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How to deal with your creditors

It can be hard to talk to the people you owe money to. But the sooner you talk to them, the sooner they can help you.

There are lots of reasons you might not want to talk to the people you owe.

You may be feeling anxious or under pressure. Maybe you are going through a hard time but hope things will get better soon.

Whatever is going on in your life, try to talk the people you owe as soon as you can. Many will try to help you.

We know this can be difficult. Here are our most important tips for dealing with the people you owe.

1. Do not ignore messages

Always open and read letters from the people you owe as soon as you get them. They could include important information like:

  • Payment reminders
  • Information about your debts
  • How they plan to collect repayments

Read them to find out if you need to take any action.

Some may have court forms with important deadlines.

2. Tell them if you are having debt problems

There are several ways they can help if you are struggling with payments.

You may be able to:

The only way to know what help is available is to talk to them.

When you talk to them:

  • Explain your situation
  • Show them your budget
  • Tell them what you think you can afford to pay
  • Tell them if you need them to change the way they contact you

You can also come to us for debt advice if you need more help.

3. Tell them if you need more help

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has introduced measures to protect consumers.

The people you owe are required to make adjustments based on your needs.

For example, you may be struggling with:

  • The loss of a loved one
  • Addiction issues
  • Learning difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Mental health
  • Long term illness
  • And more

These issues can impact how you respond to contact and whether you can make your payments.

Make sure the people you owe know what you are dealing with.

Read more about how to make sure you are treated fairly.

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4. Keep your contact details up to date

It is easy to forget to update the people you owe when you move or change your phone number.

But this can cause a number of problems:

  • They may think you are ignoring them
  • They may send important documents to the wrong address
  • You could end up with larger debts than you realise
  • They could start legal action without you knowing, like a CCJ

5. Make sure they update your credit file correctly

Your credit file is a record of any credit you take out. This includes:

  • How much you owe
  • How you handle payments
  • Whether any court action is taken against you

The people you owe update your credit file when you miss payments. But they should also do it when you repay your debts.

Check your credit file regularly to make sure it is up to date.

Talk to the people you owe if you see anything that should not be there.

6. Deal with priority debts first

Contact from the people you owe can all blur together. But there are certain debts, called “priorities”, that you should make sure to deal with first.

'Priority' debts and bills are those that can:

  • Impact your home and health
  • Cause legal problems
  • Lead to more debt

This includes things like:

  • Housing costs
  • Utility bills
  • Council tax
  • Court fines

7. Make a complaint if you are treated unfairly

You are entitled to make a complaint if the people you owe do not treat you fairly.

“Unfair treatment” could mean that:

  • They charged you the wrong amount
  • They did not make adjustments for your needs
  • They did not try to help you
  • They did not update your plan or contact details when agreed
  • And more

Making a complaint helps them improve their service and can protect other people in future.

mum at the table with bills

Worried about contact from creditors?

We can help. Use our free online debt advice tool.

Get help now