You’re in debt but what can your creditors actually do?

posted by in Bailiffs, Client info, Collection Process, Debt, Debt Law

Last updated: 20th February 2015

If you need help with your debts right now use our anonymous online advice tool Debt Remedy, in around 20 minutes you’ll find the best way to deal with your debts.

county court judgment letters

Received a CCJ? Click to find out more

There can be lots of misconceptions about what creditors (your lenders) can and cannot do. We hear from clients that are scared stiff of bailiffs (enforcement agents) or being sent to prison when they’ve only missed one or two payments or just received a default notice or a CCJ (County Court Judgment) through the post.

A lot of action by creditors will be tactics to encourage you to make extra payments, so it’s useful to know what your rights are to help to put your mind at ease.

Knowing what creditors can and cannot do and understanding the debt collection process can help to remove a lot of worry and uncertainty around unsecured debts.

What can creditors do?

  1. They can chase you for the debt by phone or letters; see our article about what to do if creditors keep phoning you.
  2. They can send doorstep collectors; it’s really important to realise that these are not bailiffs and have no more power than someone ringing you. It’s unusual for a high street lender to use doorstep collectors as it’s cheaper and more effective for them to call you.
  3. They can continue to add interest and charges to your account in line with the original agreement.
  4. They can take money from connected accounts. For example if you have a credit card and a current account with the same bank they can dip into the current account and take what is owed on the credit card; they don’t need permission from you. This is called the right of offset.
  5. They can issue a default notice, usually sent after 3-6 missed payments. This is something your creditors are legally required to send once you’ve defaulted on the original agreement.
  6. They can pass the debt on to an internal or external debt collection agency. These don’t have any more legal powers than the creditor.
  7. They can apply for a County Court Judgment (CCJ). If you receive one of these you must fill in the paperwork and make an offer of repayment for the court to consider. The court will set a repayment and it’s important that you stick to this.
  8. Some collection agencies issue a statutory demand, a way of enforcing bankruptcy. However in most cases these are used as scare tactics and it’s very unusual for creditors to actually enforce these.

What can’t creditors do?

  1. They cannot harass you; you have a duty to keep your creditors informed of your situation but that doesn’t mean they can ring you every hour, day after day. Request that they only contact you in writing and make sure you open your mail. You can read more about debt collection guidelines on the Financial Conduct Authority website.
  2. They cannot break data protection laws, so they cannot speak to your family, friends, neighbours or an employer.
  3. They cannot stalk you on social media – see our blogpost 10 ways to stop debt collectors finding you on social media.
  4. They may threaten bailiffs but unless you have defaulted on a CCJ then what they actually mean is a doorstep collection agent. This is often used as a scare tactic and anyone who calls at your property has no more power than someone calling you on the phone. You don’t need to talk to them if you’d prefer to talk over the phone or by letter (unless they are from the courts or the debt is for Council Tax).
  5. If you do get County Court paperwork through the post and you make an offer to the courts that the judge accepts, the creditors have to abide by it as well.

What experiences do you have with creditors? Post a comment and let us know. And if you’re going through the mill with your creditors at the moment, get free debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity.

Pavan Gata-Aura is a qualified debt advisor with 6 years of experience. She enjoys spending time with her two children, fundraising for charities, has spent time volunteering in Africa and takes part in organised races.

Written by

Tags Bailiffs Client info Collection Process Debt Debt Law
  • CJ Fool

    Hi there

    I got into debt with Vodafone quite a bit and I rang them up making an agreement of paying £100 a month I have reference number of the agreement, now a debt collection agency are chasing me for money because apparently I haven’t paid by money to them when I have.

    I got proof such as bank statements and a letter from Vodafone clearly stating tht £100 came of the amount due at that time but the debt collection agency still claiming I haven’t paid anything what can I do?

    • moneyaware

      Hi CJ,

      If the payments were going straight to Vodafone then I’d recommend speaking to them. They’ll be able to confirm if your £100 payments have been applied to your accoutn and give you more information about why the debt has been passed to a debt collector.

      Vodafone are allowed to pass the debt to a debt collection company even if an agreement to deal with the debt was in place. This isn’t usually what happens though, so it may be worth checking with them to work out what’s gone on.

      Kind regards


  • Angela Gofton

    We have a large loan secured on our property, the debt was sold to a debt collection agency, we have been making regular payments. We recently received a letter from them asking us to contact them within 7 days of date of letter , other wise, an agent from an outside field would contact our home, my husband contacted them within the seven days, but we also received a letter within the 7 days from the outside agent saying they had been asked to visit us, and to ring them to make an appointment, we didn’t as, I said my husband contacted the debt agency. Today, the outside field agent turned up on our door step, I refused her entry, do they have this right , if we contacted the debt agency within 7 days as stated? The agent gave us a letter, saying they would come back, where do we stand please?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Angela,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about your situation.

