy Alistair Longford, she might have also bought the Spa and employed Darren as her chauffeur, but the good life hasn’t lasted long for Hollyoaks’ Cindy Cunningham.
She found that having ready cash made her a target of scamsters such as Father Francis, a priest who captured the heart of Cindy and Carmel McQueen. Cindy donated money to Father Francis’s charity in an attempt to buy his affection, only later did she realise that he was a con artist.
This week’s episodes have shown Carmel finding out that Cindy had been ignoring final demand letters, and this resulted in bailiffs appearing at her place of business. Poor Carmel hasn’t been paid for two months and knew Cindy had money problems, but it was the quick thinking McQueen matriarch Myra who identified the men at the door as bailiffs.
Poor Cindy is now facing bankruptcy, less than a year ago she was rolling in it.
When your creditors want their money back
Of course the soaps are scripted for maximum entertainment value and Cindy’s tale of debt woe might not seem terribly realistic. However it does hold some basic truths about money budgeting and debt advice.
Cindy ignored her problem. She buried her head in the sand and didn’t open letters from her creditors.
We come across people every day who have done exactly the same thing. Our blogpost about what creditors can and cannot do explains more about how the collection process works but what should be clear is that not opening your mail is a very real and very common error.
Anything important your creditors have got to say will be done by letter. This can include if they decide to take you to court to secure a County Court judgment, or if they decide to petition for your bankruptcy with a statutory demand.
Only a few years ago Coronation Street aired a story about Joe McIntyre who was struggling with debts and ended up trying to sell his wife Gail’s house behind her back. Again, it was very dramatic and far-fetched but there is another hint of truth to this.
Many people worry about revealing the true state of their debt problems to their nearest and dearest, although most don’t try to fake their own death to escape their debt problems (as Joe attempted to do).
In Hollyoaks Cindy ends up bankrupt and working for Tony at Gnosh as a waitress. Any assets she has will be under the consideration of the official receiver and we’ll probably see a flurry of activity as other Hollyoaks residents buy up what used to be Cindy’s on the cheap.
If Cindy had taken free and impartial advice from Stepchange Debt Charity, we might have been able to prevent her bankruptcy – but that wouldn’t make good tea time TV. Bankruptcy would have a negative effect on Cindy’s credit rating, but after everything she’s been through that would be the least of her worries!
In the real world, debt isn’t glamorous; it can be depressing and scary. Unlike soap opera characters you do have a place where you can turn for help and advice.
If you’re worried about your financial situation and you have unmanageable debt we’d recommend that you try our online debt help service Debt Remedy. It could help give your story a happier ending.
Please note that the advice given here applies to bankruptcies in England and Wales.