Where to turn when you find yourself in debt
Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty has launched a new service in the town of Burton, Staffordshire in a bid to provide a "uniquely in-depth, caring service" for people struggling with debt. It's not the only service of this type in the UK: there are plenty of places to turn when you find yourself in debt.
If you're still in control but would like to reduce your overall level of debt to avoid future problems, there are lots of online resources to help you improve your lot. A good start is the Money Advice Service. Set up by the government to help people improve their understanding of personal finance, and to manage their own finances independently, the website is packed with breakdowns of all major personal finance products, alongside useful tools to help you budget and manage your debt.
You can also find useful money management tips and on sites like Money Saving Expert, Money Dashboard and This Is Money.
If your situation is more serious, you should first contact whoever you owe money to. Most businesses would rather see you on a payment plan that you can afford than force you into an impossible situation. The same is true of enforcement agencies like Dukes Bailiffs. We don't believe in bullying tactics to redeem money. Instead we'd much rather engage in constructive dialogue to ensure that debts are repaid amicably, without anyone suffering unfairly.
When an agreement is impossible other assistance can be found, in the form of legal guidance or financial support. There are also several charities dedicated to helping you find solutions in the worst case scenario, including the Debt Advice Foundation, Debt Support Trust, National Debtline and Step Change. Ensure you are speaking directly to a government organisation or charity when acting on advice, as some private companies may be more interested in selling new products like consolidation loans that solving your debt problems.
Always double check who you're talking to before accepting assistance. For more information about how to get and stay out of debt, download our handy guide.