Help is at hand – you’re never alone when it comes to debt

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Debt is one of those topics that can often feel ‘off limits’, and it can be hard for many people to talk about. Yet these days there are plenty of ways to seek assistance, and anyone feeling that they are stressed or worried about money should take the opportunities to get the help available.

Debt collection companies who are members of the Credit Services Association (CSA) are signed up to an industry Code of Practice, designed to ensure that customers can be helped along the road to becoming debt free. They have a genuine desire to find affordable and realistic ways of making sure obligations can be fulfilled without making things worse.

According to the Money & Pensions Service, despite the Covid-19 crisis affecting our finances, 9 in 10 UK adults – 47 million people – don’t find it any easier to talk about money, or don’t even discuss it at all. There is too little money education across the United Kingdom and many people are naturally reluctant to share their personal financial circumstances, which means that too often problems can be ignored and even worsen. That’s why we’re campaigning to raise awareness of the benefits of talking about personal finances, and doing so early on in the process. If you’ve developed difficulties making repayment, the sooner you engage and contact your creditor, then the more likely it is an amicable solution can be found.

At the CSA, we’ve produced a new video highlighting the clear #fivesteps anyone can take to turn around a problem debt situation

At the CSA, we’ve produced a new video highlighting the clear #fivesteps anyone can take to turn around a problem debt situation. The video follows on from our #heretohelp video we launched in 2019 and explains the importance of engaging with a company a customer owes money to, urging them to be as open and honest as they can in discussing their situation.

CSA members always put customers at the heart of everything they do. Communicating and engaging is central to their work and that is why it is important we build confidence in dealing with debt collection companies so that attempts to make contact are not ignored. Debt collection agency staff speak to thousands of people in debt every day, and the video explains their role in finding solutions as well as reassuring viewers that they can have the confidence that they are dealing with a reputable company.

The first step we always encourage people to take is a basic one; make contact and explain your situation. There is often more flexibility than people may think, and ignoring attempts to contact you won’t help. If you find you’re having difficulties, explain that you’re going to struggle, set out your circumstances honestly, and there will be options then to discuss.

If a debt is passed to a debt collection agency, we’d urge people not to worry as this is quite normal practice, even if the concept of ‘debt collection’ can feel daunting or unfamiliar. It’s the job of a collection agency to assess your circumstances and propose solutions to free you from debt. It’s always worth checking that the company is a CSA member by visiting our website: www.csa-uk.com

Step Three is to watch our more detailed #heretohelp video, setting out how the process works, what other customers have to say about their experience when dealing with debt collection companies, and finally reassuring the viewer that collections agencies are fully qualified and have the right expertise to support you.

Once you have engaged, you’ll be asked a number of questions to get a real picture of your financial situation, to then tailor a solution to fit your circumstances; it’s really important they know what you can afford to pay back, if anything.

Debt collection agencies know full well that you have living costs to cover and understand a debt can’t always be cleared straight away. Whatever your situation, help is always out there – and they will point you in the direction of free independent debt advice should you require it. Once you’ve had the opportunity to get advice, let your bank or debt collection company know and they can work around any other plans you are putting in place, and most importantly, giving extra time if needed.

Talking more openly about money is the first step to removing the stigma of debt and dealing with it. We all have a common interest in making sure that everyone is aware of the solutions available.

The video can be watched here.

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About Author

Chris Leslie, Chief Executive, Credit Services Association. The Credit Services Association (CSA) is the only National Trade Association in the UK for organisations active in the debt collection and debt purchase industry. The Association, which has a history dating back to 1906, has over 250 member companies which represent 90% of the industry, and employ 11,000 people. At any one time its members hold up to £60bn for collection, returning nearly £4bn in collections to the UK economy per annum. As the voice of the collections industry, our vision is to build confidence in debt collection by making the entire process clear, easy to understand and less stressful for all those involved.

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