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Debt Threats - a quick self help guide

Rating: 13 votes, 4.08 average.
Ok so you’ve Googled “debt help” and found your way here. Welcome to CAG!

Most people come to C.A.G. for help because they are being bullied and threatened by Banks or Debt Collectors and feel they have nowhere to turn. They come wandering onto CAG like lost souls, after sleepless nights, feeling frightened, worried and sometimes in despair.

The sad fact is that these companies rely on the average person’s lack of knowledge of their legal rights to bend the law and frighten them into paying, regardless of their circumstances, whether they can afford it or whether they have a legal right to do so.
This is where CAG can help, and you will get a non judgemental welcome and support in sorting out your problems and redressing the balance against these sometimes unscrupulous, most times uncaring companies.
We find we are writing the same main points repeatedly in the debt forums, so this blog is a quick “get you started” guide.


You will lay yourself open to being bullied and deceived into thinking they can do all manner of dreadful things, which they would never dare put in writing. Additionally, for legal reasons and your records you need to have everything in writing.
If they catch you out, refuse to go through the security questions and tell them “from now on everything must be in writing”. Then hang up.
If the phone calls become a nuisance, send them the TELEPHONE HARRASSMENT letter. Many phone companies operate a choose to refuse type service to block unwelcome calls, costing around £5 per month. There are also excellent call minders such as truecallicon, a small unit which sits between your phone socket and phone. It allows you to designate "starred" callers eg friends and family, and to block or zap unwanted callers. It also features a recording device if you buy the full version.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to speak to a creditor on the phone, *always* record the conversation so that their threats can be proved and their promises cannot be broken.

When communicating with these companies, get into the habit of referring to the debt as “the above account”, not MY account.
Print your name by hand or use an anti tamper signature strip.

“Doorstep callers” have NO RIGHT OF ENTRY. They have no rights whatsoever and cannot come in or take your possessions.
They may tell you they can. They cannot.
They may threaten to send Bailiffs. They cannot send bailiffs UNLESS you already have a county courticon Judgement which you have failed to pay.
If you are threatened with a “Doorstep Visit” don’t worry, they rarely turn up, it’s just another way of frightening you into paying.
Send them THE DOORSTEP VISIT LETTER. If they do (rarely) turn up, simply tell them to leave your property, then close the door and walk away.
They HAVE to go, otherwise you can report them to the Police (not 999 though – ring the local station)

Send a “CCA Request” (for a copy of the Consumer Credit Agreement) using the CCA REQUEST LETTER. Make sure you alter the section number (77 for fixed term loans / 78 for running account credit eg credit cards). Do not sign it, print your name and send by Recorded Delivery, saving the receipt. They have 12 + 2 working days to respond.
If they fail do do so they cannot enforce the debt until they do.

If you dispute the amount and feel that unfair charges or mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance has been added, send them a SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST LETTER.
Again, hand print, don’t sign, enclose a PO for £10 and send recorded. They have 40 days from receipt to comply. The charges / PPI can be claimed back + interest.

If you are unaware of the debt being claimed, ignore the first couple of letters, as it may just be a “fishing trip”. If they become more persistant, send them the PROVE IT LETTER.
We get many people on here being pursued for debts which aren't even theirs, but human nature being what it is, the average person tends to assume that an authoritive letter MUST be right.
They may even pay up when it's not their debt, thinking it must be something they've forgotten about. ....WRONG!!
In other scenarios, Debt Collectors may wrongly ASSUME you are the debtor they seek, via bad tracing practice eg chasing someone with a similar name. The onus is on THEM to prove it's your debt. It's not your responsibility to prove it isn't. Never give them any personal information whatsoever in an attempt to prove who you are. They WILL misuse it.
Always make them prove it's your debt...if they can.

MAKE SURE IT’S NOT statute barredicon
If you have not made a payment or acknowledged a debt for 6 years (5 in Scotland) then it becomes Statute Barred and cannot be collected. Send them the STATUTE BARRED LETTER. For Scotland, send THIS.

Note that even if you inadvertently make a payment AFTER 6 years is up, don’t worry, it remains Statute Barred.

If they continue to harass you report them to the Financial Ombudsmanicon or the Financial Conduct Authority

That should be enough to get you started! Start your own thread in the appropriate forum, eg Debt Collection if you dispute your debts or are being harassed by Debt Collectors, Financial Legal Issues if Court Action has been started or Debt Management if you accept the debt and want help in arranging payment plans or full and final settlements.

Remember this is a self help forum populated by volunteers who have been in similar circumstances as yourself.

