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It might sound like a tough thing to do but in most cases, contacting your creditors to let them know you are struggling is a good idea. The sections below explain in more detail why this is an important step.
However, if you have a debt that is very old and you suddenly get a letter or phone call out of the blue chasing payment, we recommend that you speak to a specialist debt adviser first, just in case the debt is statute barred and not legally enforceable.
When you are dodging paying your bills, the last thing you want to do is have a chat with your creditors. But when you miss payments your creditors are very keen to speak to you. It is a difficult and uncomfortable situation.
Debt Advisers will encourage you to stay in contact with your creditors (unless the debt is potentially statute barred) because it is in your best interests to do so, see our 'Top 10 Reasons to Talk to Creditors' below.
A few creditors might behave unreasonably, take a look at our 'Creditor Harassment' information, you could have cause to complain about a creditor.
Most creditors will usually give you time to get independent debt advice to treat you fairly and help you deal with your debt problems.
It is also a requirement for many creditors to offer breathing space as part of their industry codes of practice.
- Credit Services Association code of practice
- Finance & Leasing Association Code of Conduct
- Lending Standard Board Lending Code PDF
If your creditor is a member of any of the above organisations they should give you breathing space if you let them know you are seeking debt advice. You might be asked for your debt advice case reference number, Money Advice Hub provides a debt advice passport that you can use with all of your creditors. If one of these type of creditors refuses to give you breathing space, you can raise an official complaint with them and if then not satisfied, you can escalate the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Top 10 Reasons to Talk to Creditors
1. Your creditors are more likely to negotiate with you if they know your circumstances.
2. You can request breathing space to give you time to find a debt solution.
3. Interest and charges are more likely to be frozen.
4. If you have a recognised vulnerability like mental health or bereavement , most creditors have different procedures to deal with you sensitively.
5. You can usually put a hold on legal enforcement, such as bailiffs (enforcement agents), attachment of earnings, deductions from benefit etc.
6. You are more likely to be able to defend any legal claims and/or negotiate with a court if you can prove good conduct dealing with your debts.
7. Your creditors will stop bothering you so much when you tell them what is going on.
8. You will be able to gather important information about your debts to help you choose the most suitable debt solution.
9. Your creditors will usually stop making requests for unaffordable repayments.
10. You will be taking control of the situation which will give you greater peace of mind.