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What to do if you're harassed by creditors

Creditors are entitled to contact you to collect unpaid debts. They can contact you by letter, phone call or home visit.

However, they have to act within the law and treat you fairly. If they don't, you can make a complaint.

Examples of possible harassment from creditors

We've been providing debt advice for 30 years, and in this time we've seen a lot of examples of unfair practice from creditors. Some of these are outlawed by industry rules or codes of practice, and some of them are illegal.

  • Calling you at unreasonable times of the day or night
  • Calling you at work without permission, or after you've told them to stop
  • Discussing your debts with a family member or employer
  • Taking payments without your permission
  • Refusing to deal with advice organisations like us, or not giving you a fair 'breathing space' after you've contacted an organisation for help
  • Pressuring you to pay off a debt by borrowing more money
  • Using legal or technical language to confuse you
  • Sending letters that look like court forms
  • Refusing to give you information about your account when you ask for it
  • Pretending to have legal powers
  • Adding unreasonable charges, higher than the actual costs of collecting the debt
  • Continuing to contact you for payment when the debt is being disputed
  • Continuing to demand payment when a debt is statute barred or extinguished  – meaning the law says the creditor is out of time to chase the debt
  • Lending money without a credit licence. This is illegal and you should get specialist advice - read more about loan sharks for further advice

If you feel you're experiencing any of these actions, or if a creditor is treating you unfairly in any other way, it's a good idea to keep a record of everything that happens. For example, keep a notebook by the phone to log all the calls you get. This’ll help if you need to make a complaint at a later date.

Need to complain about a bailiff?

If you feel a bailiff, also known as an enforcement agent, has treated you unfairly or is harassing you, you can make a complaint to them and the creditor they're acting on behalf of. If they don't resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, you can then escalate your complaint to the relevant governing body.

Find out more about bailiff complaints

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We can help

If you're under a lot of pressure from debt collectors, or you're facing any of the unfair actions we've mentioned above, contact us for expert debt help.

Our debt advisors can explain your rights and help you take action if you feel you're being treated unfairly.

Use our online debt advice tool at any time that suits you.