Whether you take the advice given (which may vary) is your own decision and responsibility. Do your own research on here and always get professional help if necessary. Arm yourself with knowledge and you will begin to feel confident and in control again.

Finally, never be afraid to ask if there’s anything you don’t understand. YOU need to know what you are doing and why you’re doing it, so you can take control and begin to see the way forward.

And keep your chin up, you’re among friends now!
Elsa x

For the avoidance of doubt this blog is NOT about the avoidance of debt.
It is about ensuring that consumers are not hoodwinked or harassed into paying more than they can afford, or debts they do not legally owe.

No one on earth will ever convince me that owing someone money due to unforeseen changes of circumstance gives anyone the right to harass the debtor to the point of sleepness nights, to being afraid to answer the phone or door, to terror at the threat of homelessness, or to illness, despair and even suicide.
Hopefully now you’ve found CAG you’ll take the first steps in learning how to regain your confidence and, armed with your new knowledge, ensure that you are treated fairly and in accordance with the law.

Further Essential Reading:
Financial Conduct Authority- Consumer Credit Source Book

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Updated 19th December 2014 at 17:10 by citizenB

Tags: 1'", 1à§à¢ Add / Edit Tags
Dealing with money , Caggers' Blogs


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  1. BankFodder's Avatar
    Just to add that people should record their calls whenever possible. No need to giuve warnings if the recordings are for private use - meaning not for publication but merely used to defend yourself.
  2. Undercover-Elsa's Avatar
    Thanks Bankfodder, good point.
    I've seen numerous threads on here where the creditor has agreed payment plans on the phone then failed to honour the arrangement,
    or DCA's making verbal threats of action which they legally cannot take, such as sending the bailiffs when the debtor hasn't even got a CCJ.
  3. sequenci's Avatar
    This is great!
  4. Undercover-Elsa's Avatar
    Awww thanks Seq..not in the same league as your brill series of debt help articles though! Just wanted a quick ref for newbies to save me getting RSI, LOL

    Bankfodder...I was going to add a link to Truecall but can't find it it still available from CAG?
    Updated 23rd November 2010 at 16:54 by Undercover-Elsa
  5. sequenci's Avatar
    Elsa, I think this is easily as good as anything I could do
  6. Undercover-Elsa's Avatar
  7. cheddar's Avatar
    Great entry Elsa, agree with the footnote also. I recently had a company outright accuse me of debt avoidance merely because I CCA'd them...I feel they're going to start throwing that line at people more and more now.
  8. Undercover-Elsa's Avatar
    Too true - they're even using it in witness statements. No mention of responsibility avoidance in that many people end up in that position directly due to the actions of the bank on a National and personal level. But of course when banks run up billions in debt they can't pay it's not called debt avoidance its called a national crisis so we have to cough up to bail out these corporate debt avoiders...
    Updated 27th November 2010 at 09:37 by Undercover-Elsa
  9. dx100uk's Avatar
    what a great blog,

    you might find it helps readers more if you add a clear distinction between dca's and bailffs under doorstep callers.
    this is where many debtors fall for the dca and cought up elsa.

  10. Undercover-Elsa's Avatar
    Another good point, thanks dx!
    I'll do an update on this tomorrow, def needs expanding on these and other points.
    Elsa x
  11. coledog's Avatar
    Excellent - Thanks for this

  12. Hackers's Avatar
    Hi Elsa,

    Great Blog and I wish that I had read it before I sent my own SAR as the template here is much better than the letter I sent recently. I have a strong feeling that I will be sending your SAR letter soon as I am sure they will come back being difficult asking questions and asking for the £10 I did not send.
  13. tedney's Avatar
    Brilliant and concise information. Thank You. Is there a blog like this for bank overdraft debt please?
  14. wilchil64's Avatar
    Great summary Elsa thanks.
  15. payback68's Avatar
    Good stuff Elsa
  16. rebel11's Avatar
    Excellent, very easy to follow and understand8-)
  17. Undercover-Elsa's Avatar
    Thanks guys, really appreciate the comments

    Elsa xxx
  18. Sand-Dancer0191's Avatar
    Great blog...You cant predict future circumstances be it work related or medically related so the the footnote is particulary true..
  19. DemandFairness's Avatar
    Thanks Elsa. I'm relatively new to the forum. Your blog article is great and I've put it in my favourite link. Also, the idea of having a step-by-step guide all in one place and with the latest updated information is great and just want I needed to help me to begin to cope with the infamous MBNA.

  20. afi121's Avatar
    Just one word ,EXCELLENT.
    You are right ,fantastic for newbies like myself.
    i will eco what DemandFairness had said above
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