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

posted by in Living with debt

Last updated: 5th September 2016

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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 debts.

Please note: the advice below talks about what creditors can do with unsecured debts. There’s more on our website about priority debts and arrears.

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’s owed on the credit card. They don’t need permission from you, but they do need to warn you in advance. This is called the bank’s right of offset.
  5. They can issue a default notice. These are usually sent after 3-6 missed payments, and serve as a warning that your account is about to default. The default is usually granted if you don’t bring it up to date within two weeks. It’ll appear on your credit file for six years and will make it harder to get credit for that time.
  6. They can pass the debt on to a debt collection agency. These don’t have any more legal powers than the creditor, but they may be more persistent in contacting you.
  7. They can apply for a County Court judgment(CCJ). If you receive any court forms you must fill them in and make an offer of repayment. The court will set a repayment and it’s important that you stick to this, or the creditor can take further action
  8. They could issue a statutory demand. This is the first step they can take towards applying to make you bankrupt. This is only possible with debts over £5,000 and fortunately isn’t very common.

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. If you want, you can request that they only contact you in writing, but make sure you open your mail if you do this. You can read more about debt collection guidelines on the Financial Conduct Authority website (although this information is a bit dry). We also have more about your rights when dealing with creditors on our website.
  2. They cannot break data protection laws, so they cannot speak to your family, friends, neighbours or an employer without your permission.
  3. They cannot pretend to possess legal powers they don’t have, for example by making their letters look like court documents or claiming they can send bailiffs to your property without a court order.
  4. They cannot add excessive amounts of interest or charges. They can’t increase the rate of interest because you’ve missed payments. And they can’t add collection charges which are more than the costs to them, so for example a creditor couldn’t add £100 for sending a letter to you which will have cost them much less than this.
  5. They cannot stalk you on social media – see our blogpost 10 ways to stop debt collectors finding you on social media.
  6. Sometimes creditors may not be nice to speak to, but they can’t be threatening or abusive to you, and they can’t lie to you.

In practice, you’ll find many creditors are more reasonable than you might expect, especially if you explain your situation and let them know you’re getting help to try and sort it out.Save

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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.

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Tags Living with debt
  • Norm_ski

    I have some debts over 6 years old. I’ve been paying small amounts to various collections agencies (some of whom have sold it on to other agencies) regularly. My question is: Do they still have a right to come after me for payments despite the original debt(s) being Statute Barred?

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Certain debts become statute barred if you don’t:

      Make a payment to the debt for six years
      Contact the creditor about the debt for six years
      And if the creditor doesn’t start court action to retrieve the debt

      You can read more about statute barred debts and the criteria that makes them become statute barred on our website here:

      https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/can-i-write-off-debt/statute-barred-debt.aspx

      If a debt is passed onto a collection agency, making payments to them will still count as payments to the debt. This means it won’t be statute barred if you’ve been making payments to it regularly.

      I hope this helps,

      Jen

      • Norm_ski

        Thanks Jen. Totally cleared that up for me.

  • kitchenloren2

    Hi,

    I moved out of my apartment last year and now have tenants in there. When we moved we forgot to let the agency who deal with our ground rent know we had moved. We have just let them know now and the company who dealt with it dont anymore and transferred all details onto the new company. The new company have therefore sent letters to our property in regards to the payment of the ground rent but we obviously have not seen them and our tenants never told us about them.
    We have now been hit with various fees in regards to sending out legal letter, final notice letters and now solicitors fees, all things we never knew about as we would have paid straight away.
    As soon as we found all this out I have paid the fee to make sure it didnt rise in cost but I have told them I will be contesting the fee as no one tried to phone us or email us using other forms of contacts that was transferred over from the first company. Am i right in doing this?

  • Me and my wife own an end terrace upstairs flat. We have allways had problems with our neighbours who live downstairs for a few years. (We share a front door and lobby with two seperate inner doors inside leading to both flats).

    We constantly recive letters stating “to the occupiers of 25” with huge debts, baylif letters and misspayments from downstairs. They pay zero bills and tend to put the address 25 and not there flat no.

