This section helps those experiencing difficulties keeping up with bills, and signposts to trustworthy sources of expert help and advice.
What the law says
While lenders have a right to get back what you owe them, their attempts to recover a debt must not become harassment. For example, if debt collectors are phoning you late at night or too often at home or work, these actions may be considered as harassment. If you feel you are being harassed, you should complain to Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or in the most extreme cases, to the Police Service immediately on 101.
A court can re-open a credit agreement if it considers the relationship between a lender and a borrower arising out of a credit agreement is unfair. The unfairness in an agreement may be the result of some of its terms or because of the way in which the lender has exercised or enforced any of their rights under the agreement. If you believe your agreement is unfair contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.
All those involved in offering regulated credit agreements, or other regulated activities associated with consumer credit (e.g. credit broking, debt collection) need to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), unless an exclusion or exemption applies. The FCA will authorise a firm if it meets the ‘threshold conditions’. If at any stage you feel that a lender or a debt collector is acting unfairly or generally behaving badly, you should report this to Consumerline.
Problems with debt
If you are experiencing difficulties keeping up with bills and financial commitments, there are a number of free to use organisations that will be able to provide expert advice, guidance and support:
Advice NI is a membership organisation for the independent advice network in Northern Ireland. Their members offer free, independent, high quality advice on issues such as benefits, debt, housing, employment, tax and consumer rights.
Advice NI also provides a range of advice services, which you can access through a dedicated Freephone or email:
- Debt and Money, 0800 028 1881 or [email protected]
- Tax and Benefits, 0800 988 2377 or [email protected]
- Welfare Reform 0808 802 0020 or [email protected]
- Business Debt 0800 083 8018 or [email protected]
You can find further information on Advice NI’s services or your nearest advice centre on their website – www.adviceni.net
Christians Against Poverty can help if you are feeling the weight of debt, struggling to find work or just need a bit of help budgeting. They provide free Debt Help, Job Clubs and CAP Money Courses. CAP can provide a home visit, work out a realistic budget that prioritises your essential bills and can negotiate affordable payments with each creditor. CAP can help you to set up a debt management plan, walk you through insolvency options and you will be supported by CAP until you are debt free.
All of their services are given freely for everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background.
To find out where your nearest Debt Centre, Job Club or CAP Money Course is then just use the postcode search on their website: https://capuk.org/i-want-help or call CAP free on 0800 328 0006
For over 25 years, StepChange Debt Charity has been helping people resolve problems, repay debts and rebuild lives. They are the UK’s largest provider of genuinely free independent debt advice and managed solutions, helping over 620,000 people a year.
Contact: Freephone 0800 138 1111
The Money and Pensions Service exists to enable people to make the most of their money and pensions. The service was created under the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 and brings together the services of the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service, and Pension Wise.
They work across five key areas:
- Pensions guidance – including information about workplace and personal pensions: https://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/
- Money guidance – information designed to enhance people's understanding and knowledge of financial matters and day-to-day money management skills: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en
- Debt advice - to provide people in England with information and advice on debt: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/debt-advice-locator
- And consumer protection and strategy.