      It isn’t uncommon for debt collection agencies to send letters telling you they’ll send someone round to your property, but actually sending someone to your property is usually something they would do only if they haven’t been able to come to an agreement with you by other means.

      The person who visited your home is likely to be either a doorstep debt collector or a bailiff, but as you haven’t mentioned that your creditor has taken you to court to recover the debt, it’s more likely to be a doorstep debt collector.

      Doorstep debt collectors are sent by debt collection companies, and don’t have any special legal powers to make you pay the debt. They have the same powers as someone would have over the phone or by letter to make you pay. A doorstep lender cannot come into your home unless invited, and cannot remove any goods You can read more about doorstep debt collectors and what they can and can’t do here:

      On the other hand, bailiffs are usually sent after a creditor takes legal action to recover the money, and only if the creditor still hasn’t received payments towards the debt. You can read a bit more about bailiffs here:

      If you’re not sure whether your creditor has taken legal action against you, this is something you can check on your credit file. You can access your credit file for free using Noddle:

      If you believe the person who came to your house was a doorstep debt collector, I’d suggest you speak to your creditor to make a reasonable offer of payment towards the debt. This is something we can advise you on for free. We have over 20 years’ experience in giving debt advice and helping people put together accurate budgets, and often creditors will be more willing to accept an offer of payment if they can see you have sought professional advice.

      We can have a chat with you in more depth about your financial situation, put together a budget and recommend a reasonable payment that you can offer your creditor. We can also talk you through any debt solutions which might be suitable for your situation, or how else we might be able to help you to deal with the debt.

      You can find out how to contact us here:

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

  • Linda C

    Hi, I received a letter from a debt collection agency for council tax. They asked for £1110 and I offered to pay £95 per month. They told me they wanted a list showing incoming/outgoing of my finances. I refused and told them I didn’t think they had the right to do that and was contacting the CAB, they then sent me an invoice for £660. This was a big drop. This was a few weeks ago and I have had to work longer hours and never got round to going to the CAB. However, today my neighbour told me a man came to their door and was asking questions about me. If I lived next door, did I work and so forth. It turns out it was a debt collector from this company and they have put a letter through the door asking for £780! What is going on here? If I offer a payment can they still demand an income/outgoing list and I didn’t think with Data Protection they could go to neighbours asking questions about me. What are my options here please. I’m really angry at involving neighbours and they obviously added on money they weren’t entitled to originally? Worried sick now!

    • moneyaware

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about your

      Councils are notoriously firm when it comes to collecting council tax debt. However, it’s not against the law for them to send someone to your property and asking your neighbours general questions about you is unlikely to be a breach of the Data Protection Act.

      If you’d like to make a monthly payment and they have asked to
      see details of your income and outgoings, we would generally suggest you give them this information. You don’t have to provide this information and they can’t make you do so, but in order for them to accept £95 per month towards the debt, they usually like to see that this is genuinely all you can afford to pay
      them back.

      Council tax debt is what we would class as a priority debt, because the consequences of not paying it back can be serious. If it’s not paid back, the council can apply for a Liability Order, which would give them extra legal powers to recover the money. This might be sending bailiffs, applying for an attachment of earnings order so that the money is taken from your wage or
      benefits at source, or even applying for a charging order to secure the debt against any property you own.

      It’s important that this is resolved sooner rather than later,
      so I’d suggest you get in touch with us for free debt advice. We have over 20 years of experience putting together budgets for our clients, and can recommend an affordable and sustainable offer of payment that you can make to your council, along with a budget that will give them a better understanding of your situation.

      You can find out how to contact us here:

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

  • Nic Cuddly Bear Hawkins

    Can a company sell on a debt if it is listed on a DRO

    • moneyaware

      Hi Nic,

      Thanks for your message. It’s not something we’ve heard happens very much, so I’d suggest you get in touch with the original creditor and speak to them about the situation.

      I hope this helps,

      Kind regards,


  • disqus_DKS1Z7IJDd

    hi there, my partner had an outstanding debt for an unpaid parking ticket which escalated to £300 pounds. he paid the amount off in full but a week later an enforcement agent turned upa t our door saying he still owed £422 (originally less but the amount had increased due to fees etc) on a different debt. he was completely unaware of this other outstanding fine as he had had no correspondence for it. he rang the debt collection company who told him that he had rang them weeks ago and talked to them about that case. he then explained that because he was not aware of that debt when he had rang previously he thought he was discussing the other debt (the £300 one). they told him that he was still liable for the outstanding amount p;uss fees regardless of whether he knew about it or not.
    surely this cant be legal? if he wasnt aware of a debt and thought he was discussing the one he was aware of then surely they cant charge himt he increased amount?
    worried, please help!
    Many thanks.

