Here are some free template letters to help you get money back, find out what is being said about your debt situation and stop creditors bugging you.
When you’re trying to put your finances back on track, you may need to communicate with those you may owe money to. This is often easier said than done, especially if you’re not entirely sure how exactly you should put your point across.
Luckily, we at StepChange Debt Charity have a bumper list of super-useful template letters that should help you tell your creditors exactly where you – and they – stand…
- Being inundated with creditor phone calls?
- Want to find out what info is being held about you?
- Want to cancel a continuous payment authority?
- Do you have a debt that’s no longer enforceable?
- Need to send a court form?
Just because you’re behind on repaying a debt, it does not mean you have to put up with your phone ringing off the hook. This template letter clearly states to the creditor that repeated phone calls are not appreciated, and may be doing more harm than good.
Most creditors will be completely understanding, and will agree to move all communication to writing if this is something you would prefer. If however you find that you’re still getting calls after sending this letter, you can make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman who can look into it further.
Don’t forget to bookmark our handy checklist and keep it close by if you’re finding creditor phone calls stressful.
A time might come when you need access to information that a certain creditor holds about you. It could be that you’d like a detailed list of payments you’ve made or a copy of the agreement you signed when you took out the debt.
Sending a copy of The Right to Information Request letter will help with Consumer Credit Act regulated debt (other than overdrafts which are exempt – for these you would need to do a subject access request). You will need to enclose a fee of £1 in order to get this information sent to you, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. If your creditor doesn’t respond within 12 days, you can give them a nudge by sending them this right for information reminder letter.
They’re similar to direct debits in that they’re a recurring payment that’s taken from your bank account. Unlike direct debits however, CPAs can be difficult to cancel and they don’t offer the same guarantee if the amount or payment date change.
If you’re struggling with payday loan debt, cancelling the authority that you initially gave to the payday lender when you took the loan out is necessary for you to take control of your finances. While the CPA is still active, the payday lender can keep taking their normal payments from your account, even if you can’t afford them.
Sending the lender this template letter should be enough to cancel the CPA and put in place a payment that’s much more in line with what you can afford. It’s a good idea to send a copy of the letter to your bank as well, so they can ensure that the CPA is cancelled from their end. We’ve written a blog post that explains things in a bit more detail.
If you’ve made no payment to a debt, and you’ve not admitted in writing that you owe the debt for a period of 6 years, and the creditor has not taken the debt to County Court, the debt becomes ‘statute barred’.
This means that if you’re based in England or Wales, under the Limitation Act 1980 (section 5), ample time has passed for the creditor to contact you and establish payment. This is known as the Prescription Act in Scotland, where the period is 5 years, not 6, and known as the Limitation Order in Northern Ireland which also applies to a 6 year period. To chase the debt after this time is unfair. The 6 year limitation period applies to most debts in England and Wales, but different times apply to some debts.
Should a creditor get in touch with you regarding a debt that you suspect to be statute barred, we recommend you send them a copy of this template letter. It tells the creditor that in order to take the matter further, they need to prove that you have made a payment or acknowledged the debt in writing in the last six years. If they can’t, they shouldn’t contact you again; if they do so you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman.
Please note that making a debt ‘statute barred’ doesn’t mean that the debt is written off. It only means that the creditor has run out of time to take the debt to County Court. The balance will still be outstanding, and may still show on your credit file, and there may be other actions your creditor can take that don’t involve court. Read our blogpost on statute barred debt to find out more.
The law is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so contact us for advice if you live there and you think this might apply to you.
Dealing with debts before they reach court can be stressful enough, but dealing with them once they get to court can seem downright mindboggling. Never fear! Whether it’s an N245 ‘varying a judgment’ form or an EX160 ‘fee exemption’ form you need, you’ll find all of them here. We also have a list of forms you may need for going bankrupt or setting aside a statutory demand.
If you find that you need more help with your debts – beside knowing what forms to fill in or template letters to send – we’re here for you. We provide free and confidential advice to thousands of people every week.
You can contact our freephone helpline 0800 138 111 or our online advice tool Debt Remedy give you a recommendation in just 20 minutes.