    Recently they have been reciving letters saying that they are going to try to gain access through the courts to our property by force to sieze goods. We are worried that although we owe nothing that they will break our joint front door and try to take our stuff.

    Should we be opening some of there mail to set them clear that we are seperate flats and actually not one property? I know that we shouldnt really open there mail and I have only been opening mail sent to the occupier.

    They theow there mail in the trash before we get home and ignore there doorbell during the day. We work during the day so we miss most of the door calls and mail.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thanks for your comment. I can see that this must be a concern.

      I wouldn’t recommend opening your neighbour’s mail. I can understand the temptation but it could potentially be against the law.

      There is some useful advice on the Citizen’s Advice website about dealing with post that isn’t addressed to you: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/post/stop-getting-someone-elses-post/.

      If correspondence is coming to you because it’s not correctly addressed you could put it back in the post with the right address written on. If you were on good terms with your neighbour it would usually be easier to just pass the post on and ask them to update their address but it sounds like that might not work in your situation.

      If companies are writing to “the occupier” then you could try contacting that company to make it clear how the property is divided up to avoid any confusion. They won’t be able to discuss details of any accounts for privacy reasons, but you may be able to ask them to add a note to their records.

      I don’t know if this will help, but there may be changes you can make to the signs on the property to make it as clear as possible that there are two separate flats within the property.

      Kind regards

      James

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  • Laura Harris

    Hi,I don’t know if this is the right forum but I am owed money by someone and am considering taking them to small claims court. I have looked them up on the insolvency register and can see that they entered into an insolvency agreement back in Jan 16. They have got into debt with me since then.
    I have also looked them up on Registry Trust Limited and can see they currently have 7 court orders against them for money. 1 of which is ‘satisfied’ but 6 of which aren’t. One of them is dated since the IVA commenced.
    Im not sure what to do. They owe me about £3k which I had saved. They say they don’t currently have a job. Im just not sure what is the best route to go about trying to get some of my money back? Through small claims (and just adding another court order..)? Can you recommend who it might be best for me to speak to?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for posting. We tend to give advice to people in debt rather than those owed money, but I’ll do what I can to help.

      Generally speaking it’s better to try and deal with debts without involving the courts. Trying to help the person that owes you money come to a reasonable agreement to repay is usually a good first step. However, I suspect you wouldn’t have posted your comment here if this tactic was likely to work.

      There’s some good advice about ways to get back money you’re owed on the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/options-if-youre-owed-money.

      Kind regards

      James

  • wasim

    hi i have a small debt with a loan company i had a direct debit set up with them but cancelled it can they still come in my account to take money out in different methods
    way

    • moneyaware

      Hi Wasim,

      They would need a way to access your bank account. If your loan is with the same bank as your current account they could just go in and help themselves, otherwise they’d need your permission.

      If you’re struggling to pay your loan it may be a sign that you need debt advice. We can help, there’s more information on our main website: https://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Debtadvice.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Ryan Baz Willetts

    Hi I have a morgage shortfall debt that hasn’t been acknowledged or any contact with creditor for 6 years in about 5 months. I applied for a loan at my current address and about a week later had a letter from the creditors demanding payment. I haven’t heard a thing from them in over 5 years. When would be the barred limit on this debt? Thanks

  • Clare Rush

    My son is at uni however his credit cards are both registered to our home address. He is behind with both and ignores their letters to get in touch to sort it out. They’ve sent several default notices. The late payment charges and his failure to pay anything at all has taken 1 over the limit so there are further charges for that too. One account has now been passed to debt collectors. Are we liable as parents for this debt? Can they come to our house and take goods to the value of what he owes?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Clare,

      I’m sorry to hear about this situation.

      These days, debts are linked to the individual that took them out rather than the address used.

      Unless you and your son are financially linked, for example you have a joint account, you shouldn’t be liable for the debt.

      If your son ignores the debt the creditor could begin court action to get him to repay it through a County Court judgment (CCJ). If the CCJ is ignored the creditor may use bailiffs. However, they’d only be able to take belongings owned by your son.

