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How to deal with aggressive creditors

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by Startacus Admin

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No one likes having to deal with creditors chasing you for payment. Some creditors are easier to deal with than others, depending on the amount owed, and how assertive they are. Most creditors will stick to sending reminders before further action, while others may pursue applications for court orders, and visits from debt collectors and bailiffs could soon follow.

Occasionally, creditors may take things a little too far, past the point of what is reasonable. If you’re feeling under pressure from your creditors, it can be easy to lose sight of what is and isn’t acceptable action on their part. So, here is a brief breakdown of what, in the UK, is considered aggression and harassment from creditors, care of Lisa Hogg, Director & Licensed Insolvency Practitioner at Wilson Field.

What counts as creditor pressure or aggression?

If you owe money to your creditors, they’re within their rights to encourage you to pay. Examples of action they can take includes:creditors

  • Instructing bailiffs to visit you to collect assets worth the debt’s value.
  • Reminding you to repay, either by telephone during reasonable hours, or by post.
  • Issuing a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or similar court action to encourage repayment.

However, there are boundaries that your creditors shouldn’t overstep when chasing you, and the following action can be considered harassment:

  • Contacting you at unsociable hours, or via social media.
  • Sending bailiffs or debt collectors to your home if the debt is business-related.
  • Making threats, or using threatening language against you, your friends and family.
  • Worsen your situation, i.e., encourage you to take out more credit or pay off more than is affordable for you.
  • Impersonating bailiffs, the court officers or the police, and implying they can enforce legal action outside of their power.

An extended list of what is considered harassment can be found at Citizens Advice.

Should I ignore my creditors?

If you’re under creditor pressure, it could be tempting to ignore your telephone calls, leave your mail unopened, stick your fingers in your ears, and hope that ignoring it will make it go away. Doing so is not a good idea. Ignoring creditors’ notices and warnings will likely worsen the situation and lead to more severe action, especially if the creditor is aggressive.

Although it may not be a pleasant experience, if you find yourself on the receiving end of a CCJ, your first step should be to contact the creditor to try and negotiate a payment plan. If you’re unable to come to an agreement, licensed insolvency practitioners offer formal payment plans. Although you’ll still need your creditor to agree to the arrangement, or if you have multiple creditors, at least 75% of them must agree before it can be actioned.

What action can I take?

If you can’t afford to pay the full amount immediately, payment plans, both formal and informal, allow you to repay your debt in instalments. Specific names and associated creditorsterms will vary depending on what is covered and who the issuer is.

After entering a repayment plan, it should halt the majority of creditor action, and they should only contact you if you fail to meet the repayments.

Occasionally, CCJs will either be addressed to the wrong person, relate to a debt already settled, or specify an incorrect amount. If so, you should apply to the issuing court to get the CCJ removed or set aside. The forms to facilitate this are included in the CCJ paperwork, and you should return it to the court by the date shown.

Summary

While creditors are within their rights to chase you to repay what you owe, you should watch out for signs of aggression. No creditor should resort to making threats, scare you into repaying or pressure you into a worse situation. Ignoring your creditors is never the answer; it will only make things worse. Instead, you should contact them to arrange a payment plan, allowing you to repay your debt in affordable instalments. Licensed insolvency practitioners can also provide these, although your creditors need to agree before any arrangement can come into effect.



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Published on: 13th January 2020

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