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Phone calls about my debts

The people you owe will often contact you by phone if you miss payments. Sometimes this is helpful, but it can also be stressful.

Why are the people I owe calling me?

The people you owe call because they want a payment. Some are understanding and supportive if you explain your difficulties. Others are not so helpful.

What happens when they call?

They usually ask for a card payment over the phone.

They may also try to make you agree to a repayment plan if you cannot afford to pay the full amount

They may ask:

  • Why you cannot pay
  • For details of your current income and living costs, to see what you can afford
  • For your bank details, to set up the repayment plan

Do I have to pay what they ask for?

Do not let them pressure you into making payments you cannot afford, even if they tell you:

  • They are taking further action, or
  • Your account has defaulted

The people you owe may exaggerate what can happen if you do not pay.

You can cancel payments to the repayment plan, if you set one up with them. Just contact your bank.

Make a note of what they say and reach out for impartial debt advice.

”megaphone Be careful when sharing bank details

People may contact you pretending to be a bank or utility company.

You can always hang up and call back the real number listed on the company website to be sure.

Read more about scams here.

What should I do when a creditor calls about payments I cannot afford?

Tell them you cannot afford the payments and explain why.

You can also:

  • Let them know if you are seeking debt advice too
  • Tell them what you think you can afford to pay

Use our online debt advice tool to work out what you can afford if you do not already know.

You do not have to speak to the people you owe if you do not want to.

Ask them to send a letter or email instead and hang up the phone.


  • Your creditors must tell you anything important in writing – so make sure to read your letters
  • You can also write to them if you do not want to talk on the phone

The people you owe should always speak to you politely and truthfully. Make a complaint if they do not.

mum at the table with bills

Worried about money?

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

Get help now

How often can creditors call me?

It may count as harassment if the people you owe call you too often.

But the law does not state a maximum number of calls a creditor can make.

This can be even more stressful if you owe money to lots of people who call you.

There are no official rules or guidance in place, but:

  • One call a week is probably okay
  • Calling every day is definitely not

Ask them to stop if the amount of calls you get is unreasonable.

”megaphoneHave you applied for Breathing Space?

Breathing Space is a government scheme that means the people you owe cannot contact you for sixty days.

This gives you time to get debt advice and deal with your debts.

What times can the people I owe call me?

The law does not set out time when creditors can call, but they should not call you at ‘unreasonable’ times.

Most people agree that calls before 8am are too early, and calls after 9pm are too late.

But your circumstances may be different, for example if you work night shifts.

Tell the people you owe if you cannot take calls at certain times.

Make a complaint if they keep calling at times you told them not to.

Can the people I owe speak to anyone else?

The people you owe cannot discuss your debt with anyone but you unless:

  • You give them permission to speak to a family member or support worker
  • They are talking to the other person on a your debt is in joint names

This includes family and other people living in your house.

Can the people I owe call me at work?

The people you owe can call you at work if you gave a work number on the credit application form.

However they must stop using the number if you tell them you do not want calls at work.

Make a complaint if they call at work after you tell them not to.

Can I stop my creditors calling me?

Ask your creditors to remove your number from their records if you do not want to get any phone calls.

Make sure you read letters or emails from the people you owe.

Make a complaint if they keep calling after you tell them not to.

How we can help

Phone calls from creditors may mean you are struggling to manage your debts.

Use our online debt advice tool to get the right help for you.