    • moneyaware

      Hi there, thank you for getting in touch.

      I’m very sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve been facing.
      It might be best to put your complaint to the collection company in writing and explain your version of events. Send this as recorded delivery to the company.

      If you don’t feel that the company is dealing with the complaint properly, you may also be able to complain to the bailiff’s trade
      association. Check if the company in question is listed on one of these trade associations’ websites and follow the complaints procedure listed there:

      Civil Enforcement Association – member list:

      High Court Enforcement Officers Association – directory:

      In the meantime, please keep all of your doors and windows locked in order to prevent an enforcement agent getting access to your property.

      If it turns out that you’re liable for this debt this company is collecting for, we can help you structure your budget so you can manage the payments you will need to make towards this balance.

      Our Debt Remedy advice tool can help you build a budget and explore available debt solutions in just 20 minutes:

      Alternatively, our Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Mon to Fri and sat
      8am to 4pm and can be reached on 0800 138 111 (free from landlines and

      Kind regards


    • moneyaware


      This does sound like an odd sitaution. I think it’s reasonable that your partner gets some sort of details about this debt before he comes to any arrangement about it.

      The enforcement agent should be able to give some background about where this debt originated and what it relates to.

      Once your partner knows more about what this debt is he can look into whether it’s something he should pay back or appeal if there were circumstances that mean he shouldn’t pay it back.

      There should have been correspondence about this debt before it was passed to enforcement agents, so it sounds like something might have gone wrong somewhere. Occasionally letters go missing in the post but it’s unlikely several letters sent at different times would go astray.

      Kind regards


  • Morry Jude

    Do you need a loan? if yes,
    are Granting you personal loan, Business loan, mortgage loan, Construction loan, Debt loan, Student loan, Auto loan, e.t.c. loan at any currency are range
    from $10,000 ”min” to $100,000.000 ”max” @ 2% interest rate.
    If you are interested kindly send
    response to:

    *Full Name/Company Name:_________



    *loan amount:_________

    *Loan duration:_________


    *Purpose of loan:_________

    *Monthly Income:__________


    *Next of kins :_________

    *Email :_________

    *Awaiting your Response:_______

  • ttf

    Hi I am having to leave the country with very short notice and I have around £8k debt between about 3 credit cards I obviously am not in the position to pay them off right away and my intention is to pay what I can but if I default will they be able to track me down? I will be changing my address to a family members address as a forwarding address for my current accounts etc would it mean that they will hassle my family member? The problem being I don’t have a new job in south Africa as yet and I am really concerned I don’t want to tell them I am leaving just in case I end up coming back in a few months please let me know my rights? Can they issue a CCJ even if im not in the UK and they are not aware

    • moneyaware


      If you go abroad then it’s possible that your creditors may track you down in your new country. It’s hard to say whether this would happen in practice but we’d not recommend ignoring debts in this sitaution.

      If your adderss is changed to a family member’s then they won’t be able to hassle the family living there but they will obviously correspond with you at that address and use their debt collection process (see above article for more information).

      From the creditor’s perspective, if you tell them you live at this family member’s house then they’ll work on that basis. This means they could start CCJ proceedings against you at that property as you’ll fall within the court’s jurisdiction.

      You may find it useful to give them your new address in South Africa once you’re settled, as you’ll then know more about what’s going on with the account.

      Kind regards


  • NG

    Good Morning,

    I got divorced a number of years ago whilst living in Dubai and my wife was living in the UK. On our divorce paperwork it stated that my wife would have the UK property and I would have the Dubai property. Since the divorce my wife defaulted on the mortgage and didn’t tell me.

    I have just done a credit check report and it shows that I have a CCJ for £8,700 pound which was from a debt recovery company. The mortgage was in both our names so I can only assume that the mortgage company sold the property and then the remaining balance was split between my wife and I. The CCJ is just over 3 years old.

    Where do I stand regarding this CCJ? Was my wife liable for this debt as she got the UK property in our divorce? Any other advice?


    • moneyaware

      Hi NG,

      Divorce proceedings aren’t something we’re able to
      offer advice on, but generally when a debt is in joint names (such as a mortgage or loan agreement) there is ‘joint and several liability’ for the debt. This means that you both you and your previous partner would be jointly responsible for the debt.

      As far as we’re aware, this is also be the case even after a divorce agreement as it’s unlikely that the mortgage company will remove the other person from the agreement. However I think it would be a good idea to seek legal advice on this to be sure that this is the case in your situation.

