If you can’t come to an agreement with your creditors to repay a debt, they can take court action. This is usually a last resort.
If a creditor decides to start court action, they'll issue a claim in the county court. For most types of unsecured consumer debt, such as credit cards, overdrafts or payday loans, they can only do this after your account has defaulted.
However, before issuing any claims in the county court, a creditor must send you a 'letter of claim' in the post, providing details of the debt.
A letter of claim also includes a reply form, which you must fill in and return to the creditor straight away. If you don't respond to the letter of claim within 30 days, a creditor can proceed with court action.
If they do proceed, you’ll receive some court forms in the post explaining what you owe and asking for information about your circumstances. You must fill these in and return them straight away – you only have a short time to do this.
If you dispute a debt, you can defend the claim, but you should get specialist advice about doing this.
The court will issue a County Court judgment (CCJ) telling you how much to pay and when.
If you don’t respond to these court forms, the court won’t take your situation into account, and you may be told to pay instalments you can’t afford.