      We have a section on our website about the debt collection process. You may find it useful to read:

      https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection.aspx

      If you can, I’d suggest you encourage your son to deal with his debts. We have an online debt help tool that he may find useful:

      https://www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy.aspx

      I hope this helps but if you have more questions please let us know.

      Kind regards,

      Jen

      • Clare Rush

        Thank you so much for the swift response. That is very reassuring. I will check out the links. Much appreciated

  • Michael Mc Donald

    I have been paying minimum payments on my credit card and never missed a payment , my bank is now saying they want me to pay £460 by the end of the month for some reason (payments are normally £79 odd ) – i only get £280 a month as unemployed due to illness and have an appeal lodged – so no way i can give them that kind of payment , can my bank do this if i am paying what i am suppose to ?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Michael,

      I think it would be worth getting in touch with the bank to clarify why they want such a large payment. The minimum payments for credit cards are usually a percentage of the amount you owe. I wouldn’t expect a huge jump unless the balance on the card had gone up by a similar proportion.

      Talking to them and working out why they’re asking for so much should help you to understand the next steps. If there’s a good reason for them wanting such a high payment then you can explain that you’re not in a position to make that payment and see if they can negotiate something more affordable.

      If you’d like some advice about dealing with your debts I’d recommend getting in touch with us for in depth advice. Here’s more information about how we can help: https://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Debtadvice.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Phil Blanshard

    HI, In around December last year I took out finance from Caversham finance on an electrical household product from a Brighthouse store near me.Just after Christmas i missed ONE payment,i amended it shortly afterwards but they were rude about it at the time,even threatening to take the product back.anyway i told them straight that’s not happening,and we ended up agreeing a date for payment which i stuck to.I haven’t missed a payment since and they keep offering me more credit.My issue is that in the time between when i initially missed the payment and rectifying it, Caversham finance lowered my credit rating by a massive 29 points,and its only gone up 2 points since then,(i’m not sure if Caversham put it up by two or if that was another company)it seems excessive i think being penalized like this is unfair, i’m sure there is something i can do to get them to put it back to where it was?but i don’t know where i stand, have they acted unlawfully or are they perfectly within their rights and the law,what can and cant creditors do and what are our rights when it comes to our credit ratings? Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Aurimas Kaunas

    Good Evening. I am pursued by debt collectors to pay energy bill for the property I never rented. My friend rented it, payed all bills. I stayed at his place for couple of months, but I was not officially in the list of people who lived in that property. I do not have a tenancy agreement that I lived somewhere else during the time that bill was on my name. What should I do?

  • Liz Phillips

    Hi , I’m wondering if anyone can help me , can a loan company call a land line number that is connected to the address of the debtor , when it was not provided by the debtor ?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Creditors should contact you on the number you provided them
      with.

      If they’re unable to reach you, they may use information on your
      credit file to find out how to get in touch with you.

      If you’re unhappy with the way your creditor has acted, it may
      be worth filing a complaint.

      You can also ask them to only contact you using the information you provided.

      There’s more information about calls from creditors on our
      website:

      https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection/phone-calls-about-debt.aspx

      I hope this helps,

      Jen

  • Debs Carvey

    hi
    I have a debt with a company called Mortimer clark I have sent them my incomings and outgoing forms numerous times and offered them £20 a month more than I can really afford, and they never reply saying that yes they will accept , they now sent out a letter saying its from a court when I know its them and added almost £200 on top , can they do this ?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Debs, thanks for posting.

      If you’ve received a default notice on the debt that Mortimer Clark are collecting for, and the £20 per month you’re offering is less than the agreed minimal payment, then Mortimer Clark are within their rights to escalate the debt to County court (this is the case whenever the default notice is issued, which is usually after three missed or reduced payments on a consumer debt such as a loan, credit card or store card).

      It’s important that you look at the paperwork you’ve been sent carefully just in case it’s actually from a County court. Usually when a creditor takes a debt to county court, the person in debt (the claimant) is sent a blue form called an N1 claim form. They’re expected to fill in this form detailing their income and expenditure and return it with an offer of payment within 14 days. We have a handy guide to CCJs and related paperwork here: https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/ccj.aspx

      If you’re struggling with debt, please know that we can help. Our online advice tool Debt Remedy can hlep you put together a personal action plan in around 20 minutes: https://www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy.aspx

      Kind regards

      Rachel

  • John

    Hi there I have left the country and have four credit cards and a overdrawn current account I can’t pay back I have moved to another country to immigrate.