      I hope this helps, sorry we weren’t able to offer more detailed advice in this situation.


  • Martin Buckley


    I have been registered partially sighted ever since I left school in 1989 and a few years back I opted to claim the disabled element of Working Tax Credit as I was led to believe that i was allowed to claim it.

    I filled all the forms in and sent them off and the DWP called me and told me that I was able to claim the above and ever since about 3 years ago (a short while after the Tory Government got in) I have been denied this WTC because apparently I am/was no longer disabled!

    My eye sight will NEVER get better and it is a documented permanent condition but according to the DWP I now owe them over £4000 in over

    About a month ago I started receiving letters and phone calls from Rossendale’s debt recovery agency and I supplied them also with the
    documented medical evidence that I am blind in one eye and it will never
    improve but they still continue to hound me for the back pay.

    I have tried to speak with the DWP and actually got nowhere,

    I am running out of patience, can anyone help me?

    I work full time and I pay my taxes as I am supposed to do but my question is – is this legal? Can they really reclaim money from me that is legally mine? Is it my fault that they got their sums wrong?

    Any help is very much appreciated.

    I am led to believe that unless I have been served with a court rit or been found guilty in a court of law then there is nothing that they can do?

    Thank you for reading and I look forward to any feedback from
    you nice people.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Martin,

      Thank you for your message.

      I’m sorry to hear about this situation, it must be very stressful and frustrating to deal with.

      As a debt advice charity our expertise is in helping people pay back what they owe. As you’re disputing
      that you owe this debt, we’d suggest getting in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for further assistance.

      You might find it useful to read this page on their website:

      If it turns out you do need to repay the debt and are worried about how it’ll affect you financially, this is where we can help.

      If you give our Helpline a call one of our advisors will help you put together sustainable budget and can recommend any debt solutions that may be available to you. You can find out how to get in touch with us here:

      I hope this helps,


    • Msw3681 sw

      Hiya, this is a deliberate ploy to take back what you were legally entitled to. It is now very common. You were clearly entitled to you in the first place, as they agreed and paid you. They do this to many benefit claimants in order to claw back benefits, sanctioning is their favourite game. They did this to me with tax credits, so I know how worrying and stressful it is. Sadly, this type of behaviour by the DWP is on the rise fuelled by IDS.

  • Adam Andrews

    Hi i currently owe a company £115 in subscription fees and i am unable to pay it. They are now threatening to pass this on to a debt collectors and take legal action. How likely is it that they are just bluffing

    • moneyaware

      Hi Adam,

      It’s impossible to say really. It’s possible that this company could involve debt collectors or legal action if you owe them money. Usually this is something they’d do only after trying to come to an arrangement directly with you.

      So it’s often possible to avoid this sort of thing by coming to an arrangement to reply the debts. If you can’t pay the £115 in one go then you could offer to repay in installments.

      We can help you work out an affordable amount to offer them and give advice about your finances overrall. You can do this using our online advice tool, Debt Remedy ( or by calling our Helpline (

      Kind regards


  • Adnan

    Uninsured vehicle allegations
    Court has deducted £300 from my salary without my permission or notifying me all I got is one letter stating we will take money from your employer. In fact I never drive any car in insured but I am told I was in Posession of car in 2013. Come one you are deducting something from my pay after two years and I have never even been notified or proven guilty. Is my employer suppose to tell me what they are going to pay someone without my consent
    Many thanks

    • moneyaware

      Hi Adnan,

      This does sound very unusual. Usually there would be quite a lot of correspondence about a debt before it got to the stage where payments were deducted from your income.

      You might find it useful to speak with the payroll department at work and ask them for more information. They can also tell you why they didn’t notify you of the deduction sooner.

      The first thing to do when trying to sort out this situation is gather information about what’s gone on, which is what you’re doing now. Once you know more about what’s going on you can look to see what options you’ve got to contest the decisions the courts have made.

      You can call us up for advice on how to deal with your finances now you’re on a much reduced income. Our helpline contact details are here: We can give you free and impartial advice about your finances.

      Kind regards


  • Gb Fam

    I received a letter from “Pastdue” a debt recovery agency saying that I owe Talk Talk £373.60. I haven’t been with Talk Talk in over 3 years and I’m not even entirely sure if I even owed them money… Definitely not £373.60 anyway. The first line says “We have been appointed by Jefferson Capital International owned Talk Talk to recover the account balance of £373.60”

    I’m 21, I don’t have £373.60 lying around to pay a debt I never knew existed and certain I don’t owe. What can I do?

    Also it says on the letter “Administration Fee : £1,007,569,858.00” What is this to do with? At first I thought they said I owed them that and was certain it was a scam but checked on google and apparently “Pastdue” are an actual company. Why are they putting a sum of over 1 billion pound on my letter? I really don’t get it. Help would be greatly appreciated.

