If you owe money and you’re struggling to pay it back, there are actions you can take.
Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice if you have an urgent debt problem. This could be, for example, if:
Collect together all the information about your debts, such as contracts, bills and statements. Your debts might for example include:
Make a list of your debts and write down the details of each debt. These details might include:
Try not to worry when you see all your debts written down - the important thing is that you're sorting them out.
If you’re not sure if you have to pay a debt, check if the law says you have to.
Credit reports show what money you’ve borrowed and paid back. It’s a good idea to get copies of your credit reports to check you’ve got the right details for all your debts.
You can get free copies of your credit reports from the 3 credit agencies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit). Ask for the 'statutory report'. It’s worth getting reports from all 3 agencies as they sometimes have different information.
Your credit reports might not have details of all your debts, so you should also look at the information your creditors have sent you. Credit reports don’t normally show changes in the last 4 to 6 weeks. They also won’t show if you have:
Your creditors have a limited time to take you to court to repay a debt. For most debts, the time limit is 6 years. The time limit restarts if you write to your creditor or make a payment.
If you haven’t got court papers after 6 years, your creditor usually can’t take you to court.
Don’t contact the creditor if:
You should usually try to contact your creditors - unless the time limit for them going to court has passed or will pass soon.
Tell them you’re trying to deal with your debts. Ask them to:
It’s usually better to write or send an email, so you have a record of what they say. You can use our template letter to help you write to them.
Don’t write to your creditors if your debt is old and you think it might be statute barred or soon will be.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to deal with the debts on your list. If you make a plan and stick to it, any debt problem can be managed. The next step is to check which debts to deal with first.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help dealing with your debts, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.
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