I'm in a vulnerable situation - should I let the collection agency know?
Dealing with creditors can be even more difficult if you’re in a vulnerable situation. Vulnerability can range from dealing with the loss of a loved one to chronic mental or physical health problems.
There are other vulnerabilities you may be dealing with, such as feeling anxious about speaking over the phone, or living with a learning difficulty.
It's important to let your creditors know if you're in a vulnerable situation. Once they’re aware of any difficulties you’re experiencing, they can offer you more support if you need it.
Will a collection agency add more interest and charges?
If the debt has been sold to a collection agency interest and charges will usually stop. The original creditor may already have stopped these after the account defaulted.
However, in some cases a debt collection agency may continue adding interest and charges. They can only add amounts which are allowed in the contract you signed with the original creditor.
If the debt is still owned by the original creditor they may continue adding interest and charges while the collection agency is contacting you.
I’ve got more than one collection agency contacting me about the same debt – which one do I pay?
Only one company should contact you about a debt. If you’re being contacted by more than one debt collection agency at the same time it’s best to contact the original creditor to explain what’s happening. They should tell you which company is dealing with your debt and stop the other company contacting you.
Some debt collection agencies use more than one trading name. This means it can look like you’re being contacted by more than one company, but it’s actually the same company using different names. Check the addresses on letters – if they’re the same or very close, you’re probably dealing with the same company. Using several names is confusing and you could ask the collection agency to contact you using one trading name only.
A collection agency is contacting me about a debt that isn’t mine
This is rare, but sometimes happens if a collection agency is trying to trace someone with a similar name to yours. Read our advice on what to do if you're being chased for a debt not in your name.
How do I know the debt collection agency is real?
Most debt collection agencies in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and hold a valid consumer credit licence. You can contact the FCA to check if a collection agency is licensed or check the FCA register.
Most collection agencies are also members of trade bodies such as the Credit Services Association. If their letter shows the logo of a trade body, you can also contact them to confirm they’re real.
You can also contact us if you’re unsure. We deal with all major UK debt collection agencies and we can tell you if a company is legitimate.