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds as though your debt has been passed on to a debt collection agency, which is a standard part of the process a creditor will follow when a debt isn’t paid.

      You mention you had an account with Talk Talk three years ago,
      but don’t think you owed them as much as they claim you do. It’s common for creditors to add clauses to their contracts with customers that allow them to add fees and charges if payments aren’t made, so it could be that you originally owed a smaller amount of money but this has increased over time. With regards to the billion pound admin fee, that’d be extreme by any stretch of the imagination so it’s likely that it’s an error!

      I’d suggest you write to Pastdue to ask them for information
      about the debt, as this will give you a better idea of what the debt is for and whether any fees or charges have been added. We have a template letter which you might find useful to use as a guide:

      If you recognise the debt as being yours, our position as a charity is that you should take reasonable steps to deal with it. Should it
      turn out that you owe the money and will struggle to pay it back, this is something we can help you with. We can have a chat with you in more detail about your financial situation, put together a budget and recommend the best way for you to deal with your debt. We have over 20 years of experience giving free and impartial debt advice to people in similar situations to yours. You
      can read a bit more about the services we offer here:

      Should you need to get in touch with us, you can find our contact details here:

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

  • Lorett Cannas

    ive tried to get a loan and rejected. I have paid to get my credit checked and it appears that there is an unpaid catalogue payment that my daughter took out in my name that has been passed onto a collection agency.
    I have contacted them and they have said I need to contact the police for fraud. obviously I dont want to do that.
    The items purchased came to around £70.00 but with interest and charges the debt stands at £393.00. is there any way I could get the charges reduced or removed?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Lorett,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about your

      If your daughter took out the debt in your name without your
      knowledge, then this could be classed as fraudulent. It’s understandable that you may not wish to report it as fraud, but if this is the case then you’d be responsible for ensuring the debt is dealt with.

      Creditors often add fees and charges if payments aren’t made to
      a debt, and they’re allowed to do this in line with the agreement they have with you. You could contact the creditor to explain the situation and ask if they would consider reducing the added fees and charges, but they’re not obliged to do this.

      If it turns out that you have to pay the full debt back and you’re worried about the impact this could have on your finances, I’d suggest you get in touch with us for free debt advice. We’ll be able to have a chat with you in more detail about your financial situation, put together a budget, and recommend the best way for you to deal with the debt. You can read a bit more about how we can help you here:

      Should you need to contact us, you can find out how to get in
      touch here:

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,


    • John Pullen

      Free credit check at Why pay for your own information. WARNING: This site is owned by a DCA so by checking you may alert them to your current address.

  • James cooke

    Hi its just come to my attention by checking my credit score that I apparently owe about £8000 to a car finance company that I was with over 4 years ago before my car got repossessed. I was told at the time that I wouldn’t have to pay anything as the car would be sold at auction and the money retrieved that way. I’ve been in contact with them today to get them to send all paperwork out to me so I can go through it and see what I signed or if they have anything I did sign. I’ve not heard anything from them for over 3 years until I got intouch with them myself today. Is there anything I can do to not pay this. Thanks.

    • moneyaware

      Hi James,

      Asking for details of the debt first is a good step in this sort of situation. Until you see exactly why they think you owe them this money it’s hard to know what’s gone on.

      It may be that they did sell the car but there was still a debt left on the account and for some reason they’ve not been able to contact yu to tell you about it for all these years.

      When you get the information it should be possible to piece together what’s gone on and find out if you do owe money. It’s worth challenging anything that doesn’t look right. You can make a complaint to the company and if they don’t resolve the complaint to your satisfaction you can ask the Financial Ombudsman to investigate.

      If it turns out that you do owe some money from this debt then I’d recommend contacting us for debt advice. There’s details of how to get in touch here: But I’d wait until you’re sure you do owe them money before starting to repay.

      Kind regards


    • John Pullen

      Dispute the debt with the credit reference agency first. If the debt existed the company would have contacted you before now.

  • mary burke

    Hi there I had initially set up a direct debit with nursing accommodation that been staying in on a monthly basis, but they never took the payments from my bank account, that was for two years, initially the first two payments came out and then stopped. They brought this to my intention last year so a reset up my direct debit and they still havent taken out any money. They keep emailling me but dont have my current address what can they don they have mentioned passing this on to the office. The amount owed is 4000 which I obviously dont have up front.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Mary,

      We’d suggest speaking to the collection company to ask for some more information on this, which should help you get to the bottom of what’s happened.

      If you are liable to repay the amount and you’re not disputing the debt, then we’d be happy to help you look at what’s affordable and offer our advice and support.

