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HomeAdviceWhat can lenders do

What can lenders do?

If you’re worried about the consequences of falling behind with your debts, give us a call. We’ll explain in clear terms what your lenders can and can’t do with different types of debt.

Most importantly, we’ll help you work out what you can do to improve your situation.

Getting phone calls from lenders?

Call us for free debt advice on

1800 937 435

Contact from your lenders

If you fall behind on your debts, your lenders will contact you to ask for payment. A lender can only contact you three times each month, but if you have several lenders this can still add up to a lot of letters or calls.

Lenders can’t phone you at unreasonable times and they can’t visit you at work. They also can’t discuss your debt with anyone else without your permission, threaten you or mislead you. If you feel this is happening to you then call us for advice and support.

If you can’t pay what your lenders are asking, let them know when you speak to them. It’s a good idea to explain the reason you can’t pay and ask them to make a note of this.

How debt affects your credit rating

Your lenders can share information about your debts with the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) or other credit reference agencies.

Lenders can check information held about you by these agencies when they’re deciding whether to lend you money or what rate of interest to charge. This means if you have a history of not paying debts, you may find it harder to get credit in the future.

Debts passed to debt collectors

Some lenders will pass your debt to a debt collection agency rather than dealing with the debt themselves. Collection agencies don’t have any extra legal powers, and they can’t do anything different to your original lender.

Going to court because of your debts

If you don’t pay a debt, your lender can start court action against you. The court process varies depending on the size of your debt and may be in the District Court, Circuit Court or High Court.

Once the lender has a court judgment against you, there are several further enforcement actions they can take, including:

  • A Sheriff or County Registrar taking goods from your property to sell
  • A judgment mortgage securing the debt against your home
  • A hearing at the District Court to interview you about your financial circumstances
  • A court order telling you to pay the debt in instalments
  • Making you bankrupt

If you can make a regular payment to your debts, you’ll reduce the chances of court action. If the payment is less than your lenders would like, it will help to send them a Standard Financial Statement (SFS) to show you’re paying the most you can. Creating a budget is one of the ways we can help you deal with debt.

We can help you to put together a SFS.

Secured and priority lenders

Some lenders need to be treated as a priority because the debt is secured against your home, or because the lender has extra powers to collect the debt.

It’s important to deal with these debts first because there can be serious consequences if they don’t get paid. Examples of secured or priority debts include:

  • Mortgage – your home could be repossessed
  • Rent – you may be evicted from your home
  • TV Licence – you could get a fixed penalty fee or face prosecution
  • Tax – money can be taken straight from your bank or goods taken from you by the Sheriff to sell
  • Child maintenance payments – you could get a court judgement followed by money taken straight from your wages
  • Electric or gas – you could get a pre-paid meter fitted, or your supply cut off as a last resort

When we put together a Standard Financial Statement (SFS) we’ll always take into account the payments you need to make to these priority debts to help you avoid any further action.

What people say about us

“The guy I spoke to was very understanding, very helpful. I can see you go the extra mile and make sure you were doing everything to help us.”

- Stephen, County Kerry

Foundation for Credit Counselling (trading as StepChange Debt Charity) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (Company No: 2757055) and a charity registered in England and Wales (Registered Charity No: 1016630). Registered office: Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG, United Kingdom.
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. Calls free from landlines and mobiles.

StepChange Debt Charity 2017