    The cards home address is my parents house. They can’t go around to their house take their possessions can they???

    Also can they make me come back to the UK to go to court?

    I’ve heard they can only take you to court if they have actually given you a written warning???
    Which I obviously haven’t receive and I have told my family they don’t have permission to open my mail.
    I also need them to stop contacting my family as it’s not their problem how can I do this????

    Thanks I hope I have explain by problems well enough
    cheers

    • moneyaware

      Hi John,

      If your creditors don’t know you’ve left the country they’ll continue to follow their usual debt collection process. This means they could pass your debt to debt collectors or try to get a County Court judgment (CCJ) for the debt.

      The court papers have to be sent to your last known address but there’s no requirement for them to have proof you’ve opened the letters. So they could in theory obtain a CCJ for these debts if they don’t know you’ve moved abroad.

      If they get a CCJ and you don’t make payments to these debts they could go back to court to request bailiffs be sent to enforce the debt. This will often mean a visit to your property to try to arrange payment.

      The above scenario makes a few assumptions and might not happen, but it’s possible that a bailiff could visit your parent’s property. They wouldn’t have any rights to enter the property or remove goods in the above example though.

      If you let your creditors know your new address then they would have the option to pursue you for the debt in the country you now live in, but couldn’t apply for a CCJ in England.

      So they can’t make you come back to the UK to go to court but they could pursue you for the debt in the country you’ve moved to. How they do this will depend on how debts are collected in your new country as well as agreements between the UK and where you now live.

      The easiest way to stop your creditors contacting your family would be to inform them of your new address and contact details. Then they’ll contact you instead of them.

      There’s more information about dealing with debts when you live abroad on our main website: https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/dealing-with-uk-debts-abroad.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

      • LisaPat

        Wow. You answered my question. They can get a CCJ without proof that I received the letter? This is the FIRST letter I received from them ever. They didn’t even include an amount or a company! I am not answering this letter. I cant imagine that they would go through all that trouble being that I never had a balance higher than $1000 on any credit card. I don’t know of any that I haven’t paid either.

  • Claire

    Hi BT wanted to charge me £30+ to turn off my fibre internet when I canceled due to moving, which I think is ridiculous. They told me my last direct debit would go out on 10th or so of January which would include this fee so I canceled it a few days after. It was only slightly more than my monthly direct debit but I didn’t think anything of it.

    My internet finished at the end of January anyway and we moved on 13th. I’ve received an email today that went into my junk to say they’ve passed it onto a debt collection agency but they don’t have my new address so I haven’t received any letters or anything.

    Will they chase me for it as they don’t have my new address? What happens if I don’t pay it?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Claire,

      It’s worth checking your contract with BT to see if it mentions the charge for disconnecting your internet. If it’s in the terms and conditions you’ll have agreed to it when you opened the account with them.

      It’s seen as your responsibility to keep your contact details updated with your creditors. This is so they can contact you about your debt and any accounts you have with them. This is important because missing payments towards debts could lead to court action – and you might not receive notification about this if you haven’t provided your recent address.

      If you don’t pay the debt it could lead to further action being taken by the debt collection agency. You can find out more about the debt collection process, and what creditors can do, on our website:

      https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection.aspx

      Kind regards,

      Jen

  • BDBinc

    How about a new approach to those fraudsters and ” debt collectors” that do not hold a patent on the money (the intangibles credit/debt )monopoly.
    http://omnithought.org/debt-elimination-how-to-stop-debt-collectors-from-stealing-draining-your-energy-money/4574

  • Pete

    Hey I have a received a letter from Capquest, who are debt recovery. They state that I owe just under £2500, it is all to do with a phone contract that was taken out late 2011 with orange. The phone was not taken out with any insurance and within a week of having the phone it was broken in an accident. I therefore did not get a new phone as I couldn’t afford one being a student. As a result I missed a number of payments until the debt was passed further to debt collection agencies in 2012 and 2013. I even received bailiff letters threatening to take me to court. So I got in contact with a solicitor and explained my situation. They sent a letter on my behalf and as a result I had not heard anything until today 23/03/2017. This letter that I received is now from a completely different debt recovery agency, that one being Capquest.

    where do I stand? As I simply do not have the money. I believe a payment has not made since the phone was taken out in December 2011.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Pete,

      If you took out the phone contract you’ll have agreed to make payments to the phone company for the term of the contract.