      We could help you create a budget that can show how much you can realistically afford to pay which could help you make arrangements. We’ll also be able to explain the debt collection process in more detail and offer specific advice to you.

      To find out how to get in touch, visit for more information.


  • CroydonSurrey


    My parents who are around 60/64 years old have 70k worth of debts, own their own home although with a mortgage.

    My dad recently lost his job and has now run out of money to pay the credit card debts. Currently i’m helping out but it s stretching my cashflow.

    Is it possible for them to stop paying the cards and just pay a smaller amount without them risking the roof over the heads?

    I’ve asked them to apply for pension credit etcetra so that should help but it barely covers their living expenses including the mortgage let alone monthly credit card repayments.

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about your
      parents’ situation.

      We often hear from people who are worried they’ll lose their
      homes if they don’t pay their credit card bills,
      but this is something that’s very rare in our experience.

      Your parents could make reduced payments to their credit card
      companies, but they should be prepared that the creditor could add fees and charges in line with the credit card agreement that could mean the debt increases. To do this could also have a negative impact on their credit files.

      I’d suggest your parents get in touch with us for free and
      impartial debt advice. We’ll be able to have a chat with them in more depth about their finances, put together a budget, and recommend the best way for them to deal with the debt. Although creditors don’t have to stop fees and charges, if they can see your parents have sought professional advice and are taking steps to deal with their debts, then they might be more understanding of
      your parents’ situation. You can find out how to get in touch with us here:

      As you mention, there might be other ways your parents can boost their income, such as seeing what benefits they might be eligible for. This is something an advisor would be able to discuss in more detail with them.

      It’s very generous that you’re helping your parents out, but I’m
      concerned that you say it’s stretching your own budget. As I mentioned above, there’s plenty of ways we can help you to help your parents, so I hope you know this isn’t something you need to deal with alone.

      Kind regards,


    • John Pullen

      Pay the mortgage and any other SECURED debts first. They can default on ALL UNSECURED DEBTS without losing their house. To deal with Debt Collection Agencies simply use Conditional Acceptance 3 letter process as these debts have been purchased and DO NOT STAND UP TO LEGAL questioning…

      • CroydonSurrey

        i’ve added myself to your group. The debt has not been transferred to debt collection agencies at the moment. Currently the returned dd fines are racking up.

      • John Pullen

        Cancel ALL non-essential DD’s, inform your/their bank that you/they are reorganising finances and will not pay any further DD fees. If either of them have ANY form of benefits paid into that account request a refund of ‘Late fees/ overdrawn fees’ on the account. There is a letter on the files in the group to do this. Sit down with your parents and list ALL income and ALL essential outgoings (Include mortgage). You may want to request a ‘payment holiday’ from the mortgage provider if that will help.

      • John Pullen

        ~My comments are being deleted as I have been told stepchange have connections to DCA’s and want to coax people into paying.

      • moneyaware

        Hi there,

        Thanks for your message.

        This is a moderated board and so posts that contravene our social media guidelines may be removed.

        As a charity, we offer free and impartial debt advice, and offer a range of solutions to help people deal with their debts.

        You can read a bit more about how we’re funded here:

        Kind regards, Jen

    • John Pullen

      Any debt of theirs that has not had a payment made on it in 6 years (12 years for secured debt) has become statute barred. Send this letter….

      of the family: [Surname]

      c/o: Address line 1



      P05T C0D3

      [Date In

      CEO Name

      Collection Agency Name

      Address line 1



      P05T C0D3

      By Recorded Delivery

      I/we* do not acknowledge any debt to you or any other
      company or organisation that you claim to be representing

      Dear Sir/Madam

      Acc/Ref No 4563210025897412

      You have contacted us regarding the account with the
      above reference number, which you claim is owed by me/ourselves*. I/we* do not
      acknowledge any debt to you or any other company or organisation that you claim
      to be representing

      I/We* would point out that under the Limitation Act 1980
      Section 5 “an action founded on simple contract shall not be brought after the
      expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.”

      The last payment of this debt was made over six years ago
      and no further written acknowledgement or payment has been made since that

      Unless you can provide evidence of payment by myself/us*
      or written acknowledgement of the debt from me/us* in the relevant period under
      Section 5 of the Limitation Act, I/we suggest that you are no longer able to
      take any court action against us to recover the alleged amount claimed, and
      should you try to proceed with court action I/we* must inform you that I/we*
      shall vigorously defend this action in court citing Section 5 as part of our

      You are also reminded of the FCA Consumer Credit Source
      book (CONC) rules which you are legally obliged to adhere to, and further I am
      fully aware that compliance with the rules is a condition of your FCA Licence:

      Rule 7.15.4 “…a firm must not attempt to recover a
      statute barred debt in England, Wales or Northern Ireland if the lender or
      owner has not been in contact with the customer during the limitation

      Rule 7.15.7 “It is misleading for a firm to suggest
      or state that a customer may be the subject of court action for the sum of the
      statute barred debt when the firm knows, or reasonably ought to know, that the
      relevant limitation period has expired.”

