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What if I ignore my debts?

If you’re in debt, it may be tempting to ignore the situation and hope it goes away. But that can mean things get worse rather than better.

What happens if I do nothing?

Many people we speak to have been struggling with their debts for a long time.

The implications of doing nothing depend on what you owe to who and whether you own any assets, such as a home or a car.

For example, if you rent your home, don’t have any assets and don’t owe priority debts (such as rent or Council Tax), the consequences may not be so serious. Though the volume of letters, emails and phone calls chasing the debt, may be difficult to deal with.

However, if you own a home, a car or other assets and /or if you owe priority debts, it’s likely enforcement action will be taken, whether or not you respond to your creditors.

Generally, with a few exceptions, doing nothing is likely to make matters worse in the long term. Extra costs will be added. Legal action could be taken. You could lose your home or goods. If you owe money to service providers (such as energy companies), they can withdraw services.

Here are links to factsheets explaining the implications of non-payment of different types of debt.

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Take control

Get into a habit of opening letters when you get them.

Leaving them in a pile means you might miss important information.

Creditors can take action to recover a debt. Any of the following could happen:

  • the debt could be passed to a Debt Collection Agency
  • a Default Notice could be issued which could to lead to further enforcement
  • the debt could be passed to the Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) for collection
  • court action could be taken
  • a Statutory Demand could be issued – this is the first step for a creditor making you bankrupt.

If you don’t know what’s going on, you won’t know what you have to deal with.

There may be time limits for responding to demands for payment or court claims. If you ignore these, creditors may continue to enforce the debt anyway.

Contacting creditors can be a daunting process. Creditors are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority so should treat clients in financial difficulty fairly.

Family struggling bills

How we can help and support you

Dealing with debt

Top tips to help you review, manage and deal with your debt.

Help with money

Information and practical support to help you with money issues including JaneBot and our benefits calculator.

Debt and mental health

How money worries and mental health are connected.

Patricia’s story
We’re behind the scenes as civil servants. But we’re all important, we’re all doing something to help our community in our own way.”
Patricia's story

What to do in a crisis

Charity for Civil Servants is not a crisis support charity. If you are in an emergency situation, here are some organisations that can help.

Got a question?

If you are not sure what you need or have question, contact us.

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