      This means you’ll be liable for the payments you’ve missed. It sounds like the phone company have sold the debt on to a collection agency. If this is the case, you should make payments to the collection agency that is currently dealing with the debt.

      If you’re worried about the impact paying the debt will have on your finances, you could show them a copy of your budget and ask for a repayment plan. You can find out more about this on our website:

      https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/arranging-payment-with-creditors.aspx

      Kind regards,

      Jen

  • LisaPat

    I received a letter today from some law office representing a collection agency. I don’t even recognize this name. It says I’m in default for failing to enter a written appearance? Unless I act within 10 days, a judgement will be entered against me? This is the very first letter I have ever received. It doesn’t even list the name of the company I supposedly owe money or the amount I owe. It just says the name of the collection agency vs me. I am not answering this letter. I don’t understand how they can enter a judgement against me without serving me or at least sending notice of a hearing by certified mail. When I was in college years ago, I defaulted on a credit card. That was the ONLY time. They had a constable come to my house to SERVE ME papers.. this was just a random letter. If I don’t go, how could they prove I even got it? I’m not going b/c who knows what my ex did in my name. I’m not dealing with it. Any ideas??

    • moneyaware

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your message.

      We’re a UK debt charity so our advice is based on UK debt regulations. You mentioned that your credit limit was never higher than $1000 – which suggests your debt was not taken out in the UK. If this is the case we wouldn’t be able to offer advice.

      If your debt was taken out in the UK please let us know and we may be able to help.

      Kind regards,

      Jen

  • Ahmed

    Hi there.
    I enrolled on a programme of studies Masters but left on the first day of the programme. I made my intention clear that I was leaving in my email and phone call communication with the university in September well within the notice period. However, come December the Finance department contacted me saying I am in debt and I need to sort out payment of well over £1000. In my numerous email communication with the tutors and with the course directors nobody mentioned to me that there was a withdrawal form. Because they were a small institution and various people copied into emails, I thought all the people concerned have been informed.
    I also back in September called them to clarify my position. However, they seem to listen less and I have provided all my evidence to them saying that in September, October, November and December 2016 I have fully cleared it. But they go that it is still outside the two weeks timeframe, even through another finance advisor informed that I needed an email somewhere in September which I have provided them.
    Right now they are demanding payment, otherwise debt collection agency will have my details to collect the money owed. In my recent communication with them I asked them if I can come and do the course because if they charging me then I should be able to finish it even though I never attended and cancelled the course in September on the first day of it starting.
    I have never had any debts but this is really stressing me out, I feel that this is daylight robbery:
    I asked for them to pass my case over the university Chancellor, but I had no further replies. It is very poor all round.
    Can someone please help me with the following:
    – What are my rights?
    – How badly will my credit ratings be affected?
    – Do I make the payments?
    – What actions can I take, as I feel I am being robbed? ( They don’t let me go back and complete it, never explained their withdrawal procedure). I have proof of email communications!
    * Bear in mind that I never had access to Moodle in September just brief things even through I was fully enrolled.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Ahmed,

      Thanks for your message. It sounds like a stressful situation.

      If you disagree about whether you owe a debt or not then the first stage is to dispute it with the organisation asking for money, in your case the university. It sounds like you’ve already explored this with them and haven’t been able to get things resolved.

      There’s an organisation called The Office of the Independent Adjudicator that can investigate complaints against universities. There’s more information on their website here: http://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

      I don’t know all the details, but at this stage it’s possible this disputed debt won’t have affected your credit file. It depends on what information is being reported to credit reference agencies but for a debt to a university it’s common that this wouldn’t show on your credit file at all.