      Rule 7.15.8 “A firm must not continue to demand
      payment from a customer after the customer has stated that he will not be
      paying the debt because it is statute barred.”

      Should you choose to ignore the above, or attempt to
      circumvent the rules I will uses this as a defence, and further I will draw
      this breach to the attention of the FCA Compliance Team

      We await your written confirmation that no further
      contact will be made concerning the above account and confirmation that this
      matter is now closed.

      I/We* look forward to your reply.

      Yours faithfully

      Mr A N Other

      * Delete as appropriate

      Who do I send it to?

      You send this to the creditor
      that OWNS the debt, and a copy to any DCA that is chasing on their behalf,
      informing the DCA that the debt is in dispute.

      Using “Without
      Prejudice” on the letter

      You will see that it does not
      state “Without Prejudice”, this is because a DCA/Creditor/Solicitor
      can request that a court rule that evidence submitted “Without
      Prejudice” should be rejected. Unless YOU have informed the court in
      advance about a court case involving HMRC, where the courts ruled that
      “Without Prejudice” letters could be used in court, the court is
      obliged to exclude these letters. Please do not loose your evidence in advance!

  • Cliff

    Can a third party debt recovery company legally take you to court if they do not directly have ownership of the debt they have obtained from your original debtor?

    • moneyaware

      Hi there Cliff, thanks for getting in touch.

      Once a debt collector takes over any efforts to collect on a
      debt that you owe, they are within their rights to escalate to County court if you’re unable to come to an agreement on payments. Once a debt goes to County court, you can still negotiate a monthly payment that is affordable for you.

      If you’re struggling with debt at the moment, please know that
      we can help. Visit our contact us page for more information:

      Kind regards


      A new comment was posted on StepChange MoneyAware


      Can a third party debt recovery
      company legally take you to court if they do not directly have ownership
      of the debt they have obtained from your original debtor?

      2:14 p.m., Tuesday Sept. 8 | Other comments
      by Cliff

      Reply to Cliff

      Moderate this comment by email

      address: | IP address:

      Reply to
      this email with “Delete”, “Approve”, or “Spam”, or moderate from the Disqus moderation panel.

      • Cliff

        I hear what you are saying but how can they claim that the debt is there’s if I have never agreed or ever had any communication/agreement with them. If what you say is correct it opens an all mighty can of worms based on what you are claiming. for instance, If am owed money and I decide to assign someone else to claim the debt from the debtor, you say that is right? Surely that cannot be right if they have no contract or agreement and if so how would they fair in court if they were to pursue through the county court?
        What rights do they have?

      • moneyaware

        Hi Cliff,

        Ultimately the decision to repay a debt, or not
        admit liability for a debt based on these types of technicalities is your own decision.

        It may also be mentioned in the original terms and
        conditions of the credit agreement that the debt can be passed to a third-party.

        Our experience of these sorts of situations is that they usually end up being seen as unsuitable reasons for a defence, if the debt goes to a county court.

        As a charity we are here to help if you’re looking
        to repay your debts but are struggling to pay what you owe. We’re unable offer legal advice on debts or how to dispute them, but we do try and offer as much information as possible so that you can make a decision on whether you pay a debt back or not.

        I hope this helps,


    • John Pullen

      DO NOT PAY THEM! Visit this page for the Conditional Acceptance 3 letter process to debt-free living….

  • boby

    hello, i would like some advice if possible.Last year i had a mobile contract wich i couldn’t pay anymore because i didn’t have any job so I left the country.
    this year i came back and i’m working but I had receved 2 letters from a debt agency regarding to pay them around 700£. I didn’t called the agency yet,but i would like to pay the debt but not whole sum of money because I simply don’t have the money yet. Can I make a monthly aggreament with them? I don’t want them to freeze my bank account. Can I ask how long it takes for them to take money from my account, I have seen than we have the same bank so I understanded that is easier for them. Best regards and hoping for a reply.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Boby,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      It’s normally possible for you to make an arrangement with the company who is now dealing with the debt. We’d suggest getting in touch with them, explaining your situation and offering a realistic and affordable repayment. In a lot of cases, this is all you need to do.

      It’s not possible for a creditor to simply access or ‘freeze’ your bank accounts under these circumstances, creditors follow a normal collections process, which usually involves asking you to make payments and sometimes passing the debt onto a third-party collection company.

