Creditors still contacting you - debt relief orders

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

A debt relief order (DRO) is legally binding, so you're protected from action by most creditors who are listed in your DRO. But there are some exceptions, when a creditor can still take action against you, for example for rent arrears or a hire purchase debt.

This page tells you what to do if you've got a DRO but your creditors are still contacting you.

What is the DRO period?

The DRO period is the twelve months from the date when the debt relief order (DRO) is made by the Official Receiver. During this time you can't make payments towards most types of debts listed in the DRO and you're subject to certain other restrictions. This period may also be called the moratorium.

When are creditors allowed to contact you?

While your creditors for debts listed in your DRO can't usually take action against you during the DRO period, there are some situations where they might continue contacting you. These include:

  • to give you information about your account

  • to follow the rules of the Consumer Credit Act, which may require them to send you certain notices

  • where you've come to a payment arrangement, such as a controlled goods agreement, with a bailiff

  • to chase payments for debts not included in the DRO

  • where your landlord wants to come to a payment arrangement with you, or is taking action to re-possess your home because you're behind on your rent.

Creditors included in the DRO

All the creditors that are listed in your DRO are legally bound by it. This means they're not allowed to chase you for debts covered by the DRO, and you're not allowed to make payments towards the debts, except for rent arrears and debts for which you have a controlled goods agreement. They're also not supposed to contact you directly about the DRO or the debts included in it.

If you're still being contacted by creditors who are asking you to pay debts in your DRO, send them a copy of the DRO. If you receive a phone call, politely remind them that the debt is included in a DRO and don't be drawn into any discussion about the debt.

However, if your DRO includes rent arrears, debts for which you've made a payment arrangement with bailiffs, or hire purchase debt, you could be at risk of losing your home or the goods, so the rules are slightly different.

Rent arrears

If rent arrears are included in your DRO, your landlord isn't allowed to demand payment but they can take action to get their property back. If this happens to you, you might want to think about finding a way to pay back the rent you owe so that you can stay in your home.

Payment arrangement with bailiffs

If you've come to a payment arrangement with a bailiff, such as a controlled goods agreement, your DRO won't stop them from taking and selling your goods. If you want to keep these belongings, you will have to keep making the payments you've agreed.

Hire purchase debt

If a hire purchase debt is included in your DRO, the creditor can take action to get the goods back. This is called repossession. You can't carry on making payments, but in order to avoid repossession you might want to see if you can find someone who'll make the payments on your behalf. Alternatively, if you and the creditor agree, they could transfer the agreement into the other person's name.

Creditors not included in the DRO

If you have debts with creditors that aren't included in the DRO, they can still contact you and chase you for that debt. You'll need to think about how you're going to deal with these debts before you apply for a DRO, although this is something your DRO adviser should look at with you.

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Page last reviewed on 08 January 2020