      The easiest way to know for sure would be to check your credit history. You can do that for free using a service called Noddle. Here’s their website: https://www.noddle.co.uk/.

      I would only recommend making payments to this debt if you feel like you want to repay it. By making payments it may send mixed messages if you’re also continuing to dispute the debt.

      I would recommend keeping the university informed of what you’re doing though, so they know you’re not ignoring the debt and that you’re actively disputing it.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Alex Christie

    I have a debt collection agency who want me to phone them, but I just want to use emails. They want my date of birth as well, but phone numbers and birthdays are for friends and family, so I am objectng because I want to keep track of what gets said. What legal powers do the agency have when it comes to my objections? Legal, not whim, sort of thing. Thank you.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Alex,

      Debt collectors are allowed to make phone calls to chase up debts and ask for repayments. However, if you’ve requested they contact using email then I’d hope they’d consider this request, particularly if there are reasons why phone calls might be difficult for you to engage with.

      You could make a complaint to the debt collector if you feel they’ve not responded to your request in an understanding manner. They’d then have to investigate your complaint and respond. This may be enough to get things changed with how your account is handled.

      As for asking about your date of birth, it’s a fairly common security question, so they’re not in the wrong for asking you for this information. However, if you feel uncomfortable giving them this information you could ask if there are other security questions you could answer to verify your identity.

      Companies have a legal obligation to protect their customer’s data, so they will need to perform some checks before talking about your account, but it may be there are other ways to do this.

      I hope this helps.

      James

  • Dragoora Prower

    Words of advice these places don’t say because they side with the creditors,
    There is nothing Creditors or law firms can do other than send letters, they will threaten with court, but they know that they can take you which adds money that you “owe” but they also know that there is a high chance that you won’t pay. it just means they will waste money then sell the debt on to other agencies till one of them gives up.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Dragoora Prower,

      You may have a point that some creditors are put off taking legal action because of the costs involved. As you say, they pay the legal costs up front and then add them to the debt. However, I think it’s an oversimplification to say that companies don’t take debts to court. Every day we speak to people that have received a County Court judgment (CCJ) from companies they have debts with.

      So it’s true to say that companies prefer to set up agreements to repay debts without involving the courts but it’s not true to say they can’t take court action if they want.

      You can find more information about CCJs on our main website: https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/ccj.aspx

      Kind regards

      James

  • Emma Barron

    Hi there,

    My friend missed three payments on her car but has been paying what she can afford (not missing the payments completely but not paying them in full). Today she woke to see a clamp on the car from a debt collection agency. She owes 370 pounds and they want 330 pounds extra for removal of the clamp. Is this legal?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Emma,

      It would depend on the kind of finance agreement used to buy the car, but it is possible for this to happen to cars bought on finance.

      Without knowing all the details I can’t say for sure, but it’s likely that the finance company were within their rights to clamp the car and add the costs on to the debt.

      It may be possible to set up an agreement with the finance company to get the account back in order. Often this involves paying a little bit off the missed payments and charges on top of the usual monthly payment.

      Your friend may find it useful to get debt advice. We can help with this, here’s more information: https://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Debtadvice.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

  • JG

    Can a debt collection agency charge an admin fee and am I liable to pay it?

    They wrote a letter asking for £1008, £200 of which is an “admin fee”, I disputed this with both the original supplier and the dca. I later received a letter asking for £240, £200 of which, is an “admin fee”. Am I legally obliged to pay it?

    • moneyaware

      Hello JG

      Sorry to hear that you’re experiencing issues with a debt collection company. 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, but they can only add amounts which are allowed in the contract you signed with the original creditor. Do you still have a copy of the agreement? If so, check this to make sure the charges are permitted.

      If the debt is still owned by the original creditor they may continue adding interest and charges while the collection agency is contacting you.

      Being contacted by debt collectors is usually a sign that you might need debt advice. It might be a good idea to use our online tool debt remedy to look at your situation in detail and see if there’s a solution that’s right for you: https://www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy.aspx

      I hope this helps,

      Becca