      If you’re having difficulties making an arrangement with the collection agency, or you’re not sure what to offer then we can help. You can find out how to get in touch with us by visiting our website at

      I hope this helps,


    • John Pullen

      DO NOT PAY THEM! Visit this page for the Conditional Acceptance 3 letter process to debt-free living….

  • #musicworldsMTV

    hi need some advice about my halifax credi tcard that i have defaulted on 2 years ago and being paying £1.00 token payments due to my business collapsed because of recession, They sold the debt to Cabot etc where i heard they could change the unsecured debt to a secured one by charging order and then possible order of sale. I can only still pay the £1.00 token payment and I do have equity in house, so could they seriously take my home, even though i never signed for a secure borrowing. Is there any legal way to stop them doing this, it seems crazy the banks and recession caused my loss of work adn now this. I dont have the money to move , rent as it is more then my mortgage etc, seriously worried

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      A charging order is just one of the ways that a debt can be enforced, by securing the debt to your property. This means if you sell or remortgage your home before the debt is cleared the charging order will be paid off from the proceeds.

      A creditor can only get a charging order if they’ve already applied for a County Court judgment (CCJ) and you didn’t pay the amount the court ordered.

      A charging order turns an unsecured debt into a secured debt. However it does not always mean you will lose your home.

      We’d recommend reading our advice on charging orders on our website at:

      While creditors are allowed to apply for a charging order in some cases, there are steps you can take to help you deal with debts that may help the situation.

      If you’re still making token payments, there could be other solutions we could discuss with you, and we’d be happy to offer our free, impartial and expert advice.

      You can find out more about how to contact us, and how we can help by visiting our website at

      I hope this helps, please contact is if you need further advice.


      • John Pullen

        If your property is jointly owned a creditor will not be able to obtain a CO against you, they can only get what is called a restriction.

        The laws on Restrictions are totally different to Orders, the most important being there is NO OBLIGATION for you to pay any of the proceeds of the sale to the creditor.

        However, during the whole court process you go through the reference from all parties (especially the creditor) will be to charging order and NOT to restriction. This is done in order to decieve you believing you are stuck with a CO.

        However, not all solicitors are aware of the law in this regard and it is important that you raise this point with them in the first instance before proceeding with them



        The restriction which can be entered on the register where a charging order is made against one of joint proprietors is in the following form :-
        No disposition of the registered estate is to be registered without a certificate signed by the applicant for registration or his conveyancer that written notice of the disposition was given to [name of person with the benefit of the charging order] at [address for service], being the person with the benefit of [an interim] [a final] charging order on the beneficial interest of (name of judgment debtor) made by the (name of court) on (date) (Court reference.…).
        You are therefore correct in saying that when the Land Registry receives an application to register, for example a transfer, we will not ask to see the consent of the person who has the benefit of the charging order. We will only want a certificate from the applicant for registration or his conveyancer that the person who has the benefit of the charging order has been given written notice of the transfer.

        If both joint owners sell the land to a third party the restriction will be cancelled when the transfer to the purchasers is registered.

  • jayne

    My brother owed on a credit card and also his rent. They sent letters and bailiffs to my house saying because he was associated with me I had to prove I didnt know where he was. They also did it to our grandmother too looking for him

    • moneyaware

      Hi Jayne,

      Thanks for your email.

      I’m sorry to hear about this situation.

      Bailiffs aren’t supposed to talk to anyone else about someone’s debt, other than the person that the debt belongs to.

      If your brother has lived with you or your grandmother, this could be how they’ve got your addresses.

      You might find it useful to know that you won’t be liable for the debt unless it’s a joint debt between you and your brother. This means the bailiff can’t chase you for it.

      If you’re unhappy with the actions of the bailiff I’d suggest finding out who they work for and making a formal complaint. If you decide to go ahead with this, it’s worth doing it in writing and keeping a record of everything you send and receive from the company.

      If you’ve got any more questions please let us know.


      • jayne

        He has never lived with me or our grandmother. He once used my address as a c/o with the job centre as a one off when him and his wife split up briefly but that was 4 yrs ago. We ended up clearing his debt using my grans savings and he paid her back because we were that scared by the companies actions. This was mbna and wdh

      • moneyaware

        Hi Jayne,

        I’m sorry to hear about this situation, it must have been very worrying for you.

        If your brother has never lived with you or your grandma then I’d suggest you make a complaint to the companies involved.

        You can find out a bit more about how to do this here:

        I hope this helps,


      • jayne

        Its drydens fairfax solicitors

    • John Pullen
    • Msw3681 sw

      You do not have to prove anything to them. They are not suppose to contact family and friends either.