If you’re behind with payments and have received an arrears notice as a consequence, it’s in your own best interest to sort things out as quickly possible.
It’s very important that you don’t just simply ignore the problem as doing so could well make things worse.
Here’s a list of how and where to start should you need to start sorting your debt arrears out –
Start by working out how much money you owe. To do this, you will need to make a list of all the organisations whom you owe money to. Should you require help a debt adviser can help you to do this.
Contact the organisations you owe money to. Speak with them, letting them know that you are having problems. As they may be able to discuss options for paying back what you owe.
You must put your priority debts first. Some debts are more urgent than others because the consequences of not paying them can be more serious than it would be for other debts, for example, mortgage, rent, council tax/ rates, or gas or electricity arrears. A debt adviser can help you to budget to keep your finances under control.
Always think very carefully before borrowing money to repay debts. It’s important to get advice before borrowing against your home, as you’ll pay more in the long run and you’ll run the risk of losing your home.
You may be able to ask a court for more time to repay a debt. But only in some circumstances. Speak to a debt adviser before considering court action. Keep copies of letters and emails in case these are needed by the court.
Get free help and advice. Your rights and options depend on the type of agreement, and the law can be complex. You can get free independent help and advice from a number of organisations. (see below)
- Money Advice Service – For free, unbiased and easy-to-access money tools, information and advice, visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk or phone 0300 500 5000 to speak to a Money Adviser
- Money Advice Scotland – If you live in Scotland, phone 0141 572 0237 or visit www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk to find contact details for debt advice in your local area
- Advice NI – Debt Action NI service If you live in Northern Ireland, phone 0800 917 4607, email email@example.com or visit www.debtaction-ni.net for debt advice
- AdviceUK – Member centres offer debt advice including specialist advice for minority communities and people with disabilities – www.adviceuk.org.uk or phone 0300 777 0107
- Christians Against Poverty (CAP) – For free debt advice in your home, check postcode coverage at www.capuk.org then call 0800 328 0006
- Citizens Advice – For advice and information on debt and other topics, visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau (address in the phone book) or go to www.adviceguide.org.uk
- National Debtline – If you live in England, Wales or Scotland phone 0808 808 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.org for debt advice and information.
- StepChange Debt Charity – For debt advice throughout the UK phone 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org