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How will a DRO affect me

Can creditors still contact me during a DRO?

Once your debt relief order (DRO) has been approved, the official receiver will contact each of the creditors included in your application, to let them know it's been approved. But, in some cases your creditors may still contact you.

If this happens to you after your DRO is approved, don't worry. There are still steps you can take to ease the stress you may be dealing with, and your DRO provider is here to assist you should you have any concerns. Once the 12 month moratorium period is over, if your situation hasn’t improved then the debts included in the debt relief order are written off.

You won’t receive notification that a DRO has ended so it’s worth noting down the date it was originally approved.

Is a debt relief order right for you?

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I'm on a DRO and I'm still getting statements from creditors

Some of your creditors may still send you statements to show you how much of your debt is still outstanding. You don't need to worry about these. Some creditors have to send statements to comply with their legal duties under the Consumer Credit Act but you don't need to pay them anything.

I'm on a DRO and still getting interest and charges added to my debts

The statements may show that interest is being applied to your debt. This is because your creditor doesn't have to stop your interest and charges even when your debt relief order has been approved.

This won't affect you as all the debts included in your DRO – including any interest added to them  – are written off at the end of the 12 months moratorium period.

If your DRO is cancelled for any reason, you'll need to repay the debt plus any interest or charges they've added. 

My debt’s been sold to a collection agency

Some creditors may pass your debt to a collection agency during your DRO moratorium period. The collection agency that gets your debt may not be aware that you have a DRO. 

The official receiver who oversees your DRO won't write to the new creditor to let them know you have a DRO. You'll need to let this new company know and you can do this by sending them a copy of your approval letter as proof that the debt’s included in your DRO.  They could also check the Insolvency Register themselves, or they can ask the original creditor who would have been told about the DRO.

What your creditors can't do if you're on a DRO

There are certain things that your creditors can't do:

  • Contact you to ask for payment
  • Take you to court
  • Send a debt collector to your home 

If any of the creditors listed in your DRO application do any of these then you should remind them about your DRO. If they still carry on doing these things after you've reminded them then you should contact the DRO team at the Insolvency Service. They'll take this up with the creditor. 

What if I included benefit overpayments or priority arrears in my DRO?

Any benefit overpayments or priority arrears (household bills that you've fallen behind with) that were in your DRO application will have been written off at the end of the 12 month moratorium period. 

Deductions from your benefits

If you're having a benefit overpayment or any household arrears deducted directly from your benefit payment then this should stop as soon as they receive notification that your DRO has been approved.

The Insolvency Service will send them this notification. This will mean that your income will go up a bit as the payments will have stopped. The DRO provider should have already taken this into account so you don't need to contact them or the Insolvency Service.

If you find that money is still being deducted from your benefits after your DRO has been approved then you should contact the benefits agency to let them know about your DRO. 

Pre-payment meters

If you pay for your gas or electricity through a pre-payment meter and your arrears were included in your DRO, then your utility company will need to adjust your meter to stop these payments being taken.  They will be informed about your DRO by the Insolvency Service. If they don’t do update your meter promptly, contact your supplier directly to tell them about your DRO. 

Priority arrears

If you include any household arrears in your DRO application (like council tax, gas or electricity) you can stop paying these as soon as it's approved.

If you normally pay your arrears by Direct Debit you need to contact the company and ask them to change the amount you're paying so that it just covers your normal payment.  If you pay by standing order, you’ll have to contact your bank to change the payments yourself. 

Find out if a DRO is right for you

Online debt advice is available 24 hours a day. It’s free and confidential and only takes around 20 minutes to build a budget and get your personal action plan. 

Or you can call our Helpline for expert advice (Free from all landlines and mobiles. Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to 4pm).

How often can I apply for a debt relief order?

Once you’ve applied for a debt relief order and have had a successful application, you won’t be able to apply again for another for six years. This applies even if your previous DRO was cancelled after approval.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2017